An examination of the deep structure of the discourse on the organization of work shows that the most successful texts share a common structure: they construct an ideal model in which performance and quality go hand in hand. They provide explanations for the self-constructed gap between the model and reality, and recipes for change. This type of discourse has widespread appeal, but there are shortcomings attached to it: an inevitable neglect of the employment relation (and accordingly inadequate analysis of resistance to organizational change) and undue optimism about the quality of working life (thereby de-legitimizing efforts, such as in Scandinavian and Dutch working conditions legislation, to establish the quality of working life as a value in its own right). Critical and empirical evaluative alternative approaches seem unable to capture substantial mind share.

Journal of Organizational Change Management
Department of Sociology