Hard/heart worker: work intensification in purpose-driven organizations

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The paper seeks to illuminate the intersection between doing greater good in the world and the self-disciplining that comes along with it. The paper raises a discussion on how purpose-driven organizations with a sustainability focus should be concerned about internal social sustainability in order to maintain consistency between external purpose and internal well-being of employees. Design/methodology/approach: This article investigates the interrelations between purpose-driven organizations' quest for social sustainability and internal work conditions exemplified through experiences with work intensification. A governmentality studies approach is applied to investigate how employees' perceptions of doing greater good in the world also become a productive self-disciplining strategy that potentially increases work intensification and simultaneously result in an instrumentalization of working for greater sustainability. Findings: Working with an organizational sustainability purpose can, in some situations, create dilemmas that may decrease employee well-being as it demands continuous negotiation of boundaries between paid work and free time, meaningfulness and work devotion, self-management and work intensification. Originality/value: The paper raises a discussion on how purpose-driven organizations with a sustainability focus should be concerned about internal (social) sustainability in order to maintain consistency between external purpose and internal well-being of employees.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Research in Organizations and Management
Volumeahead-of-print
Issue numberahead-of-print
Number of pages21
ISSN1746-5648
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Keywords

  • Purpose driven organization
  • work commitment
  • Work intensification
  • Foucault
  • subjectivity
  • Knowledge work
  • Work devotion
  • Sustainability
  • Technologies of the self
  • Purpose

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