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Escaping the Fantasy Land of Freedom in Organizations: The Contribution of Hannah Arendt

Authors
  • Shymko, Yuliya1
  • Frémeaux, Sandrine1, 2
  • 1 Audencia Business School,
  • 2 Department of Management, 8 route de la Jonelière, Nantes, France
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Business Ethics
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Jan 03, 2021
Pages
1–14
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10551-020-04707-x
PMID: 33424065
PMCID: PMC7778683
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

This article examines why and how workers adhere and contribute to the perpetuation of the freedom fantasy induced by neoliberal ideology. We turn to Hannah Arendt’s analysis of the human condition, which offers invaluable insights into the mechanisms that foster the erosion of human freedom in the workplace. Embracing an Arendtian lens, we demonstrate that individuals become entrapped in a libertarian fantasy—a condition enacted by the replacement of the freedom to act by the freedom to perform. The latter embodies the survivalist modus operandi of animal laborans (1) who renounces singularity , by focusing on the function of supervised labor, (2) who renounces solidarity , by focusing on individualist and competitive labor, and (3) who is deprived of spontaneity , by focusing on the measured productivity of labor. Therefore, we propose a new corporate governance perspective based on the rehabilitation of political action in organizations as the best way to preserve human capacity for singularity, solidarity, and spontaneity.

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