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2021/2022  KAN-CPHIO1502U  Philosophical Investigations in Contemporary Worklife

English Title
Philosophical Investigations in Contemporary Worklife

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory (also offered as elective)
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course 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 - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
  • Morten Sørensen Thaning - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
Main academic disciplines
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • Management
  • Organisational behaviour
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 09-02-2021

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Based on the course material explain the nature and the theoretical and practical importance of a problem in contemporary work-life
  • Conduct a coherent, well-structured and precise philosophical investigation of the problem chosen
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the philosophical theories presented in the course
  • Demonstrate the ability to compare the concepts and theories presented in the course
  • Demonstrate the ability apply these concepts and theories to empirical examples and thereby show their practical relevance
  • Demonstrate the ability to critically reflect upon the practical and theoretical limitations and implications of the applied concepts and theories
Philosophical Investigations in Contemporary Worklife:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance, see also the rules about examination forms in the programme regulations.
Individual or group exam Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-3
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Synopsis
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The aim of the course is to provide students with knowledge about challenges in contemporary work-life. The main thesis put forward in the course is that these challenges can be framed as a question of self-management. In the course the students will gain insights into some of the contemporary issues that arise when the organization’s or collectives success stems from discretionary and unspecific employee behaviors that cannot be defined by job descriptions or controlled by management. Students will be working on various empirical examples about the challenges of being a self-managing employee in such a work-life. The student will learn to analyze and understand these examples in light of three questions: what does it mean to be a self-managing subject? What and how do individual and collective habits form our self-management? Which role does gender imply for our conceptions of self-management? By combining management texts, philosophical concepts and empirical cases the student will get a practical as well as philosophical insight into these three questions.


The course runs over five weeks.

Description of the teaching methods
Class time will include lectures, and discussion groups in which students will explore theoretical perspectives and apply them to specific empirical examples. The students are expected to have read and be familiar with the assigned readings when coming to class. As well as have done the work-task they are assigned between classes.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback through student to student exercises facilitated by teachers
Student workload
Lectures 36 hours
Exam 37 hours
Preparation 134 hours
Expected literature

Butler, J. (1993a), “Critically queer”, GLQ: A Journal in Gay and Lesbian Studies, Vol. 1 No. 1, 17-32. 


Butler, J. (1990), Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Routledge, New York, chapter 1. 



Costea, B., Crump, N. and Amiridis, K. (2008) Managerialism, the therapeutic habitus and the self in contemporary Organizing, Human Relations 61 (5), 661-686*


Deleuze, G., and F. Guattari. 1984. Anti-Oedipus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by R. Hurley, M. Seem and H. R. Lane. London: The Athlone Press.  1-50.


Dewey, J. (1922) Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology. New York, NY, USA: Henry Holt and Company. Read part one: Habit


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



Kunda, G. and Van Maanen, J.M. (1999) Changing Scripts at Work: Managers and Professionals,The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 56,: 64-68


Maravelias, C. (2007): Freedom at Work in the Age of Post-Bureaucratic Organization. Ephemera 7(4), 555-574

Pedersen, M. (2008): Tune in, break down and reboot – new machines for coping with the stress of commitment. Culture and Organization, 14 (2), pp. 171-185


Last updated on 09-02-2021