Schizoid cynicism among fast-food restaurant workers
Sammanfattning: Based on an ethnographic case study, this paper offers a typology of how, and under what circumstances, employees at a fast food-restaurant are cynical. By conducting participant- and non-participant observations and 10 semi-structured interviews, combined with a document analysis, we sought to understand the social realities of employees at Berger. Thus, we have had an interpretive approach to research. The theories used for the study focus on employee cynicism, functional stupidity and psychoanalysis, themes explored by using an abductive approach to methods. It is argued that earlier studies on cynicism have tended to discuss cynicism as a uniform category and assume that employees are either cynical or not. Here, the assumption about cynicism being a “pure” phenomenon, in the sense that it is undisturbed by doubt and uncertainty, is challenged. Drawing on our results, we present the concept 'schizoid cynicism' as a way to understand the intermediate position many employees take towards their employing organization. To clarify, the theoretical concept of ‘schizoid’ derives from psychoanalysis and should not be associated with the concept of schizophrenia in this study. In addition, we believe that the dynamics between being cynical and functionally stupid to a large extent impact the informal ways in which 'schizoid cynicism' occur in contemporary organizational life. We thereby contribute to the research on concepts such as cynicism and functional stupidity, which has mainly previously been researched as a “pure” phenomenon.
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