Concerning meaning and technology

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Mark Manstrup Knudsen
4. term, Applied Philosophy, Master (Master Programme)
The subject of this master’s thesis is the relatively new phenomenon within organizational thinking and management, which puts a concept of meaning at the center of the organization. A concept of meaning that implies that meaning is something that not only can be found in the workplace, but also encourages its members to find meaning within the organizational context. The specific focus of this thesis can be described as the exploration of, and the attempt of mapping out, what idea of meaning lies behind this new phenomenon. The emphasis is on the approach to meaning as something for management to apply within the organization. It can therefore be characterized as a philosophical investigation with a descriptive agenda. The main concern is thus to explore and gain an understanding of the idea of meaning that lies behind this phenomenon. Within the exploration of this question this thesis also seeks to outline possible implications of this approach for the members of the organization.
It does so from the perspective of philosopher Martin Heidegger, with his essay; The question concerning technology and political thinker and philosopher Hannah Arendt with her work; The Human Condition. The approach of this philosophical investigation is a case study of the management book; Ledetråde – Meningsskabende værdiledelse, functioning as a representation of this trend. In that sense, it is a look into the idea of meaning within this trend, by looking at the context of meaning, within this example of literature.
The main argument of the thesis is that this trend represents an idea of, and an approach to, a concept of meaning that can be described with the phrase meaning-as-a-technique. It argues that meaning is embedded in a context of causality, where it is imagined as something to be caused intentionally within the organizationally framework. The overall idea that emerges as the investigation goes on, is that this implies an understanding of meaning as a substance with different properties. The possible implications of this idea of meaning is outlined as a paradoxical experience of meaninglessness, as meaning fails to behave according to the underlining understanding of it within these organizations.
However, it is also implied in the conclusion of the investigation that the Danish workplace, where a high level of autonomy may occur, conditions may be in place for this approach to meaning to resonate with the members within that specific organization. It is nevertheless not an experience of meaning as intended, it is instead an experience of the phenomenon meaning-as-a-technique.
Publication date3 Jun 2019
ID: 305012169