In this lightning talk, we will present some proposals regarding the potential usefulness of fiction as a distinctively critical research approach in work and organizational (W-O) psychology. Specifically, we aim to contribute to current critical debates around neoliberal ideology in W-O psychology by proposing a method to debunk (i.e., expose the hollowness of) some of the ubiquitous constructs of the W-O psychology object of research. Hence, we argue that current critical psychologists’ scrutiny of neoliberal ideology in W-O psychology is a signal of the regressivity of W-O research programs and themes of research (Lakatos, 1976). With this idea in mind, we present the epistemological and pragmatical assumptions for the use of fiction (and linked thematic analysis) as a method to debunk the “inflated” W-O constructs. With respect to the epistemological assumption, we will present the potential of the use of literary fiction in W-O psychology research arguing that novels due to their epistemological freedom, their interdisciplinary nature, and freer language, can offer a richer lens through which we can explore complex W-O psychology dynamics and phenomena. With respect to the pragmatic assumption, then, narrative texts can be a fictional ambience to verify theoretical assumptions; thus, work and organizational psychologists can refer to fictional narratives to explore the meanings of their theories and models through the analyses of texts as if they were data collected by surveys (Phillips, 1996; Beyes et al., 2019). Ultimately, we will carry out these assumptions by taking into account one literary example from the realm of the Japanese proletarian literature (Hoston, 10986), namely, Hiroko Oyamada’s The Factory (2013) to shed light on the very meanings of work. Drawing on our analysis, we will present a novel conceptualization on two over-inflated objects of study in W-O psychology, namely, work engagement and job performance, and the overestimated topic of job crafting behavior. In particular, our analysis will present the contradictory and dilemmatic nature of these phenomena taken into account the (neoliberal) subject at work. That is, literary stories and literary environments will offer indications to orient the conceptualization of these objects of study for what they are and could be independently of well-established mainstream theories. For example, Oyamada’s novel is an attempt at denouncing the wish for work engagement as a tool of the modern capitalistic work environment (i.e., neoliberal machine) for performative (powerless) working class. These will offer the occasion to, on the one side, remark the regressivity of mainstream W-O psychology, and, on the other side, discuss some implications and prospects of the use of literary fiction for W-O research wishing to value people and work.

The use of fiction as a distinctively critical research approach to debunk work and organizational psychology constructs: initial thoughts

Francesco Tommasi;
2022

Abstract

In this lightning talk, we will present some proposals regarding the potential usefulness of fiction as a distinctively critical research approach in work and organizational (W-O) psychology. Specifically, we aim to contribute to current critical debates around neoliberal ideology in W-O psychology by proposing a method to debunk (i.e., expose the hollowness of) some of the ubiquitous constructs of the W-O psychology object of research. Hence, we argue that current critical psychologists’ scrutiny of neoliberal ideology in W-O psychology is a signal of the regressivity of W-O research programs and themes of research (Lakatos, 1976). With this idea in mind, we present the epistemological and pragmatical assumptions for the use of fiction (and linked thematic analysis) as a method to debunk the “inflated” W-O constructs. With respect to the epistemological assumption, we will present the potential of the use of literary fiction in W-O psychology research arguing that novels due to their epistemological freedom, their interdisciplinary nature, and freer language, can offer a richer lens through which we can explore complex W-O psychology dynamics and phenomena. With respect to the pragmatic assumption, then, narrative texts can be a fictional ambience to verify theoretical assumptions; thus, work and organizational psychologists can refer to fictional narratives to explore the meanings of their theories and models through the analyses of texts as if they were data collected by surveys (Phillips, 1996; Beyes et al., 2019). Ultimately, we will carry out these assumptions by taking into account one literary example from the realm of the Japanese proletarian literature (Hoston, 10986), namely, Hiroko Oyamada’s The Factory (2013) to shed light on the very meanings of work. Drawing on our analysis, we will present a novel conceptualization on two over-inflated objects of study in W-O psychology, namely, work engagement and job performance, and the overestimated topic of job crafting behavior. In particular, our analysis will present the contradictory and dilemmatic nature of these phenomena taken into account the (neoliberal) subject at work. That is, literary stories and literary environments will offer indications to orient the conceptualization of these objects of study for what they are and could be independently of well-established mainstream theories. For example, Oyamada’s novel is an attempt at denouncing the wish for work engagement as a tool of the modern capitalistic work environment (i.e., neoliberal machine) for performative (powerless) working class. These will offer the occasion to, on the one side, remark the regressivity of mainstream W-O psychology, and, on the other side, discuss some implications and prospects of the use of literary fiction for W-O research wishing to value people and work.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1074506
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