Empowerment through organizations as cooptation or emancipation ? A critical analysis of the construction of empowerment as an organizational responsibility
Léglise, Laure (2019), Empowerment through organizations as cooptation or emancipation ? A critical analysis of the construction of empowerment as an organizational responsibility, 11th International Critical Management Studies Conference, 2019-06, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
TypeCommunication / Conférence
Conference title11th International Critical Management Studies Conference
Conference cityMilton Keynes
Conference countryUnited Kingdom
MetadataShow full item record
Dauphine Recherches en Management [DRM]
Abstract (EN)15 years later, Prahalad’s dream seems to have come true. While poverty reduction by the private sector is now taken-for-granted (UN Commission on the Private Sector and Development, 2004; UNDP, 2008, 2010; World Economic Forum, 2009), a new issue has been recently put on the agenda of researchers in organizational study: the empowerment of marginalized and dominated people, as works oncooperatives (Cheney et al., 2014; Draperi, 2010), emancipatory entrepreneurship (Chandra, 2017; Goss, Jones, Betta, & Latham, 2011), emancipatory entrepreneuring (Al‐Dajani, Carter, Shaw, & Marlow, 2015; Rindova, Barry, & Ketchen Jr, 2009)and on community empowerment (Ansari, Munir, & Gregg, 2012)show. However, this recent interest in empowerment from organizational researchers call for a critical analysis. Besides the question of the ability and limitations of management to produce empowerment in deprived communities (Petitgand, 2018), it raises the question of how the empowerment of marginalized or dominated people has become an issue and a responsibility for for-profit organizations and what does it say about power relations between different actors in society. We will try in this paper to answer this research question, contributing to critically interrogate the role of management thought in sustaining developmentalism. To answer our research question, we use a neo-Gramscian theoretical framework inspired by the work of Levy and his colleagues. In this conceptualization, power does not depend on resource ownership but is hegemonic. Levy defines hegemony as "the persistence of specific social and economic structures that systematically improve certain groups” (Levy & Newell, 2002, 86). Hegemony thus refers to a situation of relative stability of a social system in which an alliance of dominant groups emerges (Levy, 2008). This alliance maintains its position through the coercive authority of the state, the dominance in the economic sphere and the consensual legitimacy of civil society. It is based on a broad base of consent, which is built on coalitions and compromises and on ideologies that communicatea mutuality of interests (Levy & Egan, 2003). Hegemony is therefore a descriptive term that refers to the way in which a particular group achieves moral and intellectual leadership over other groups. Therefore, the conception of power developed by Levy has a dynamic and unstable nature (Huault & Perret, 2009), which makes possible to conceive resistance from other actors. We used a genealogical approach to grasp the historical and social processes of the emergence of empowerment as an organizational issue. According to Vaara and Lamberg (2016), a genealogical approach is useful to deconstruct historical truths and subjectivities, as well as their implications. We have collected data from multiple secondary sources: academic articles of the academics involved in the process, newspaper articles, interviews of central actors in newspapers, speeches, internal and external documents from organizations involved such as the United Nations or the World Bank, videos from speeches or lectures.
Subjects / Keywordsdevelopmentalism; Neo-Gramscianism; historical and social processes
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