chapter  3
34 Pages

A genealogy of the organisationally developed workplace

WithMark Cole

In Michel Foucault’s key analysis of the shift from sovereign to disciplinary power, he applies a genealogical approach to make sense of this change. The way in which the streams constellate and inform one another gives a richer understanding of Foucault’s concept of power/knowledge that might be possible by alighting on historical instances where one might assume a progressive linkage between the preceding event and the following one. Foucault’s approach continuously highlights the perils of assuming that one thing follows another and that each successive state is better than the one that proceeded it, which can be described as the myth of progressivism. Within organisational studies a Foucauldian view of power as an intrinsic binding element in social relations rather than a commodity to be possessed by one party to the detriment of another brings a richness to our understanding of life in workplace context.