The Triumph of Emptiness: Consumption, Higher Education, and Work Organization

Paperback | September 21, 2014

byMats Alvesson

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In this book, Mats Alvesson aims to demystify some popular and upbeat claims about a range of phenomena, including the knowledge society, consumption, branding, higher education, organizational change, professionalization, and leadership. He contends that a culture of grandiosity is leading tonumerous inflated claims. We no longer talk about plans but "strategies". Supervisors have been replaced by "managers", managers are referred to as executives. Management is about "leadership". Giving advice is "coaching". Companies become "knowledge-intensive firms". The book views the contemporaryeconomy as an economy of persuasion, where firms and other institutions increasingly assign talent, energy, and resources to rhetoric, image, branding, reputation, and visibility. Using a wide range of empirical examples to illuminate the realms of consumption, higher education, organization, and leadership, this provocative and engaging book challenges established assumptions and contributes to a critical understanding of society as a whole.

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In this book, Mats Alvesson aims to demystify some popular and upbeat claims about a range of phenomena, including the knowledge society, consumption, branding, higher education, organizational change, professionalization, and leadership. He contends that a culture of grandiosity is leading tonumerous inflated claims. We no longer talk...

Mats Alvesson is Professor of Business Administration at the University of Lund, Sweden and at University of Queensland Business School, Australia. Recent books include Qualitative Research and Theory Development (Sage 2011, with Dan Karreman), Interpreting Interviews (Sage 2011), Metaphor we Lead By: Understanding Leadership in the R...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.8 inPublished:September 21, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198708807

ISBN - 13:9780198708803

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction - Zero-Sum Games, Grandiosity, and Illusion Tricks2. Consumption - the Shortcomings of Affluence3. Explaining the Consumption Paradox: Why aren't People (More) Satisfied?4. Higher Education - Triumph of the Knowledge Intensive Society or a Statistical Cosmetics Project?5. Higher Education - an Image-Boosting Business?6. Modern Working Life and Organizations - Change, Dynamism, and Post-Bureaucracy?7. Organizational Structures on the Beauty Parade: Imitation and Shop-Window Dressing8. A Place in the Sun - Occupational Groups' Professionalization Projects and Other Status and Influence Ambitions9. Leadership - A Driving Force or Empty Talk10. The Triumph of Imagology - A Paradise for Tricksters?11. The Costs of Grandiosity