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78

Storified

The literary turn in American corporate mythology

(missing author)

2
terms
1
notes

by Jessica Loudis

? (2018). Storified. The Baffler, 41, pp. 78-82

80

[...] As German author Philipp Schönthaler writes in his new book, Portrait of the Manager as a Young Author, beginning in the 1980s, businesses have studiously “redefined themselves as engaged in ‘cultural and affective activity,’” and as a result, they’ve begun to view their employees “as interpretive, emotional beings.”

As he lays out this process, Schönthaler underlines the ways in which storytelling and management go about distilling complex human interactions into the stuff of easily digestible myth. “Storytelling,” he writes, “gains its legitimation precisely where digital information flows too quickly.” Similarly, management gains authority by “transform[ing] questions of content into questions of organization.”

Schönthaler, a literary critic by training, supplies a distilled history of modern management theory, from the advent of Taylorism in the early twentieth century to human resource development in the 1950s, on through to the “post-Fordist” models of self-supervision in the workplace, which gained currency from the 1980s down to today. Under this latest managerial dispensation, the worker is no longer simply treated as a Taylorite input of production but a person with hopes and dreams—with the challenge for management being the careful modulation of those aspirations in the company’s preferred image. Thus is the worker’s affective private life gradually annexed to the company’s song of itself.

—p.80 missing author 3 days, 13 hours ago

[...] As German author Philipp Schönthaler writes in his new book, Portrait of the Manager as a Young Author, beginning in the 1980s, businesses have studiously “redefined themselves as engaged in ‘cultural and affective activity,’” and as a result, they’ve begun to view their employees “as interpretive, emotional beings.”

As he lays out this process, Schönthaler underlines the ways in which storytelling and management go about distilling complex human interactions into the stuff of easily digestible myth. “Storytelling,” he writes, “gains its legitimation precisely where digital information flows too quickly.” Similarly, management gains authority by “transform[ing] questions of content into questions of organization.”

Schönthaler, a literary critic by training, supplies a distilled history of modern management theory, from the advent of Taylorism in the early twentieth century to human resource development in the 1950s, on through to the “post-Fordist” models of self-supervision in the workplace, which gained currency from the 1980s down to today. Under this latest managerial dispensation, the worker is no longer simply treated as a Taylorite input of production but a person with hopes and dreams—with the challenge for management being the careful modulation of those aspirations in the company’s preferred image. Thus is the worker’s affective private life gradually annexed to the company’s song of itself.

—p.80 missing author 3 days, 13 hours ago

(noun) a usually short sermon / (noun) a lecture or discourse on or of a moral theme / (noun) an inspirational catchphrase or platitude. homiletic: the art of preaching or writing sermons

80

These stories are placid homilies of consumer-spiritual stasis

—p.80 missing author
notable
3 days, 13 hours ago

These stories are placid homilies of consumer-spiritual stasis

—p.80 missing author
notable
3 days, 13 hours ago

the opposite or counterpart of a fact or truth; the side of a coin or medal bearing the head or principal design

81

He also examines the obverse trend in the literary marketplace, with authors increasingly expected to serve as their own “storytelling managers.”

—p.81 missing author
notable
3 days, 13 hours ago

He also examines the obverse trend in the literary marketplace, with authors increasingly expected to serve as their own “storytelling managers.”

—p.81 missing author
notable
3 days, 13 hours ago