On the 26th of February, 2019, Professor Gazi Islam gave an invited seminar to the Department of Management and Marketing at the University of Melbourne, entitled “Enchanting Workplaces: The Ambivalence of Workplace Well-Being.” Here is the abstract taken from the event page:
Contemporary work has been increasingly framed as a source of well-being, self-fulfilment and creativity, as “post-bureaucratic” modes of organizing and service-intensive tasks have become paradigmatic ways of thinking of work. Promises of fulfilment, however, take place in an environment of eroding worker protections, precarisation and distributive injustices at work, calling into question the social meanings and functions of well-being discourses. The dissonance caused by contextualizing well-being discourses within precarious worlds of work leads to a theoretical quandary – how to acknowledge and promote more humane ways of working without providing ideological cover for new modes of workplace domination. In this talk, I will describe an ongoing research agenda whose goal has been to explore the ambivalent aspects of workplace well-being, aspects which create both theoretical and methodological tensions. Using examples from previously published work, I describe ongoing attempts to address the limits of this work, both in terms of the theoretical lenses needed for understanding ambivalence and the methodological stakes involved.