Management and Alcohol in Post-Bureaucratic Firms: Understanding Power Relations and the Worker

By Samuel Osei-Nimo.

Published by Organizational Cultures: An International Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: February 24, 2017 $US5.00

This paper focuses on the issue of alcohol in contemporary work organisations. It aims to shed light on how alcohol use and/or misuse is constructed as a "problem," the dimensions of the "problem" and how these are shaped by the discourses. The study examines the interaction between the organisational discourses and the actual practices regarding alcohol in the modern-day work environment. Instead of focusing on how to improve organisations, this paper explores, following Foucault’s post-Structuralist ideas, power relations, interactions between power relations, and discourses (expert and lay knowledge) to understand why/how certain organisational discourses and practices become dominant over time and why/how alcohol use has consequently become "problematised" in the workplace. Thus the issues of power relations and discourses in Knowledge-Intensive firms are primarily investigated in this study to uncover and understand how the drive by organisations for the "manageable" employee produces a worker who is self-regulating and self-disciplined. The paper will include an assessment of discourses from various organisational actors to shed light on the role of management, and the organisation for that matter, as a principle of control or government in creating autonomous and productive subjects in the workplace and wider society.

Keywords: Alcohol, Post-structuralism, Organisations

Organizational Cultures: An International Journal, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp.1-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: February 24, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 806.483KB)).

Dr. Samuel Osei-Nimo

Lecturer, Birmingham City Business School, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK