Powers of Romance: The Liminal Challenges of Managing Organizational Intimacy

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Journal Article
Journal of Management Inquiry, 2015, 24 (2), pp. 131 - 148
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© The Author(s) 2014 Problematic organizational relationships have recently been at the core of highly visible media coverage. Most analyses of sexual relations in organizations have been, however, simplistic and unidimensional, and have placed insufficient systematic emphasis on the role of governmentality in the social construction of organizational romance. In this article, we proceed in two theoretical steps. First, we elaborate a typology of organizational romance that covers different manifestations of this nuanced process. We think of these as organizational strategies of governmentality. Second, we elaborate and identify liminal cases that fall into the interstices of the four predominant ways of managing sexual relationships in organizations. We think of these as vases of liquid love and life that evade the border controls of regulation by governmentality. Finally, we relate these issues to debates about the nature of the civilizational process and suggest hypotheses for future research.
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