مالیگرایی در محل کار: روایات هژمونیک، مداخلات نمایشی و کارگر دانش عصبانی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|22989||2013||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting, Organizations and Society, Volume 38, Issue 4, May 2013, Pages 314–331
This paper uncovers how the pressures of financialization were passed from top management to employees and achieved performative hegemony in a subsidiary of a knowledge intensive, high technology, multinational corporation. Qualitative insights from subsidiary directors, management and knowledge workers are presented. The paper demonstrates that financialization is a performative phenomenon which elevates the role of accounting in organizations. It highlights how budgets can serve as a performative mechanism through which top management can narrate a desired reality and pass down a myriad of performative interventions to achieve this reality. The paper uncovers how financialization can cause insecurity, work intensification, suppression of voice and the enactment of falsely optimistic behaviours; all of which prompt distress and anger amongst knowledge workers. The paper also uncovers sources of counter performativity and resistance but demonstrates that employees ultimately participate in their subordination. Employees pursue financialized performative interventions as they interpret them as the primary method of securing their role in a pervasively insecure work environment.
Saramago’s quote above elegantly illuminates the point long made by critical theorists that workplaces are sites of multiple, contrary interests and narratives which are not easily reconciled. This paper documents how financial interests and narratives can achieve performative hegemony within the knowledge workplace. Financialization refers to the increasingly significant role of financial markets, financial actors, and financial motives in daily life (Epstein, 2005 and Lapavitsas, 2011). Organizations operating within financialized capitalism interact with financial markets to secure capital from removed, financially motivated investors. Early proponents of financialization posited that prioritizing investor returns prompts top management to engage in productive activities that result in business success; i.e. what is good for the investor is good for all (Welch, 1981). Critics later argued that financialization is a less stable, more carnivorous type of capitalism, in part because product markets cannot deliver the immediate and continuous growth required by financial actors (Andersson et al., 2008, Foster, 2007 and Williams, 2000). Scholarship on financialization is burgeoning and uncovers compelling aggregate trends relating to the employment relationship. It is widely accepted that this mode of capital accumulation results in losses for labour; causing job and financial insecurity in particular (Batt & Appelbaum, 2013; Thompson, 2013). However explanations of the relationship between financialization at the level of the economy and workplace outcomes remain under-specified. There is also a dearth of accounts from employees meaning scholarship is at best unaware of what employees experience on a daily basis and is at worst encouraging a default view of employees as hapless recipients of deterministic financialized outcomes. This article makes an empirical contribution by documenting how financialization pervaded daily life within the Irish subsidiary of ‘Avatar’ (pseudonym), a publicly listed, high-technology, knowledge intensive, multinational corporation (MNC). Data is presented from annual reports, financial media, interviews and observations. In-depth studies of financialization reveal that financial actors seek financial returns from organizations along with compelling strategic narratives which indicate the organization is pursuing formulaic strategies to achieve future returns (Froud et al., 2006 and Zorn et al., 2005). This paper argues that financialization within organizations is defined precisely by the stream of performative interventions organizations take to live the narrative, deliver returns and ultimately be a model of shareholder value creation. Consequently, understanding financialization within organizations requires exploring how these interventions are co-ordinated, received, challenged and sustained to achieve a hegemonic influence and be both performative and possibly counter performative. It is these micro level features of financialization that have not received sufficient attention and what this paper explores.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Fig. 2 sets out the performative trajectory of financialization in Avatar. The Avatar case demonstrates how financialization elevates the role of accounting in organizations. Financialization is a performative phenomenon and accounting targets are is the starting point, the vehicle and the destination.Avatar top management were facing a dilemma that typifies financialized capitalism namely financial actors sought levels of financial returns beyond what the product market could deliver. In the financial year preceding the ethnography Avatar Group generated approximately thirty billion in revenue and ten billion in operating profit. Nonetheless investor scepticism regarding Avatar’s ability to grow revenue prompted share price volatility. This prompted top management to provide deleteriously high dividends and to script ever changing optimistic narratives about future revenue growth and cost cutting. This paper demonstrates that financialization in organizations is defined by the performative interventions taken in an attempt to make the organization become the model of shareholder value creation management narratives claim it to be; as Callon states ‘the world conveyed by the statement is only realized after a long collective effort’ (2007: 313). Consequently, exploring how interventions are co-ordinated, received, challenged and sustained yields insights into how financialization achieves performative hegemony within organizations. In Avatar Ireland these performative interventions included continuous Group mandated changes to products and services, locally developed revenue generating initiatives, redundancies, outsourcing, centralization, re-organizations and on-going reduction of operational expenditure. The paper documents how budgeting practices served as the performative mechanism through which this myriad of performative interventions were transmitted and delivered by lower levels. In his explorations of how hegemonic systems emerge Mumby states ‘the groups with the most power will be those that are best able to integrate their sectional claims into the very structuring of the organisation’ (1987: 116). The Avatar case identifies how budgets enable the structures and narratives which prioritize capital interests at the corporate governance level to be replicated inside the organization. In Avatar subsidiary directors were required to continuously justify and reduce subsidiary expenditure, craft optimistic narratives and achieve a myriad of performative interventions to secure capital investment from Group. Line managers and employees were required to deliver ever changing performative interventions, cut costs and also craft optimistic narratives to secure capital investment and work on projects. In Avatar a ‘continuous budgeting' (Frow et al., 2010) process was leveraged by management to the establish structures and calculative equipment that enabled them to pass down and continually scrutinize progress against ever changing performative interventions. The paper also highlights how financial narratives and accounting practices can dominate the knowledge labour process. All roles in Avatar contributed to the revenue generating and cost cutting market stories but were weighted more in favour of one resulting in the categories of generative and operational knowledge work. The approach taken to control work was based on the extent to which accounting practices rendered desired results knowable to management. The lack of certainty in generative work meant employees were held ‘responsibly accountable’ required to continuously demonstrate responsible minimization of risk through ongoing scrutiny of their work against ROI principles. Operational outcomes were deemed wholly achievable and operational workers were held ‘directly accountable’ for achieving operational targets. The accounting practices also created behavioural scripts whereby generative workers were required to loudly ‘manage upwards’ and ‘profile’ and operational workers were to be quiet and compliant. Both behaviours prompted suppression of voice and a reluctance to highlight concerns. In Avatar the performative interventions created constant, not just change, but upheaval in the labour process. The case demonstrates how embedding accounting practices at the core of the labour process can compel employees to comprehend change and their contribution to it in terms of costs and ROI; thereby rendering financial measures omnipotent amidst continuous upheaval. Finally the paper documents how performative interventions created the employment outcomes associated with financialization. By specifying how these outcomes came about the Avatar case highlights that financialization, in addition to creating employment insecurity, financial insecurity and work intensification, can also prompt role insecurity, suppression of voice and enactment of falsely optimistic behaviours. The continuous stream of performative interventions caused employees to feel anything could happen to their role at a moment’s notice; the cumulative effect of which was insecurity and distress. This distress was exacerbated by the competing high road HR narrative which was considered an affront to their informed ability to discern the material ‘reality’ of their employment conditions within financialized capitalism. The clash of narratives defined the employment experience creating a perception that management first did not value employees and secondly considered employees to be naïve and even stupid. Contrary to the knowledge based literature employment in knowledge intensive organizations need not be characterized by secure, empowering employment. Within financialization knowledge and knowledge workers, as a source of organization success, are secondary to the appeasement of financial actors. Instead, the daily mindset of knowledge workers labouring within a financialized organization can be one of anger and distress. Nonetheless employees can participate in their subordination and accept the financialized narratives and performative interventions if they interpret them as the primary method of securing their role in a pervasively insecure organization. This is how financialization achieved performative hegemony within Avatar. Hegemony is never automatic and performative does not mean prophetic. In Avatar the avoidance of open critique enabled the hegemony of financialized interests but also had counter-performative consequences as it meant potential problems often went ignored enhancing the risk of failure in the product market and diminishing the long-term viability of the organizations infrastructure. The reluctance to critique also allowed employees to distance themselves from managerial objectives and became a form of resistance through work avoidance. Identifying ‘counter performative’ outcomes is a valuable step as it draws attention to the unintended consequences of financialization and prompts consideration of the acceptability of these consequences. The Avatar case demonstrates how counter performativity and resistance can simultaneously weaken and perpetuate the performative hegemony of financialized interests.