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Despotism on DemandHow Power Operates in the Flexible Workplace$
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Alex J. Wood

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748875

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748875.001.0001

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Internal States in the U.S.

Internal States in the U.S.

(p.52) 2 Internal States in the U.S.
Despotism on Demand

Alex J. Wood

Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes internal states in the United States, focusing on ConflictCo. Here, workplace institutions were found to do little to rationalize discipline or constrain its arbitrary application by managers. The chapter demonstrates that managers at ConflictCo typically gained compliance through threats and punishments, such as termination of employment and disciplinary action. However, managers' ability to secure control in this way was identified as being challenged by a union-backed worker association. The legal and media campaign waged by the union and the worker association successfully curbed the ability of managers to impose blatant despotism. The chapter then investigates the operation of normative control at ConflictCo, showing how in this workplace a heavy emphasis was placed on propaganda and rituals to try to legitimize control. These normative controls were found to be dysfunctional in that they actually legitimized resistance.

Keywords:   internal states, United States, ConflictCo, workplace institutions, workplace control, employment termination, disciplinary action, worker association, despotism

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