Enterprise culture and the ethics of entitlement: How ‘indispensable’ employees turn into disruptive mavericks

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This paper contributes to the debate about the enterprise culture by analysing the work ethic among talented employees who are seen as indispensable by their organisations. It describes the drama surrounding the ‘high talent’ IT-consultant Clark, a real individual used as emblematic here, and his quest for power and influence at work. The analysis adds nuance to the claims of both proponents and critics of the enterprise culture by showing how it leads neither to win-win scenarios nor to culturally duped employees. Instead, the enterprise ethic, with its focus on talent and excellence, has produced a group of elite workers who are driven by a sense of entitlement. This leads them to display maverick and disruptive behaviour that endangers the social cohesion of their organisations. But they are still driven by a deep sense of dedication and thus cannot be considered simply self-serving.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)143-171
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Employee identity
  • entrepreneurship
  • inequality
  • Talent
  • Elite
  • Excellence

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