The conformist employee – the end-goal of organizational socialization communication?

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Abstrakt

My presentation at this panel will be a purely speculative one. My speculations spring from two sources. Empirically, I will be alluding to Wells Fargo’s so-called cross-selling crisis and Danske Bank’s steady trickle of issues/crises. Within both organizations, it seems that employees overlooked or bypassed ethical considerations when dealing with customers. Theoretically, I situate myself within the field of critical organizational communication (e.g., Mumby and Kuhn, 2019). For the purpose of this presentation, these two sources funnel into an interest in organizational socialization processes that seem to ‘groom’ employees to overlook or bypass ethical considerations.

When it comes to critical organizational communication’s take on organizational socialization, there seems to be two prototypical models of explanation for the behavior of the employees thus socialized. Ranging from “they know not what they do” (so they cannot help it/themselves) to “they are being kept in the dark, we must emancipate them”. Among many other things, both explanatory models take away ‘agency’ from the ‘other’, in casu the employees, consequently locking the employee in the (semantic) role of the ‘patient’ (patiens). I am not saying that this cannot, empirically, be the case, what I am saying is: What may we see if we allow ourselves to view this from another perspective altogether more in line with Žižek, who is adamant that they, e.g., employees, know exactly what they are doing, but they do it anyway (2010). That would a) restore ‘agency’ – at least as a thought experiment – to the employees; and it would b) spur the follow-up question: If they know what they are doing, i.e., conforming to an organizational identity formation that may ‘groom’ them to overlook or bypass ethical considerations, why, then, are they conforming to it?

References:
Mumby, Dennis K. and Kuhn, Timothy R. (2019): Organizational Communication – A Critical Introduction. Sage.
Žižek, Slavoj (2010): Ideologiens sublime objekt [Danish translation of: The Sublime Object of Ideology, 2nd editon]. Gyldendal.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TitelThe Dark Side of Organizational Socialization : Book of Abstracts
Publikationsdato2021
Sider14
StatusUdgivet - 2021
BegivenhedTHE DARK SIDE OF ORGANIZATIONAL SOCIALIZATION
: 3RD INTERNATIONAL AND INTERDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE ON DISCOURSE AND COMMUNICATION IN PROFESSIONAL CONTEXTS 11 - 12 NOVEMBER 2021. AALBORG UNIVERSITY, DENMARK
- AALBORG UNIVERSITY, DENMARK, Aalborg, Danmark
Varighed: 11 nov. 202111 nov. 2021
Konferencens nummer: 3
https://www.en.culture.aau.dk/research/conferences/The+Dark+Side+of+Organizational+Socialization/

Konference

KonferenceTHE DARK SIDE OF ORGANIZATIONAL SOCIALIZATION
Nummer3
LokationAALBORG UNIVERSITY, DENMARK
Land/OmrådeDanmark
ByAalborg
Periode11/11/202111/11/2021
Internetadresse

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