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Publication - Dr Alice Bryer

    Making Organizations More Inclusive

    The Work of Belonging


    Bryer, A, 2019, ‘Making Organizations More Inclusive: The Work of Belonging’. Organization Studies.


    As corporate discourses of ‘openness’ and ‘inclusion’ become increasingly ubiquitous, an important task for organization studies today is identifying how actors might make their organizations more inclusive. The paper aims to understand why and how practices that often embody the exclusionary aspects of organizations could develop to foster a sense of belonging. Studying alternative organizations, such as cooperatives and social movements, where the members may often be more willing and able to develop such practices, could offer lessons about the possibilities and pitfalls of organizational belonging and inclusion more generally. The paper focuses on discussions of financial targets and budgets, practices that confront the members with tensions between their social aims and the need to survive in a competitive market, and that may enact capacities to work through these and other related difficulties. A case of a Spanish cooperative, analysed using a Latourian anthropological approach, demonstrates two main contributions. First, it builds positively on critical assessments of the pitfalls of corporate constructions of belonging, which seek employee commitment despite persistently exclusionary practices. The case demonstrates how the practical work of belonging can enable organizations to become more inclusive and ‘liveable’. Second, it shows that organizational practices are neither inherently exclusionary, nor intrinsically inclusive. Their role depends on the context and specific socially orientated abilities among the members, which can develop through their interactions with budgets.

    Full details in the University publications repository