The Organizational Culture in the Days Post 9/11: A Critical Insight

The Organizational Culture in the Days Post 9/11: A Critical Insight

Maximiliano Emanuel Korstanje (University of Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3473-1.ch023
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In the recent years, terrorism has posed as one of the main threats of the West. In fact, TV programs, books, documentaries, and thousands of published papers have flooded not only the media screen but also the academic events. In spite of this exaggerated attention, little is known on the effects of terrorism in daily life. To be more exact, the effects of terrorism in the working culture. This paper focuses on how the life of lay-worker has been modified after the 9/11, as well as how the organizational culture and labor relations have radicalized in the days post 9/11.
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Doubtless, terrorism has posed as a major threat as well as a great challenge for the US and Europe (Dershowitz 2002; Sloan 2006). As Jean Baudrillard puts it, terrorism not only signified more than a humiliation for the West but also “the mother of all events” (Baudrillard 2013). If terrorism probed something, it was that the urban spaces exhibit fertile grounds for potential attacks. People are more vulnerable in the urban cities or when they travel to work while the mass means of transport are often weaponized against civilian targets. In his book, The Clash of Barbarism, Gilbert Achcar says that terrorism opens the doors for a “narcissist commiseration” which means a sentiment of empathy for the first world victims. The global periphery, which was historically exploited by the center has the opportunity to feel closer to its oppressors (Achcar 2015). What is particularly clear is that victims have no same worth. While the victims of 9/11 were enthralled as “martyrs” thousands of others, located in the Global South, die or agonize day by day without any type of attention (Zizek 2008). Korstanje & Tarlow (2012) studied more than a dozen of plots in horror movies. They hold the thesis that English speaking travelers are marked as “special agents of civilization” who are targeted by evil-doers, monsters even terrorists who hate them. This is particularly interesting since the plots continue a much deeper narrative which was based on the sentiment of exceptionalism that historically characterized by the US. The American ethnocentrism toys with the belief that English speaking nations situate as more educated, more tolerant or even efficient than other cultures. Terrorism reminds not only this (the Anglo supremacy), but why the world, which becomes a dangerous place, should be pacified.

To date, a prolific number of books, studies and work-papers emphasize on the economic effects of terrorism in a macro-level of analysis (Chen & Siems, 2004; Abadie 2006; Benmelech, Berrebi, & Klor, 2010; Abadie & Gardeazabal, 2008; Giroux 2015), whereas less attention is paid to the micro-sociological changes introduced by terrorism in the working conditions. This chapter gathers two different ethnographies conducted in two argentine companies. Centered on the previous studies of Luke Howie in Melbourne, we find interesting and contrasting outcomes which merit to be discussed. While interviewees acknowledge that terrorism is a major threat, they –instead- believe Argentina is far from what specialists dubbed as “The War on Terror”. In this respect, the different interviewed persons held that terrorism is not a problem for them, even he said “this is a problem of the Gringos!”. Lastly, we examine some of the published works that focus on the interplay of terrorism and working conditions to be contrasted to empirical validation. In the global South, i.e. Argentina, workers seem not to be affected by terrorism. Even, they forget that terrorism whipped Buenos Aires city on two occasions. One of the major problems faced by the applied research was the multiplication of quantitative-led publications and information which obscures more than it clarifies. For that reason, we convene to make a qualitative study which straddles “the informational database or multi-variable analysis. In view of this, outcome cannot be universalized and only be strictly comprehended into the fields of the studied organization. It is our intention to provide new insights and methodological discussions revolving around the effects of terrorism in Latin America. In so doing, the theory of emotions and organizational culture occupies a central position. Because of time and space, the chapter does not cover all published works while it focuses on the Marxian tradition and the theories of Luke Howie.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Labor Relations: A field of study which connotes the social ties and relations of workers and capital owners in the productive stage.

Witnessing: A process accelerated by terrorism where the audience become trapped in the culture of terror.

Terrorism: The illegal use of force or coactive violence to create terror or political instability.

War on Terror: An international military campaign that was started by the US and its allies just after 9/11.

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