For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"A Workplace Dignity Perspective on Resilience: Moving beyond Individualized Instrumentalization to Dignified Resilience"

by Bal, Matthijs; Kordowicz, Maria; Brookes, Andy; Others, (2020)


Resilience discourses in society and the contemporary workplace tend to emphasize the self directed nature of resilience and the imposed demand for resilience for survival in the contemporary labor market. In this article, the anchoring point of resilience is analyzed when conceptualized within a neoliberal and self-directed ideology. Subsequently, it offers an alternative anchoring point through a dignity-perspective on resilience, through which the term is reinterpreted in a new meaning.This article offers scholars, practitioners and policy-makers insights into how resilience can be conceptualized and used in practice. Analyzing resilience through a dignity lens provides new meanings and more effective uses of resilience in society and the contemporary workplaces.

Key Passage

Workplace dignity can be considered not just a concept in management studies (Lucas, 2015; Lucas et al., 2013), but a paradigm that offers an alternative perspective on 12 hegemonic management discourse and theorizing. It responds to the current debates around the tensions between shareholder and stakeholder value and the rising gap between corporate profit and wage stagnation (Lazonick, 2014). However, in contrast to proposed solutions around balancing organizational and shareholder interest in profit maximization with the needs of the environment, a dignity paradigm offers a more radical proposal towards today’s questions. A dignity paradigm confronts the problematic nature of the very existence of organizations across the world for planetary survival and human dignity (Bal, 2017; Kostera & Pirson, 2017). As noted elsewhere, corporates play a significant role in the destruction of the planet, climate change, and maintenance of the contemporary capitalist exploitative system (Matthews et al., 2016; Žižek, 2014). A dignity paradigm offers the potential to reformulate the foundations of organizations through two key principles: extension of the principle of dignity throughout the workplace, and the role of dialogue and democracy in upholding dignity. Based on these principles, an understanding of resilience anchored in dignity can be gained, through which it obtains a fundamentally different meaning from a neoliberal construction anchoring of resilience. (p.12)


Dignity, Empirical Research, Resilience, Social Theory


Organisation and Management Studies, Goods of Work

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