Management Training and the Lifeworld

It remains an unavoidable structural characteristic of Managerialism to colonise the non-managerial sphere of human life. From colonialism via imperialism to today’s corporate globalisation, Managerialism, and even to mundane management training regimes, every single act of colonisation and conquest—quite necessarily—implies two elements: a conqueror and someone who is conquered. Just as the Italian theoretician Niccolo Machiavelli noted so brilliantly a long time ago, the conqueror imposes his objectives on the vanquished, making them his possession.1 In managerial regimes these vanquished are labelled human resources while in management training they are framed as educational customers. Management training programmes impose a Nietzsche-like will on those who are overpowered and enticed to internalise the rules and ideologies of management and Managerialism.2 The inevitable structure of domination assures that the victims of this process become alienated through being “other directed” and shaped by management training regimes. From the first act of this managerial tainting conquest, human beings are reduced to the inhuman status of being “things” played with on the chessboard of Managerialism and managerial training regimes. But just as domination remains associated with managerial regimes and

© The Author(s) 2017 T. Klikauer, Management Education, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-40778-4_8

management training, domination-free situations remain an obligatory element of emancipatory education.

Human beings have never been non-dialogical per se. Instead, they have been rendered non-dialogical by authoritarian forms of communication, engineered under the conditions of managerial regimes and flanked by the ideological justifications of Managerialism. In managerial regimes, this is achieved through being made to adhere to management’s “reporting upwards and delegating downwards” while in management training the same is done through authoritarian teaching methods— modules, key learning objectives, e-learning, and so on—shaped by the demand for managerially useful knowledge. The authoritarianism found in managerial regimes and their key performance indicators is mirrored by management training’s key learning objectives.

Both regimes not only are mutually reinforcing but also establish and reinforce managerial domination. Within such training situations, antidialogue training remains an indispensable necessity for those furthering domination. What defines the anti-dialogical method is not the fact that no dialogue takes place at all but rather that communication is structured via domination in predominantly three key ways:

  • 1. One-way communication in which a management trainer instructs students in “tell and sell” methods, selling managerial key concepts and ideologies as “given”.
  • 2. Two-way communication in which a management trainer “tells and listens”, selling invented managerial key concepts and ideologies while allowing students to comment, upon which, in turn, the trainer admits or rejects these comments.
  • 3. Crypto-integrated communication in which a management trainer pre-structures communication beforehand—always “for” students rather than “with” students—so that forms of predesigned discussion take place that can never follow the principles of ideal speech but instead lead to outcomes that are predictable and designed to engineer what Managerialism defines as useful outcomes.

All three forms and similar methods are often—albeit falsely—labelled “trainer-student” dialogues or worse: student-centred dialogues. They remain deeply anti-dialogical as they not only prevent ideal speech but are in fact tools to further domination. They are hierarchical and authoritarian rather than based on mutual and equal recognition among human beings. In all three forms of communication (Fig. 8.1), human beings become dispossessed of their words, their own thinking, and their own expressions. The expressiveness of their culture is superseded by the one-dimensional ideology of Managerialism. Furthermore, once a situation of domination has been initiated, anti-dialogue becomes indispensable. As a consequence, management training carries forward forms of authoritarian communication even though it is—somewhat Orwellian— labelled dialogue.

Meanwhile, forces of domination “live and breathe” a relentless desire for conquest with an inherent necessity of colonisation that is, at all times and all locations, defining its anti-dialogical forms of education. It is to this end that those cementing domination attempt to annihilate in people their inquisitive and critical qualities as conscious human beings. But since those cementing domination can never totally achieve such obliteration, they must continue creating and propagating ideologies by extending their managerial ideologies into the non-managerial or lifeworld.

In this context, the idea of the lifeworld that originated in Husserl’s Lebenswelfi sees the world as an immediate and direct experience in the subjectivity of everyday life. This is sharply distinguished from the objective “world” of sciences that employs methods of mathematical science. Although these sciences originate in the lifeworld, they are not those of everyday life. The lifeworld includes individual, social, managerial, perceptual, educational, and practical experiences. Husserl’s phenomenology attempts to show how the world of theory and science originates from the lifeworld while striving to discover the mundane phenomena of the lifeworld in an attempt to show how the experience of the life- world is possible. But the lifeworld is not a given. It is constantly, and perhaps even consistently, threatened by forces of domination such as

managerial regimes ^ key performance indicators ^

it it ^ domination

management training ^ key learning objectives я

Fig. 8.1 Establishing communicative domination managerial regimes and ideologies such as Managerialism and neo-liberalism as well as through market capitalism in the form of, for example, “the privatisation of everything”. Habermas describes this process as “the colonisation of the lifeworld”.4 To render it possible, colonisation—by definition—is camouflaged through ideology. These camouflaging ideologies have largely three tasks:

  • (a) To asphyxiate the present status of domination
  • (b) To camouflage contradictions
  • (c) To prevent emancipation.

In order to present people in managerial settings with the false image of a dominated and subjugated “lifeworld”, forces of domination create deceitful methods of management training to increase, for example, acceptance and passivity among people. Armed with that, those furthering domination tend to develop series of educational training methods that disqualify true representations of the lifeworld and disallow historical problems, managerial pathologies, and contradictions. They present the lifeworld, managerial regimes, and management training programmes as fixed entities—the given—and as something to which human beings as mere impotent spectators must adapt.

This ideological training-specific approach remains fundamentally necessary for those who cement domination because it is this approach that keeps students submissive while allowing subjugation to flourish. This framework can, however, never be “with” students, nor can it develop true solidarity, mutual and equal recognition, communicative action, and ideal speech. Instead, patterns of communicative domination are accomplished by those cementing domination so that ideologies can be deposited. Such ideologies remain indispensable to the preservation of domination as well as to the prevention of emancipation. For example, the hegemonic ideology that our present order is a “free society” stabilises corporate capitalism and domination. Similarly, the “free choice” ideology allows the narrowing of life choices to the predesigned onedimensional trajectory of domination:

birth ^ schooling ^ working/consuming ^ retiring ^ death.

Ideologies such as “all people are free to work where they wish”, for example, hide the fact that without exposing oneself to the often rather involuntary and arbitrary character of labour markets to sell the only thing we have—our ability to work—we are confined to starvation levels because what was once known as “welfare state” has been successfully reduced to poverty regimes under neo-liberalism. The victims of this are framed as job seekers. Being forced to work becomes the ultimate dream of capitalism: imagine a shop where every customer is forced to buy something. The capitalist dream of the labour market offers this. With increasing levels of unemployment, however, ideologies such as “if you do not like your boss you can leave and look for another job” become hallucinogenic pathologies. The ideology that this order respects human rights and is therefore worthy of esteem is flanked by a “Planet of Slums”. But the ideologies of neo-liberalism and Managerialism are also flanked by the hallucination that anyone who is industrious can become an entrepreneur and that a small street vendor is as much an entrepreneur as the owner of a large factory or multinational corporation.

On top of that, there is also the “universal-right-of-education” ideology that applies more to some than to others and even those “some” face stratospheric costs as access to education is deregulated and privatised. Still, among all the children of the world entering primary schools, only a tiny fraction—usually upper- and upper-middle-class children—will ever reach university.5 Social immobility is camouflaged through the ideology of the equality of all. Meanwhile, corporate mass media prove helpful in propagating the ideology of heroism—the lone hero making it to the top through hard work. This is presented as a “hyper-individualistic” defender of the weak that offers choice. It comes with the hidden transcript of furthering domination while cementing inequality. This has historical and global consequences. Today, as during the times of the Crusades (eleventh century), the Spanish conquest of the Americas (sixteenth century), and the seemingly never ending Iraq-War that started in 2003, the selfappointed defenders of “Western Christian Civilization”6 are presented as defending us against “barbarism”—terrorism has become a recent, albeit most welcoming, ideological tool after the demise of anti-communism.7

Meanwhile the ideology of philanthropy, corporate charity, and the generosity of the monetary elites foster selective “good deeds” propagated by corporate mass media and tabloid-TV while simultaneously deep welfare cuts are engineered under the flanking ideology of neo-liberalism’s “free choice” hallucination. At a somewhat higher level, the same “aid” ideology mutates into “global aid” while financial institutions shift global wealth towards the rich. At the same time, many Catholic Popes have supported aid-giving as long as capitalism remained untouched. But the hegemonic ideology of the dominant elites also recognises their “duties” to elevate the worst accesses of suffering caused by their system by promoting global aid and supporting the educational advancement of students. It is designed as an educational regime of domination in which students are enticed to display gestures of gratitude towards scholarship givers (again, only to a selected few), visiting dignities, politicians, and so-called corporate leaders.

Students are made to adhere to the global inequality in education and domination. They are enticed to accept the words and philanthropic deeds of the global elites and conform to their hegemonic ideologies. This, of course, comes with the ideology that rebellion against those who set up domination and generously grant aid and “basic” education is— particularly in catholic countries—framed as a sin against God. The very same ideology cements private property and ownership as being somehow fundamental to personal human development as long as those furthering domination remain predominantly the owners of private property. This cements an ever-increasing gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. The former are seen as being of good character, having worked hard and representing honourable members of the consumer-based achievement society even though most wealth is inherited rather than “made” on the backs of others. Meanwhile, the latter are despised by corporate mass media and tabloid-TV as no-goods and lazy welfare cheats.

This is linked to the ideology of industriousness and entrepreneurship that is mostly assigned to those furthering domination. Meanwhile, the laziness and dishonesty of those seeking emancipation is exhi- bitionistically paraded by tabloid-TV. The global hegemonic ideology of neo-liberalism—often mixed with an unhealthy dose of Social Darwinism—pretends that there is a “natural” inferiority of the “have- nots” and a superiority of the “haves”.8 These ideologies and many others support domination through a constant and consistent rehearsing by corporate mass media at daily levels so that mass deception through mass internalisation can flourish.9 Over the years, simple indoctrination has mutated from being an Althusserian “state ideological apparatus” to becoming a “global ideological apparatus” organised as a worldwide propaganda machine that supplies ideological slogans day in and day out. Broadcast through corporate mass media, these ideologies are presented as “news items” transmitted by so-called independent news agencies.10

In short, there can never be a domineering reality that is not at the same time necessarily anti-dialogical, for example, relying on authoritarian means of communication such as “command and control” and “reporting upwards and directing downwards” inside managerial regimes while “The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda” are celebrated at the level of corporate mass media.11 At work and in management education, ideological colonisation remains based on predesigned forms of authoritarian communication that deny ideal speech. But just as there can never be communicative action with those cementing domination, they dedicate themselves to the constant conquest of those seeking emancipation. Then as today, the goals are the same—stabilise domination and prevent emancipation—but the methods have surely become more sophisticated. Under slavery in Roman antiquity, those cementing domination used to give “bread and circuses” to prospective students to “soften them up” and secure their adjustment to slave-owning inequalities while securing their own rule and tranquillity. The historical contingencies from the distant past to today are shown in Fig. 8.2.

Figure 8.2 shows how mass deception paired with incentives have changed during economic shifts. There are shifts within each economic structure: from liberal to social welfare to today’s neo-liberal capitalism with shifts from workers to employees to human resources. But the fundamentals

Fig. 8.2 From circus to mass media remained the same even though liberal capitalism has shifted towards consumer capitalism opening up new avenues of linking the ideology of capitalism to consumerism and petit bourgeois lifestyles. While the crudeness of Fig. 8.1 disallows the finer details of what has occurred, it nevertheless shows that each historical epoch demands incentives and ideologies to stabilise each regime’s specific form of domination. One might also be able to detect that there is an increase in sophistication when it comes to the ideological apparatus and methods used. Nevertheless, the dominant elites of today—like those of any earlier historical periods—remain bound to continue the need to conquer others with or without “bread and circuses”. Since the ascendancy of global corporate mass media it seems preferable to operate “with” it. Hence, the global decline of fascist regimes and outright military dictatorships. While content and methods of the conquest vary historically, the goal remains the same: domination. Even domination has seen a shift from force and violence towards more sophisticated ideological means. But whether it is slavery, feudalism, or capitalism, the existence of dominant elites and their passion to dominate others does not vary. The old “divide and rule” method is still with us today.

 
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