Reflections on Metaphor and Identity in the Cyber-Corporation Article First Online: 08 January 2009 Received: 19 January 2008 Accepted: 22 December 2008 DOI:
Cite this article as: Rowland, W. J Bus Ethics (2009) 90: 15. doi:10.1007/s10551-008-0023-7 Abstract
This essay attempts to establish an alternative and more accurate way of thinking about the modern business corporation, its role in society, and its frequently sociopathic behavior. It proposes that corporations as they currently exist are a product of rationalist, positivist thought of the nineteenth century, and have in recent decades emerged from their increasingly complex conditions of existence into autonomous, self-regulating entities that can best be described as cyber-corporations or cybercorps. The cybercorp, as an emergent being, is capable of acting on the (human) subsystems from which it has emerged, determining their behavior. Human individuality, and in particular individual ethical sensibility, is sacrificed to the organizational culture of the cybercorp in a way that is analogous to the life-experience of ants in a colony. The pertinent organizational culture and its values are hegemonic and can be effectively challenged only if their source in the cybercorp is clearly recognized.
Keywords collective beings corporations and emergence corporations and identity corporations and rationalism cybercorp cyber-corporation enterprise culture organizational culture References
Bauman, Z. 1998.
Work, Consumerism and the New Poor
(Buckingham: Open University Press).
Beck, U. 1992.
Caranfa, A.: 1978,
Further Thoughts on Machiavelli: A Critique of Strauss’ Machiavelli (University Press of America, New York), p. 48.
P. Clayton, 2004.
Mind and Emergence: From Quantum to Consciousness
(New York, Oxford University Press).
J. S. Coleman 1982.
The Asymmetrical Society
(Syracuse, Syracuse University Press).
Dale, E.: 1960,
The Great Organizers (McGraw-Hill, New York), p. 185.
Doyle Farmer, J. and A. A. Belin: 1990, ‹Artificial Life: The Coming Evolution’, in
Proceedings in Celebration of Murray Gell-Man’s 60th Birthday (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge).
French, P. A.: 1979, ‹The Corporation as a Moral Person’,
American Philosophical Quarterly
E. Fromm, 1950.
Psychoanalysis and Religion
(New York, Bantam Books).
du Gay, P.: 1996, ‹Governing Organizational Life’, in
Consumption and Identity at Work (Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks).
Gioia, D.: 1992, “Pinto Fires and Personal Ethics: A Script Analysis of Missed Opportunities,” Journal of Business Ethics, 11(5/6), 372–382.
Grossberg, L.: 1997, ‹It’s a Sin: Politics, Postmodernity and the Popular’, in
Dancing in Spite of Myself: Essays on Popular Culture (Duke University Press, Durham), pp. 191–252.
Hall, S.: 1988, ‹The Toad in the Garden: Thatcherism Among the Theorists’, in C. Nelson and L. Grossberg (eds.),
Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (University of Illinois Press, Urbana), pp. 35–56.
Hamper, B.: 1991, Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line (Warner Books, New York).
P. Hancock and M. Tyler, 2001.
Work, Postmodernism and Organization: a Critical Introduction
(London, SAGE Publications).
N. K. Hayles, 1999.
How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics
. (Chicago, University of Chicago Press).
Hodgson, B. (ed.): 2004,
The Invisible Hand and the Common Good (Springer, New York).
Hölldobler, B. and Wilson, E. O.: 1995, Journey to the Ants (Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, Cambridge).
N. Kennedy, 1989.
The Industrialization of Intelligence.
New York: Unwin Hyman.
Lux, K.: 1990, Adam Smith’s Mistake: How a Moral Philosopher Invented Economics and Ended Morality (Shambala, London)
Macpherson, C. B.: 1985, The Rise and Fall of Economic Justice (OUP, Oxford)
Mansfield, H. C.: 1996, Machiavelli’s Virtue (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago).
H. Marcuse, 1964.
(New York, Beacon Books).
Mayer, C. J.: 1990, ‹Personalizing the Impersonal: Corporations and the Bill of Rights’, The Hastings Law Journal, 41, 577–667.
Melman, S.: 1987,
Profits Without Production (University of Philadelphia Press, Philadelphia).
G. Minati and E. Pessa, 2006.
(New York, Springer).
P. Mirowski, 2002.
Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science.
(Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
L. E. Mitchell, 1995. “Cooperation and Constraint in the Modern Corporation: An Inquiry into the Causes of Corporate Immorality.” (Texas Law Review, 73, 477–538).
D. F. Noble, 1977.
America by Design: Science, Technology and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism
(New York, Oxford University Press).
Peterson, G. R.: 2006, ‹Species of Emergence’,
CrossRef Google Scholar
Polanyi, K.: 1947,
The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time (Beacon Press, Boston).
Reed, M.: 1987, ‹In Praise of Duality and Dualism: Rethinking Agency and Structure in Organizational Analysis’, Organizational Studies 18(1), 21–42.
CrossRef Google Scholar
M. Reed, 1996. “Organizational Theorizing: A Historically Contested Terrain,” in S. R. Clegg, C. Hardy and W.R. Nord (eds.),
Handbook of Organizational Studies
W. Rowland, 2005.
Greed, Inc.: Why Corporations Rule Our World
. (New York, Arcade Publishing).
Strauss, L.: 1958,
Thoughts on Machiavelli (The Free Press, Glencoe, IL), Chap. 1.
C. Taylor, 1989.
Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity.
(Cambridge, Harvard University Press).
The Malaise of Modernity
J. Tomkins, B. Victor and R. Adler, 1992. “Psycholegal Aspects of Organizational Behavior: Assessing and Controlling Risk,” in D. K. Kagehiro and W. S. Laufer (eds.)
Handbook of Psychology and Law,
pp. 523–541 (New York, Springer-Verlag).
W. A. Weisskopf, 1971.
Alienation and Economics
(New York, Dell Publishing).
Willmott, H.: 1998, ‹Re-Cognizing the Other: Reflections on a “New Sensibility” in Social and Organizational Studies’, in R. Chia (ed.),
In the Realm of Organization: Essays for Robert Cooper
Google Scholar Copyright information
© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009