“We’re not talking to people, we’re talking to a nation”

Crossing borders in transnational customer service work

Authored by: Kiran Mirchandani

The Routledge Companion to Critical Management Studies

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  August  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415501880
eBook ISBN: 9781315889818
Adobe ISBN: 9781134511235


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The field of Critical Management Studies (CMS) is often said to have emerged out of the engagement of management scholars with the rich history of European critical theory. The Frankfurt School and its protégées represent, however, just one of the many genealogies of CMS. Scholars of antiracism, feminism, diaspora, postcolonialism and globalization have fundamentally shaped and given meaning to the notion of the “critical” within the CMS tradition. More than an interest in the exercise of elite power and the construction of organizational labor processes, these scholars have focused on the experience of organizational life from the perspective of those who are marginalized. The centering of those on the margin has provoked questions about border creations and crossings as well as the practices through which inclusion and exclusion is exercised within organizations. Rather than starting with the traditional pillars of management (such as organizational behavior, marketing, operations and finance), CMS involves documenting the processes through which organizations conceal and yet operate upon assumptions of an ideal worker and the mechanisms through which workers who deviate from this norm are penalized. CMS scholars have also questioned mainstream approaches to diversity and inclusion in management studies, especially given that managers are often the primary benefactors of class inequities supported by neoliberalism and capitalism.

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