From life in cages to life in projects: Metaphors for Moderns

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Understanding Organizations in Complex, Emergent and Uncertain Environments, 2012, pp. 185 - 206
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© Anabella Davila, Marta M. Elvira, Jacobo Ramirez and Laura Zapata-Cantu 2012. All rights reserved. Historically, the metaphor of the iron cage, as a key component of Weber's (1978) sociological imagination has played a central role in organization studies. It did so both in its initial role in the sociology of bureaucracy and in its reinterpretation in institutional terms by subsequent theorists such as DiMaggio and Powell (1983). More recently, iron bars have given way to transparent liquidity as a dominant metaphor. The implications of this shift for the analysis of organization are the subjects of this chapter. We argue that a key technology of the liquidly modern organizational self is that of emotional intelligence and that, while this subject has been much written about, it has not been addressed in terms of its organizational effects on subjects. Technologies of the self are increasingly being developed that represent the possibility of a fusion of effective computing and emotional intelligence that generate new issues for research.
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