Trust, control and post-bureaucracy
2001 (English)In: Organization Studies, ISSN 0170-8406, E-ISSN 1741-3044, Vol. 22, no 2, 229-250 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This paper is a contribution to the analysis of intra-organizational trust. From a discussion of concepts of trust, we suggest that trust is something which is constructed for and by people in organizations, thereby producing some degree of predictability. Trust is a precarious social accomplishment enacted through the interplay of social or discursive structures, including those of work organizations, and individuated subjects. We argue that bureaucratic organizations effected this construction in such an efficient manner that it `disappeared' as an issue for organizational theorists, but that shifting organizational forms have re-opened it. We suggest that the advent of corporate culturism in the 1980s offered one kind of reconfiguration of trust in organizations. However, subsequent extensions of organizational reform have undermined corporate culture as a way of constructing trust. These extensions, which, with some caveats, may be called post-bureaucratic, have brought with them new potential bases for trust, and hence control, in organizations. We explore these in two ways. First, we discuss how various types of managerial languages and techniques have the capacity to provide a global `script' through which particular local contexts can be made sense of, and which allow possible subject positions and identities to be secured. Second, we develop this discussion with reference to two different kinds of employees whose work is in some senses post-bureaucratic: accountants and consultants in Big Five firms, and temporary workers (temps) working through agencies to provide clerical and other services. In a conclusion, we comment on the durability of post-bureaucratic modes of trust
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. Vol. 22, no 2, 229-250 p.
trust, control, post-bureaucracy, organization
Research subject Social Anthropology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-65399DOI: 10.1177/0170840601222003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-65399DiVA: diva2:463143