Beyond happy families

A critical reevaluation of the control-resistance-identity triangle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

202 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this article, the author explores the nature of contemporary organizational controls, the extent to which they can be said to colonize employee subjectivity, and the types of resistance which they generate. Labor process, psychoanalytic, critical theory, and Foucauldian perspectives are juxtaposed and a number of similarities and divergences are noted. It is argued that many of these perspectives prematurely lament the end of employee recalcitrance and exaggerate the magnitude and totality of organizational controls, generating over-managed and overcontrolled images of individuals, organizations, and societies. It is proposed that a rapprochement of psychoanalytic and labor theory approaches can lead to an appreciation of unmanaged and unmanageable terrains in organizations, in which human agency may be rediscovered, neither as a class-conscious proletariat nor as a transcendental subject, but as a struggling, feeling, thinking, suffering subject, one capable of obeying and disobeying, controlling and being controlled, losing control and escaping control, defining and redefining control for itself and for others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-203
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Relations
Volume52
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 1999

Keywords

  • Control
  • Family
  • Identity
  • Labor process
  • Metaphors
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Resistance
  • Stories
  • Subjectivity
  • Unmanaged organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Cite this

Beyond happy families : A critical reevaluation of the control-resistance-identity triangle. / Gabriel, Yiannis.

In: Human Relations, Vol. 52, No. 2, 01.02.1999, p. 179-203.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{7543c17b10d247e5b47366822f186952,
title = "Beyond happy families: A critical reevaluation of the control-resistance-identity triangle",
abstract = "In this article, the author explores the nature of contemporary organizational controls, the extent to which they can be said to colonize employee subjectivity, and the types of resistance which they generate. Labor process, psychoanalytic, critical theory, and Foucauldian perspectives are juxtaposed and a number of similarities and divergences are noted. It is argued that many of these perspectives prematurely lament the end of employee recalcitrance and exaggerate the magnitude and totality of organizational controls, generating over-managed and overcontrolled images of individuals, organizations, and societies. It is proposed that a rapprochement of psychoanalytic and labor theory approaches can lead to an appreciation of unmanaged and unmanageable terrains in organizations, in which human agency may be rediscovered, neither as a class-conscious proletariat nor as a transcendental subject, but as a struggling, feeling, thinking, suffering subject, one capable of obeying and disobeying, controlling and being controlled, losing control and escaping control, defining and redefining control for itself and for others.",
keywords = "Control, Family, Identity, Labor process, Metaphors, Psychoanalysis, Resistance, Stories, Subjectivity, Unmanaged organization",
author = "Yiannis Gabriel",
year = "1999",
month = "2",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1023/A:1016932818878",
language = "English",
volume = "52",
pages = "179--203",
journal = "Human Relations",
issn = "0018-7267",
publisher = "Sage Publications",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Beyond happy families

T2 - A critical reevaluation of the control-resistance-identity triangle

AU - Gabriel, Yiannis

PY - 1999/2/1

Y1 - 1999/2/1

N2 - In this article, the author explores the nature of contemporary organizational controls, the extent to which they can be said to colonize employee subjectivity, and the types of resistance which they generate. Labor process, psychoanalytic, critical theory, and Foucauldian perspectives are juxtaposed and a number of similarities and divergences are noted. It is argued that many of these perspectives prematurely lament the end of employee recalcitrance and exaggerate the magnitude and totality of organizational controls, generating over-managed and overcontrolled images of individuals, organizations, and societies. It is proposed that a rapprochement of psychoanalytic and labor theory approaches can lead to an appreciation of unmanaged and unmanageable terrains in organizations, in which human agency may be rediscovered, neither as a class-conscious proletariat nor as a transcendental subject, but as a struggling, feeling, thinking, suffering subject, one capable of obeying and disobeying, controlling and being controlled, losing control and escaping control, defining and redefining control for itself and for others.

AB - In this article, the author explores the nature of contemporary organizational controls, the extent to which they can be said to colonize employee subjectivity, and the types of resistance which they generate. Labor process, psychoanalytic, critical theory, and Foucauldian perspectives are juxtaposed and a number of similarities and divergences are noted. It is argued that many of these perspectives prematurely lament the end of employee recalcitrance and exaggerate the magnitude and totality of organizational controls, generating over-managed and overcontrolled images of individuals, organizations, and societies. It is proposed that a rapprochement of psychoanalytic and labor theory approaches can lead to an appreciation of unmanaged and unmanageable terrains in organizations, in which human agency may be rediscovered, neither as a class-conscious proletariat nor as a transcendental subject, but as a struggling, feeling, thinking, suffering subject, one capable of obeying and disobeying, controlling and being controlled, losing control and escaping control, defining and redefining control for itself and for others.

KW - Control

KW - Family

KW - Identity

KW - Labor process

KW - Metaphors

KW - Psychoanalysis

KW - Resistance

KW - Stories

KW - Subjectivity

KW - Unmanaged organization

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0040033125&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1023/A:1016932818878

DO - 10.1023/A:1016932818878

M3 - Article

VL - 52

SP - 179

EP - 203

JO - Human Relations

JF - Human Relations

SN - 0018-7267

IS - 2

ER -