Compassion Power and Organization

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Power and Emotion, 2015, 2nd, pp. 31 - 51
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In this paper we analyse the significance of compassion as an emotion in its relationship to various manifestations of power within the organizational context. We critique those theories of compassion that assume that compassion in organizational contexts is motivated only by a noble intent. The paper draws on a study of organizational responses to the flood that devastated the City of Brisbane Australia on the morning of January 11, 2011. We use Clegg’s (1989) research framework of ‘circuits of power’ to provide a triple focus on interpersonal, organizational and societal uses of power together with Etzioni’s (1961) model of coercive, instrumental and normative organizational power. We present our findings in a framework constructed by overlapping Clegg (1989) and Etzioni’s (1961) frameworks. The unique contribution of this paper is to provide a conceptualization of organizational compassion enmeshed with various modes of power exercised in and by organizations.
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