For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Managing Freely Acting People: Hannah Arendt’s Theory of Action and Modern Management and Organisation Theory"

by van Diest, Han; Dankbaar, Ben (2008)


This article offers an interpretation of theories of management and organisation from the perspective of Hannah Arendt’s theory of free action. This endeavour will contribute to criticism and eventually improvement of the conceptual framework of management and organisation theory. We discuss conceptual tensions in this field, for instance with respect to the relationship between human action and the constraints of an organisation. To the extent that management and organisation theory are practiceoriented, such an analysis can help to understand tensions and ambiguities in practice. Some of the optimism and high hopes found in the literature may have to be tempered as a consequence of a more adequate analysis of free action. The analysis therefore provides a critical point of view on the problems of managing freely acting people.


Arendt, Freedom, Free, Action, Organisational Theory, Management Theory


On Arendt

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