Employees’ autonomous relation to work. A Lacanian approach
AuthorTrela, Joanna Elzbieta
AffiliationManagement and Marketing
Document TypePhD thesis
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© 2018 Joanna Elzbieta Trela
Critical and interpretive traditions in organisation studies have significantly contributed to our understanding of managerial and organisational controls and how employees respond to them. In this thesis, I propose that our understanding of employees responses is expanded when psychical processes are also examined. In order to do this, I developed a framework, which draws on Jacques Lacan theory of the subject. The framework is based on my interpretation of the psychic processes of alienation-separation. I also draw on a set of other psychoanalytical concepts, such as the unconscious Desire, lack, jouissance, master signifier, and the sinthome. This study examines two journalistic organizations, a journalistic start-up and an investigative unit in a large media broadcaster. It demonstrates how investigative journalists’ autonomous relation to their being at work is shaped. According to my research, an extent to which employees construct their separation and relation to their being at work depends on their relation to their unconscious Desire. The ways in which organisational structures support or impedes such processes are identified in the thesis. I discuss the implications of the findings for the study of organizations, including the contribution of the developed framework for studies of subjection in organizations. Principally, this research contributes to the literature of three areas: control, suffering, and motivation. It moves the research on autonomy and controls from considering mainly variables of autonomy at work to an attention to the employee’s relation to work, including what motivates and causes workers’ (dis)satisfaction or suffering.
Keywordsautonomy,; control,; Lacan,; desire,; separation,; structure,; the unconscious,; motivation,; suffering,; relation to work
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