Towards an ethics of freedom: The Politics of Storytelling in Organizations

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Based upon the work of Arendt’s notion of action as freedom and Butler’s rework of this notion into a collective, embodied and material performance, this paper proposes an ethics of freedom, which is discussed as a politics of storytelling in organizations. Freedom, it is argued, is closely related to action and hence storytelling and is experienced in between people in a historical and material space. Ethics is thus conditioned on the political framing of this space in terms how that space conditions how people may appear in storytelling as well as how people together transforms this space for future appearances. This has important consequences for an organizational ethics. First, stories are conditioned on freedom, take place in between people and presume a space for a political subject. As a second point, this notion of freedom forwards attention towards the framing of the organizational space and the possibilities concerning appearance that this entails. This goes beyond the question of freedom as a mere possibility towards a material and embodied reality focused on affording peoples appearances as unique subjects performing on an organizational stage. Finally, ethics is always a matter of politics, which thus collects the ethical questions concerning the formation of the “I” and the relation to the “other”. The “I” and the “other” are seen as inevitably intertwined and entangled, which implies that their separation not only violates the “I” and the “other” but also the whole condition of plurality seen as the ultimate condition that people cannot escape.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
EventAcademy of Management - Chicago, Chicago, United States
Duration: 10 Aug 201814 Aug 2018


ConferenceAcademy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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