From feeling to naming: A sensitive approach to managerial newspeak through bullying at work

  • Agnès Vandevelde-Rougale Laboratory for Political and Social Change (LCSP) Diderot-Paris VII University
Keywords:
clinical sociology, emotion, language, management discourse, managerial discourse, newspeak, workplace bullying

Abstract

By accessing language, an individual is granted the means to represent experiences and to share meaning. However, ill-being resulting from workplace bullying makes it hard for the subject to put his/her experience into words. I explored this uneasiness through qualitative research conducted through an interdisciplinary approach. My fieldwork led me to raise questions about the influence of modern managerial discourse on the individual and his/her relation to language. After conducting in-depth interviews with individuals confronted with bullying at work and crossing their narratives with information from organisational websites, I suggest that modern managerial discourse hinders the expression of emotions and thereby the understanding of subjective experiences (both the informants’ understanding of their own subjective experience and the understanding of their experiences by others). I argue that this process is rooted in an internalization of managerial discourse, which weakens the subject as it diminishes his/ her enunciative autonomy and limits his/her ability to make sense of his/her emotional experiences. This article considers these findings. Through excerpts from organisational communications, the first part calls on the heuristic dimension of knowing via the senses to question the subjective influence of managerial discourse. The narrative of an experience of workplace bullying then allows for display of the ambivalence of managerial discourse. It appears to be a tool both enabling and hindering subjective expression, as it allows sharing of facts at the expense of sharing emotions. Considering my argument that the internalization of managerial discourse by the subject turns this discourse into “managerial newspeak”, the third and concluding part of the article addresses the issue of sharing understanding of psychosocial processes in scientific work.

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Published
2016-02-28
How to Cite
Vandevelde-Rougale, A. (2016). From feeling to naming: A sensitive approach to managerial newspeak through bullying at work. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology, 10(2), 439-459. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v10i2.8
Section
Other Humanities and Social Sciences