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Organizational Ethics and Foucault's 'Art of Living': Lessons from Social Movement Organizations

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Iain Munro



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


This article develops Foucault’s later work on ethics and his concept of ethical askesis in the transformation of the self as a new approach to understanding organizational ethics. Scholars within the field of management and organization studies have already proposed the development of a Foucauldian approach to ethics, but the precise nature of such an ‘art of living’ has yet to be clarified. To address this gap in the literature this article builds on Foucault’s theoretical and practical interest in the work of historical and contemporary social movement organizations. The article investigates the role that social movement organizations play as crucibles for the creation of new forms of organizational subjectivity and novel ethical practices. In this way the article develops a synthesis between the Foucauldian scholarship and social movement organization theory. The contribution of the article shows how social movement organizations act as sites for the creation of novel organizational subjectivities and ethical practices, and reconceptualizes organizational ethics in Foucauldian terms as a form of ethical askesis to transform the self.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Munro I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Organization Studies

Year: 2014

Volume: 35

Issue: 8

Pages: 1127-1148

Print publication date: 01/08/2014

Online publication date: 21/05/2014

Date deposited: 12/01/2015

ISSN (print): 0170-8406

ISSN (electronic): 1741-3044

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.1177/0170840614530915


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