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date: 25 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article aims to discuss the central importance of work in the critical management studies (CMS) movement. It proposes that work is perhaps the key category in CMS because the discipline represents a theoretical blending of management and the sociology of work. The first section discusses why work is a central concern for CMS. The article then discusses how work has been studied, the theoretical traditions and the empirical ‘objects’ that characterize CMS research. The third section discusses the ‘bringing work back in’ debate since it highlights some keen differences about what work means in critical research today. The article then adds a specific contribution by suggesting some alternative avenues of analysis. It draws upon the idea of the social factory and the different types of work (conventional, identity, and social) that it inaugurates. The article concludes by discussing the implications of our analysis by returning to a founding value of the CMS movement, emancipation.

Keywords: CMS, workers' society, emancipation, sociology of work, social factory, management studies

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