From Mad to Mindful: Corporate Control Through Corporate Spirituality
Mary V. Wrenn
Journal of Economic Issues, 2020, vol. 54, issue 2, 503-509
Capitalism has always and will always depend on a compliant workforce. Maintaining the delicate balance between a worker who is just “not-unhappy” enough or desperate enough to continue working while also cutting costs to the bone presents a continuous challenge for business interests. This pursuit to squeeze more productivity out of workers while also managing worker discontent in the cheapest way possible has spawned innovations in labor management which reflect the institutional milieu of the respective time. This research focuses on those labor management techniques particular to neoliberalism and the ways in which cultural movements and trends of the neoliberal period are mined and deployed as yet another useful resource in the disciplining of workers. Corporate mindfulness is the favorite labor management technique of the neoliberal period. The formalized packaging of corporate mindfulness began in the late 1970s but was built on a long tradition of attempts to hack the minds and mindsets of workers. Corporate mindfulness reinforces neoliberalism through the corporate individual, the transformation of the self of the corporate individual, and the creation of the corporation as a community and means of social connection for the corporate individual.
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