Why is resistance a pervasive feature of organisations? We seek to add to the established ways of understanding resistance by arguing that it may emerge due to the rationality and irrationality, order and disorder that imbues organisations. We explore how such conditions create ambivalent situations that can generate resistance which is ambivalent itself as it can both facilitate and hinder the operation of organisations. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in a manufacturing organisation, we introduce the concept of pragmatic resistance as a means to grasp the everyday resistance that emerges through and reflects cracks in the rational model of organisations. Rather than being anti-work, we demonstrate how pragmatic resistance is bound up with organisational disorder/irrationality, competing work demands and the prioritisation of what is interpreted as 'real-work'. Overall, the concept of pragmatic resistance indicates that resistance may be far more pervasive and organisations more fragile and vulnerable to disruption than is often assumed to be the case.
McCabe, DarrenCiuk, Sylwia
Oxford Brookes Business School\Oxford Brookes Business School\Department of Business and Management
Year of publication: 2019Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-03-15