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The TFW Virus: Ideology and Global Risks

The Emerald Handbook of Management and Organization Inquiry

ISBN: 978-1-78714-552-8, eISBN: 978-1-78714-551-1

Publication date: 6 June 2019


This chapter addresses the “Taylorism–Fayolism–Weberism (TFW) virus,” a metaphor developed to highlight how organizational features recommended by each of these three management theorists produce dysfunctions that create unintended hidden costs that adversely impact organizations and their employees. The virus leads to an ideology where cost cutting is seen as the best means to improve an organization’s performance. We explore the problematic features of the TFW virus: hyperspecialization, separation of work design from work execution, and depersonalized job descriptions designed for workers who are falsely assumed to be lazy. We then address how these organizational features are related to micro dysfunctions and hidden costs (e.g., poor work organization) that accumulate into macro-level dysfunctions and costs that form the features of the risk society envisioned by Ullrich Beck (1992). These dysfunctions collectively threaten human and planetary existence. Next, we describe how the socioeconomic approach to management (SEAM) can address the TFW virus in ways that manage and remediate micro, macro, and planetary risks that emerge from a globalized enterprise. We conclude by offering a hopeful agenda for research on how to use SEAM to more effectively manage the emerging micro and macro dysfunctions and impacts of the world risk society.



Gephart, R.P. and Savall, H. (2019), "The TFW Virus: Ideology and Global Risks", Boje, D.M. and Sanchez, M. (Ed.) The Emerald Handbook of Management and Organization Inquiry, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 263-273.



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