“Come, Join Our Family”: Discipline and Integration in Corporate Organizational Culture

  • Casey C
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Abstract

This article critically examines primary processes and effects of the so-called "new organizational culture" that is organized on the principles and practices of Total Quality Management (and its variations) and increasingly practiced in corporate organizations in the 1990s. The paper specifically analyzes the effects of the organizational cultural practices of "family" and "team" on the employee and discusses their role in corporate discipline, integration, and control. Data are drawn from field research conducted in a large multinational corporation and the analyses and interpretive propositions are informed by a critical social psychoanalytic perspective. The paper disputes the conventional view that the practices of the "new culture" and its purported reform of the hierarchical, specialized, conflict-ridden workplaces of traditional industrial organizations "empower" employees and provide "meaningful" relationships in the workplace. It is argued, on the contrary, that these new "designer" cultural practices serve as processes of regulation, discipline, and control of employee subject selves.; This article critically examines primary processes and effects of the so-called "new organizational culture" that is organized on the principles and practices of Total Quality Management (and its variations) and increasingly practiced in corporate organizations in the 1990s. The paper specifically analyzes the effects of the organizational cultural practices of "family" and "team" on the employee and discusses their role in corporate discipline, integration, and control. Data are drawn from field research conducted in a large multinational corporation and the analyses and interpretive propositions are informed by a critical social psychoanalytic perspective. The paper disputes the conventional view that the practices of the "new culture" and its purported reform of the hierarchical, specialized, conflict-ridden workplaces of traditional industrial organizations "empower" employees and provide "meaningful" relationships in the workplace. It is argued, on the contrary, that these new "designer" cultural practices serve as processes of regulation, discipline, and control of employee subject selves.; This article critically examines primaryprocesses and effects of the so-called “neworganizational culture” that is organized on theprinciples and practices of Total Quality Management(and its variations) and increasingly practiced incorporate organizations in the 1990s. The paperspecifically analyzes the effects of the organizationalcultural practices of “family” and"team" on the employee and discusses their role incorporate discipline, integration, and control. Data aredrawn from field research conducted in a largemultinational corporation and the analyses andinterpretive propositions are informed by a critical socialpsychoanalytic perspective. The paper disputes theconventional view that the practices of the "newculture" and its purported reform of thehierarchical, specialized, conflict-ridden workplaces oftraditional industrial organizations“empower” employees and provide“meaningful” relationships in the workplace.It is argued, on the contrary, that these new “designer” culturalpractices serve as processes of regulation, discipline,and control of employee subject selves.

Author-supplied keywords

  • control and compliance
  • ideal
  • organization
  • organizational culture
  • psychic strategies
  • social psychoanalysis

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Authors

  • Catherine Casey

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