This book arose out of an ethnographical study of a major high street Bank that explored the ‘human’ dimension of Business Process Re-engineering. Various
issues and themes emerged through conducting the empirical research and, during the process of writing the book, many of which surprised me. I want to briefly set out my observations, understanding and interpretation of the events and experiences of work at T Corporation (pseudonym), so that you will be able to ponder them while reading the largely empirical chapters to follow. I seek to explicate my arguments through empirical material because I believe that this is the most accessible way of communicating with, and engaging you, the reader. It is written in a way that seeks to take into account that you may not be an academic and may not enjoy our fondness for citing the work of others during extensive literature reviews. For me, the most important aspect of writing this book is to illuminate something of the experience of working in a ‘modern corporation’ and to reveal something of the tangle of power relations that saturate, infuse and shape our lives. Critically, it is to indicate that conditions can be otherwise, that we can change them. To avoid switching you off, I draw on both literary and academic sources throughout, with the intention of provoking and stimulating thought and who knows, perhaps even action! This approach reflects the many conversations that I have had with students and friends who find academic accounts inaccessible and/or dull. I can recall being a student (I still am) and finding certain texts sleep-or headache-inducing (I still do) with their use of obscure words and a quasi-scientific language that I had to decipher and rewrite, in order to understand them. Hopefully, this text will avoid such effects.