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Phenomenological approaches to work, life and responsibility

Eric Faÿ (EM‐LYON Business School, Ecully Cedex, France)
Philippe Riot (EM‐LYON Business School, Ecully Cedex, France)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Article publication date: 26 June 2007




This paper serves two purposes. It is an introduction to the theme of this issue of Society and Business Review which is devoted to “Phenomenological approaches to work, life and responsibility” as well as a presentation of the authors' various contributions. The authors of this paper share the sentiment that management sciences and practices may drive us in a way such that the sense of life has been altered and people, contrary to Kant's definition of moral behavior, are treated as means instead of ends. Moreover, starting from a widely‐spread malaise in modern organizations, they argue how phenomenology can provide us with an approach that can be helpful in assessing our present situation as well as getting a renewed perception concerning work and life.


The authors demonstrate the relevance of Husserl's phenomenology in criticizing management techniques for they direct us to objectives that are abstract, calculable, not one's own, and distant. They single out Husserl's concept of epoche for its high relevance with the theme of this issue and its different papers.


The findings suggest Husserl's concept of epoche (suspension) can be considered as the starting point of a process allowing us to firstly take distance with our usual taken for granted assumptions regarding life and work (bracketing) and then to re‐establish a genuine connection with Husserl's “world of life”. In addition, they establish how epoche can be perceived as a hub linking and introducing the work of other researchers comprising this special issue and their various inspiring authors (Koselleck, Levinas, Henry).


By using a phenomenological perspective, this paper brings an original contribution to critical‐management approaches. It can contribute to a social responsibility renewal in the business arena by providing reflexive practitioners with clues that can trigger new and more human practices. Overall, this paper provides one as a human being an opportunity to analyze the causes of one's malaise and identify better ways to live one's life.



Faÿ, E. and Riot, P. (2007), "Phenomenological approaches to work, life and responsibility", Society and Business Review, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 145-152.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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