Can We Organize Courage? Implications from Foucault's Parrhesia

Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organizational Studies, Forthcoming

28 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2012

See all articles by Wim Vandekerckhove

Wim Vandekerckhove

University of Greenwich Business School

Suzan Langenberg

Diversity bvba - Campus gelbergen

Date Written: February 6, 2012

Abstract

Ethics in organizations, raising concerns, and whistleblowing have been previously theorized through Foucault’s work on the power/knowledge bond. However, approaching these issues through the work from Foucault’s third period on parrhesia, or fearless speech remains an underdeveloped route.

This paper contributes to this emerging research stream. Based on Foucault’s work on parrhesia, and the importance of courage for fearless speech to occur, we theorize the possibility of critique within organizations as a moment of disorganizing, which requires a chain of parrhesia where not only the speaker but also the hearer requires courage.

The paper examines the possibility and risks of organizing courage through three illustrations of ethical guidelines, whistleblowing, and open dialogue.

Keywords: parrhesia, whistleblowing, business ethics, courage

JEL Classification: J50, J59, M12, M14

Suggested Citation

Vandekerckhove, Wim and Langenberg, Suzan, Can We Organize Courage? Implications from Foucault's Parrhesia (February 6, 2012). Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organizational Studies, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2005662

Wim Vandekerckhove (Contact Author)

University of Greenwich Business School ( email )

Old Royal Naval College
Park Row, Greenwich
London SE10
United Kingdom

Suzan Langenberg

Diversity bvba - Campus gelbergen ( email )

Gelbergenstraat 50
Hoeleden, 3471
Belgium

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