Nice work? Rethinking managerial control in an era of knowledge work
Source TitleOrganization: the interdisciplinary journal of organization, theory and society
PublisherSAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD
University of Melbourne Author/sSewell, Graham
AffiliationManagement and Marketing
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsSewell, G. (2005). Nice work? Rethinking managerial control in an era of knowledge work. ORGANIZATION, 12 (5), pp.685-704. https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508405055943.
Access StatusThis item is currently not available from this repository
C1 - Refereed Journal Article
This article assesses the ability of labour process theory (LPT) to account for the persistence of managerial control under the apparent conditions of greater autonomy and discretion we have come to associate with ‘knowledge Work’. LPT has traditionally problematized control around the need to resolve ‘the indeterminacy of labour’—that is, how do managers ensure that workers’ actual labouring efforts approach their potential labour power? In contrast, I propose that it is more useful to problematize control around the ‘indeterminacy of knowledge’—that is, how do managers ensure that workers’ cognitive efforts approach their full cognitive potential? A common response to the problem of the indeterminacy of knowledge has been to cede discretion to workers so that they can exercise their mental capabilities in order to provide their organizations with solutions to workplace problems. I will show, however, that this still requires the operation of disciplinary mechanisms that perpetuate managerial control under conditions that ostensibly reverse the separation of the conception and the execution of work tasks inherent in the logic of Taylorism.
KeywordsBusiness and Management
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