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Durkheim in the neoliberal organization: taking resistance and solidarity seriously

Courpasson, David ORCID:, Younes, Dima and Reed, Michael ORCID: 2021. Durkheim in the neoliberal organization: taking resistance and solidarity seriously. Organization Theory 2 (1) , pp. 1-24. 10.1177/2631787720982619

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Durkheim’s contributions to organization studies have so far been decidedly marginal, and largely concentrated on culture. In this paper, we draw upon his theory of anomie and solidarity to show how a Durkheimian view of contemporary organizations and work has special relevance today for debates about how workers, particularly middle managers, can reshuffle a capacity to resist neoliberal efforts to profoundly disrupt their working conditions, in particular their autonomy to define what is a job well done. We show how Durkheim’s insights can account for the unexpected rekindling of forms of social solidarity in highly competitive and individualistic organizational settings, through dissident efforts that convey a renewal of a certain work ethos severed by neoliberal managerial policies and practices. Recent studies on resistance confirm Durkheim’s view that forms of collective activity, resembling supposedly ‘old’ mechanisms of former days, continue to exist and develop in contemporary societies and organizations, in response to pressure to put people in situations of inter-individual competition that disrupts social relationships.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 2631-7877
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 February 2021
Date of Acceptance: 17 November 2020
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 19:20

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