The Triumph of Emptiness
This talk is based on: "The triumph of emptiness. Consumption, higher education and work organisation" (2013), Oxford University Press. In the West, and increasingly globally, there are moves into the age of grandiosity. The mundane and trivial are, whenever possible, being transformed into something much more aesthetic and appealing. Value is seemingly increased or enhanced with minimal cost - just through adding a more desirable label or image, e.g. brand clichés, CV and title inflation. Organisations and other institutions and those supposed to benefit from them suffer when window dressing take upper hand over substance, leading to wishful thinking, narcissism and a low level of reflection.
Mats Alvesson is Professor of Business Administration at the University of Lund, Sweden and at UQ Business School. His research interests include critical theory, gender, power, management of professional service (knowledge intensive) organisations, leadership, identity, organisational image, organisational culture and symbolism, qualitative methods and philosophy of science.