Management, Society and New Forms of Work

The details
Essex Business School
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
11 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

Changes in technology, society and the economy have important implications for management,
organization and work. Due to the theoretical lenses employed by management theorists, however, these implications are often not immediately appreciated. This module will examine the current changes happening in the world of work in light of contemporary social theory. Particular attention will be paid to the wide-ranging socio-economic changes variously referred to in terms of the 'knowledge economy.' 'post-industrial society.' 'post-Fordism' or the 'new economy'. What all of these formulations share is an increased emphasis on 'knowledge' and 'communication' as the basis of organization, work, management and competitive advantage.

This shift of value production away from traditional concerns with capital, land and labor, toward more 'immaterial' resources such as knowledge, renders many of the old techniques and methods of management and work organization redundant. New forms of accounting for intangibles are necessary, as are new methods of control and supervision in more distributed forms of organization and work. This module will focus on the emerging realities of management, organization and work within this new economy. Rather than a sanitized vision of the knowledge-intensive firm where everyone is equal, empowered, highly educated and self-actualizing in autonomous, networked organizations, this reality is often characterized by intrusive forms of managerial control, intensified surveillance, routinization and Taylorism, an increasing precariousness of employment and career, and a retrenchment in the gendered division of labor. Indeed, for many the engines of the 'new' economy are not knowledge and brainwork, but the high-volume, low-cost sweatshops found both in developing countries and in the cities of the global North.

By focusing upon the wider context within which these organizational and management challenges are arising, this module will prepare students for the new realities of work and management by paying attention to the full range of developments in organization. This includes so-called 'leading edge' phenomena such as distributed, networked organizations; new forms of work including management consultancy, symbolic analysis and affective labor; new forms of exchange like Open Source software and Napster; and new forms of resistance to socio-economic change including neo-Luddism, culture-jamming, alternative media, anti-globalization and popular movements against precarious labor. It also includes more conventional forms of organization, however, including sweatshops, fast food, retail, call centres, mining and agriculture.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:
* To critically understand contemporary changes in work, organization with particular reference to new technologies.
* To situate these changes in the context of wider societal and political-economic changes.
* To provide a theoretical framework for analyzing and critiquing these changes and to understand their implications for control and resistance in contemporary management and the labor process.
* To introduce a range of empirical examples of new organizational forms.

* Understand the dimensions of contemporary circuits of production and consumption.
* To be able to situate knowledge work and affective labor within these wider circuits.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:
* Understand the implications of changes in technology, society and the economy for management, work and organization.
* Have an appreciation of the ways in which new forms of labor and organization both shape and are shaped by these wider changes.

Skills for your professional life (Transferable Skills)

1. Written Communication
2. Oral Communication
3. Research Skills
4. Critical Thinking
5. Teamwork-Collaboration
6. Digital and Technical Fluency
7. Innovation and Curiosity

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

This module is normally delivered over 10 weeks in the spring term. There will be a weekly two-hour lecture session. In academic year 2020-2021 the delivery is likely to be different and involve online learning.


  • Moore, Phoebe; Robinson, Andrew. (2016-12) 'The quantified self: What counts in the neoliberal workplace', in New Media & Society. vol. 18 (11) , pp.2774-2792
  • Gregg, Melissa. (2011) Work's intimacy, Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Rossiter, N. (2015-01-01) 'Coded Vanilla: Logistical Media and the Determination of Action', in South Atlantic Quarterly. vol. 114 (1) , pp.135-152
  • Sarah Mason. (2018-11-20) 'High score, low pay: why the gig economy loves gamification', in Guardian.
  • Tiziana Terranova. (2000-01-06) 'Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy', in Social Text: Duke University Press. vol. 18 (2) , pp.33-58
  • McRobbie, Angela. (2015) Be creative: making a living in the new culture industries, Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Dyer-Witheford, Nick; De Peuter, Greig. (c2009) Games of empire: global capitalism and video games, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. vol. 29
  • Hardt, Michael; Negri, Antonio. (2000) Empire, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
  • (6) Living In A Bubble: Credit, Debt & Crisis. vol. 2
  • Virno, Paolo; Hardt, Michael. (c1996) Radical thought in Italy: a potential politics, Minneapolis, Minn: University of Minnesota Press. vol. v. 7

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   GROUP PRESENTATION     25% 
Coursework   ASSIGNMENT     75% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Stevphen Shukaitis, email:
Dr Stevphen Shukaitis, Dr Aylin Kunter



External examiner

Prof Simon Lilley
University of Leicester
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Business School

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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