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2014/2015  KAN-CFILO1128U  Managerial Challenges in Contemporary Worklife

English Title
Managerial Challenges in Contemporary Worklife

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Fourth Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 70
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Philosophy, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Michael Pedersen - MPP
Main academic disciplines
  • Philosophy and philosophy of science
  • Management
  • Organization
Last updated on 15-08-2014
Learning objectives
  • to assess and explain which self-management and management problems there are important in the examination-case
  • to be familiar with and able to analyze and compare the concepts, theories and perspectives presented in the course.
  • to be able to apply these concepts, theories and perspectives to the case
  • to critically reflect upon the practical and theoretical limitations and implications of the applied concepts, theories and perspectives
Managerial Challenges in Contemporary Worklife:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Case based assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period May/June
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure
The aim of the course is to provide students with knowledge about the managerial challenges in contemporary work-life. The main thesis put forward in the course is that these managerial challenges can be framed as a question of how to manage self-managing employees. In a broad sense, self-management require that employees think, feel and act in ways that contribute to the realization and improvement of the individual worker, but only insofar as they concomitantly anticipate and contribute to the various needs of the organization. However this creates new challenges for employees and managers alike. The course will confront these (self-)-managerial challenges along four empirical cases with the following themes: performance management, employee commitment, professionalism and work-life balance/stress. The student will learn to analyze and understand these cases and their related themes in light of various primarily philosophical concepts such as freedom, craftsmanship, cynicism, ideology and desire. All in an effort to understand the managerial opportunities’ and challenges self-managing employees brings about in contemporary work-life.  


Week I: Management of self-management
Week II: Performance Management and freedom

Week III: Professionalism and craftsmanship
Week IV: Commitment and cynicism
Week V: Work-life balance, stress and desire
Teaching methods
Class time will include lectures, and discussion groups in which students will explore theoretical perspectives and apply them to specific cases.
Expected literature
Lopdrup-Hjorth, T. Gudmand-Høyer, M. Bramming, P. and Pedersen, M. (2011) Governing work through self-management Ephemera 11(2) 97-104

Drucker, P (1999): ’Knowledge-worker productivity’, i California Management Review. 41(2) 79-94

Costea, B., Crump, N. and Amiridis, K. (2008): Managerialism, the therapeutic habitus and the self in contemporary Organizing, Human Relations61, 661-686

Rose, N (1999) Freedom, i Powers of Freedom – reframing political thought. Cambridge University Press 67-97

Maravelias, C. (2007): Freedom at Work in the Age of Post-Bureaucratic Organization. ephemera7(4) 555-574

Casey, C. (1999): Come Join Our Family: Discipline and Integration in Corporate Organizational Culture. Human Relations.Vol. 52, No.2 155-178

Kunda, G. and Van Maanen, J.M. (1999)Changing Scripts at Work: Managers and ProfessionalsThe ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 561: 64-68

Pedersen, M. (2011): ‘A career is nothing without a personal life’ – on the social machine in the call for authentic employees. ephemera 11(1) 63-77

Deleuze, G (2006): Desire and Pleasure, Two Regimes of Madness. Semiotext(e) Foreign Agent Series. 122-134
Smith, D (2007): Deleuze and the Question of Desire: Towards An Immanent Theory of Ethics. Parrhesia 2 66-78

Muhr, S. L. and Kirkegaard (2012): ‘The Dream Consultant: productive fantasies at work’. Culture and organization. 1-19, Ifirst article.

Zizek, S (1999) The Sublime Object of Ideology. Verso. 29-43

Walton, R.E. (1985): From control to commitment in the workplace. Harvard Business Review, Vol. 63 No.2, pp. 77-84.

Lazzarato, M. (2004): From Capital-Labour to Capital-Life. Ephemera 4(3)187-208 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 4(3)187-208

Pedersen, M (2008): Tune in, break down and reboot: new machines for coping with the stress of commitment’, Culture and organization, 14 (2): 171‐185

McDonnell, A and P. Gunnigle (2009). Performance Management, In Collings, W. D. and G. Wood (eds.) Human Resource Management – a critical approach. Routledge. 189-207
Foucault, M (1997): The ethics of the concern of the self as a practice of freedom. In Rabinow. P. (ed.) Michel Foucault essential works of Foucault 1954-1984 ethics volume 1. Penguin Books. 281-291

Gorz, A (2010) Immaterial Labour.The Immaterial. Seagull Books. 1-33

Boswell, W. R., Bingham, J.B and Colvin, Alexander. (2006) Aligning employees through “line of sight”. Business Horizons 499-509

Townley, B (1995 ): ‘Know Thyself’: Self-awareness, Self-formation and Managing. Organization2(2) 271-289

Guest, D. (2002): Perspectives on the study of work-life balance. Social Science Information41(2), 255-279
Last updated on 15-08-2014