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Compassion, power and organization

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stewart Clegg


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In this paper, we analyse the significance of compassion as an emotion in its relationship to various manifestations of power within the organisational context. We critique those theories of compassion that assume that compassion in organsational contexts is motivated only by a noble intent. The paper draws on a study of organisational responses to the flood that devastated the City of Brisbane Australia on the morning of 11 January 2011. We use a framework of ‘circuits of power’ to provide a triple focus on interpersonal, organisational and societal uses of power together with a model of coercive, instrumental and normative organisational power. We present our findings in a framework constructed by overlapping these frameworks. The unique contribution of this paper is to provide a conceptualisation of organisational compassion enmeshed with various modes of power exercised in and by organisations.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Simpson AV, Clegg SR, Freeder D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Political Power

Year: 2013

Volume: 6

Issue: 3

Pages: 385-404

Online publication date: 04/12/2013

ISSN (print): 2158-379X

ISSN (electronic): 2158-3803

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/2158379X.2013.846558


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