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Reworking Authority: Leading and Following in a Post-Modern Organization

Author

Listed:
  • Larry Hirschhorn

    () (University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

For many companies, the past decade has been marked by a sense of turbulence and redefinition. The growing role of information technologies and service businesses has prompted companies to reconsider how they are structured and even what business they are in. These changes have also affected how people work, what skills they need, and what kind of careers they expect. One critical change in how people work, argues Larry Hirschhorn, is that they are expected to bring more of themselves psychologically to the job. To facilitate this change, it is necessary to create a new culture of authority--one in which superiors acknowledge their dependence on subordinates, subordinates can challenge superiors, and both are able to show their vulnerability. The first chapters of this book examine the covert processes by which people caught between the old and new culture of authority neither suppress nor express their feelings. Feelings are activated but not directed toward useful work. The case studies of this process are instructive and moving. The book then explores how organizations can create a culture of openness in which people become more psychologically present. In part, the process entails an understanding of the changes taking place in how we experience our own identity at work and that of "others" in society at large. To do this, the book suggests, we need a social policy of forgiveness and second chances.

Suggested Citation

  • Larry Hirschhorn, 1998. "Reworking Authority: Leading and Following in a Post-Modern Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262581736, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262581736
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    culture of authority; social policy;

    JEL classification:

    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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