Flexible Firm: The Design of Culture at Bang & Olufsen
"As elegant as its subject, Denmark's Bang & Olufsen, this affably written and sharp-eyed ethnography achieves a new standard in the emerging field of the anthropology of corporate organization." - George E. Marcus, author of Writing Culture. The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography
Bang & Olufsen, the famous Danish producer of high-end home electronics, is well known as an early exponent of value-based management: the idea that there should be consistency in what the organisation does, a certain continuity between what the company develops and sells, and the beliefs and practices of the employees. This study investigates how company values are communicated and the collective identity is articulated through the use of such concepts as 'culture', 'fundamental values', and 'corporate religion', as well as how employees negotiate these ideas in their daily working lives. As this book reveals, the identifi cation of values, meant to create cohesion and solidarity among employees, came to symbolise and engender a split between the staff and the other parts of the company. By examining the rise and fall of the value-based management approach, this volume offers the indispensible insight of anthropological enquiry to expose how social realities challenge conventional management strategies and therefore must be considered in the development of new management techniques.
Jakob Krause-Jensen is an anthropologist and Associate Professor at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University. His research focuses on the way ethnographic methods and anthropological theory can be used to understand organizations and the life within them in critical and creative ways.
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