Organizational Research Methods: Storytelling in Action

David M. Boje

Book being prepared for Routledge, due March 2018

To cite this document: Boje, David M. (2018) "Organizational Resarch Methods: Storytelling In Action", (March 15), URL = <>


RPO3 - Karl Marx and Frederick Engel's Historical Materialism Dialectic

BOJE's ORIGINAL YOUTUBE Hegel and Marx/Engels and what has happened to systems theory since them Youtube 10 minutes

What is Relationality in Marx and in Hegel

What is Procecss in Marx and in Hegel

What is Ontology in Marx and in Hegel

Begin with Karl Marx's (1845) THE GERMAN IDEOLOGY, look at every instance his criticism of Hegel 'system' and the ammendments Marx, makes to it. Marx is critiquing both Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and the Philosophy of Right. Your challenge is to sort out

figure 1 - Marx Relational Process Ontology


SUMMARY: Marx (& Engels) worked out a different Hegelian dialectic, a socio-economic 'organizational systems' approch. Key is the labor process theory of surplus value that monopoly capitalist systems of organization were extracting. In the US, Europe, and other places, there was a historical struggle going on during the industrial and post-industrial eras between Marx's Historical Materialism and the TFW virus (see below). Mary Parker Folleet had opposed it during her day, and took Hegel in a different direction than Marx. Both Marx and Follett believed Hegel had messed up when he foretold that the Prussian state had achieve social and economic Harmony. Marx tossed the spiritual aspects of Hegel, and Follett kept it. Marx focused in on a progress theory of history in which capitalism would be suceeded by socialism, then by communism. It did not happen. Follett, studied Hegel in college and wanted to use it to develop democracy in society (social-political) and use a dialectic of thesis-antithesis-synthesis to achieve harmony by resolving the conflicts between labor unions and big business. She was able to carry it off, locally in Boston, some parts of UK, her approach was swept away by TFW virus.

The TFW virus of monopoly capitalism (Big Business) was a 'command and control' socio-economic system. In our MBA program I used to teach a core course on Labor Process Theory, called MGT 503 from 1996 to 2003, using Harry Braverman's (1974) Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century and some socio-economic systems approaches of Savall - see 4-leaf model, and storytelling organization game, and Transorg systems gameboard. You can find mention of TFW (Taylor, Fayol, Weber) in Braverman:

TAYLOR: "Taylor dealt with the fundamentals of the organization of labor process and of control over it. The later schools ofHugo Miinsterberg, Elton Mayo, and others of this type dealt primarily with the adjustment of the worker to the ongoing production process as that process was designed by the industrial engineer. The successors to Taylor are to be found in engineering and work design, and in top management; the successors to Miinsterberg and Mayo are to be found in personnel departments and schools of industrial psychology and sociology. Work itself is organized according to Taylorian principles, while personnel departments and academics have busied themselves with the selection, training, manipulation, pacification, and adjustment of "manpower" to suit the work processes so organized. Taylorism dominates the world of production; the practitioners of "human relations" and "industrial psychology" are the maintenance crew for the human machinery. If Taylorism does not exist as a separate school today, that is because, apart from the bad odor of the name" (Braverman, 1974: 60, boldness, mine).

FAYOL: "... Henri Fayol, a contemporary ofTaylor, who in his General and Industrial Management attempted a set of principles aimed at securing total enterprise control by way of a systematic approach to administrations" (p. 61)

WEBER: "The chief conclusion of the Mayo school was that the workers' motivations could not be understood on a purely individual basis, and that the key to their behavior lay in the social groups ofthe factory. With this, the study ofthe habituation ofworkers to their work moved from the plane of psychology to that of sociology. The "human relations" approach, first of a series ofbehavioral sociological schools, focused on personnel counseling and on ingratiating or nonirritating styles of "face to face" supervision. But these schools have yielded little to management in the way ofsolid and tangible results. Moreover, the birth of the "human relations" idea coincided with the Depression of the 1930s and the massive wave of working-class revolt that culminated in the unionization of the basic industries of the United States. In the illumination cast by these events, the workplace suddenly appeared not as a system of bureaucratic formal organization on the Weberian model, nor as a system of informal group relations as in the interpretation ofMayo and his followers, but rather as a system of power, of class antagonisms. Industrial psychology and sociology have never recovered from this blow" (p. 100).

Braverman tell sthe stoy of how labor process of extracting surblus value form labor power divided working time from nonworking time, and then took over all teime of the home. The community atrohied, as community separated from the natural environment, and become more dependent upon the market for its amusements in free time. Entertainment and sport became part of the labor process to enlarge surplus value of capital. This happened in fast food, debasing popular taste and resulting in meiocre and vulgare mass maret food. Any innovation was rapidly appropriated into the labor process sytem of socio-economic organizaiton. Family and community that used to perform social functions entered a void of care, as care itself became increasingly institutionalized (Braverman, 1974: 278-9).

DESKILLING OF LABOR BY TFW VIRUS TO LOWER WAGES: Before Taylorism " Given that the higher the worker's skill level, the higher the wages that had to be paid, this process of systematic deskilling by breaking down work tasks into simpler components had the effect, Babbage argued, of cheapening labor" (Foster intro to Braverman, 1974: xvi).

" Taylor's distinctive contribution was to articulate a full-scale managerial imperative for increased job control, to be implemented primarily through deskilling. Hence, within Taylorism, Braverman maintained, "lies a theory which is nothing less than the explicit verbalization ofthe capitalist mode ofproduction" Foster intro to Braverman, 1974: xvii).

Braverman did not use term deskiling, calling it " destruction of craft and the cheapening of the resulting pieces of labor into which it is broken" (p. 137). "The development of a data-processing craft was abortive, however, since along with the computer a new division of labor was introduced and the destruction of the craft greatly hastened. Each aspect of computer operations was graded to a different level of pay frozen into a hierarchy: systems managers, systems analysts, programmers, computer console operators, key punch operators, tape librarians, stock room attendants, etc. It soon became characteristic that entry into the higher jobs was at the higher level of the hierarchy, rather than through an all-around training" (p. 227).

Braverman foresaw that not just factor labor was deskilled, but also clerical, technical, and even management labor (except CEO) was deskilled to pay them less. Look at displacement of skilled faculty, the deskilling by automation (distance educaiton, PowerPoint, digital measures, outcomes assessment, etc.) so that more cheaper labor can be hired, while TFW virus of command and control centralizeds its labor process to extract greater surplus value at the university. Faculty labor has also been reduced to a rather insignificant share of total university labor, as the university installs bigger golf course, shopping mall, hotel, and expands Arrow Head to transform intellectual property of faculty and students into university property rights, then sells it private corporations and angel investors who take it out of the public sphere of knowledge in 'knowledge capitalism' that displaces 'knowledge society'.

Video # 2 on Hegel and Marx/Engels


BOJE TRANSITION FROM Marx to Fayol's HEgelian approach - See YOUTUBE

YOUTUBE" 2nd in series Organizational Research Methods by David Boje. This episode is about differences in Hegel dialectic and Marx/Engels historical materialism method, then develops 4 eras of history
1. Pre-modern when crafts, farms, ranches existed with spiritual
2. Industrial revolution took over and people went into factory system with what is called TFW Virus ->Taylorism, Fayolism, & Weberism
3. Post-Industrial service economy
4. COMPUTER SYSTEM era we are in now, everyone in late modern monopoly capitalism addicted to personal computers, cell phones, etc. And still have TFW Virus - we all in the Matrix --> Take the Blue Pill and stay in your computer addiction, and the story ends. Take the Red Pill and wake up to Marx and Engels historical materialism
NEXT EPISODE - Mary Parker Follett, the Mother of Systems Theory, all but forgotten in the craze for TFW Virus

Figure 2 - 4 Eras of Organizational Systems

Figure 2 - TFW Virus (from Henri Savll's work





Next look to Marx (1888) Das Kapital, Volume 1, Chapter 10, the Working Day. available online for free at Notice how THE WORKING DAY is not the kind of progressive Hegalian answer to alienation by focus on Spirit.

Then sort out what is Marx's critique of Hegel's dialectic, and how they differ. ― 

Fredrick Engels
Dialectics of Nature First Published: in Russian and German in the USSR in 1925,
except for Part Played by Labour, 1896 and Natural Science and the Spirit World, 1898;
Transcribed: by Sally Ryan and 1998/2001;
Notes and Fragments transcribed by Andy Blunden 2006.
Being with Introduction - see his definitions of historical materialism

In Marx’s (1844) Third Manuscript. Karl Marx
Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844

Karl Marx, Eleven Theses on Feuerbach at
Written: by Marx in the Spring of 1845, but slightly edited by Engels;
First Published: As an appendix to Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy in 1888;
Source: Marx/Engels Selected Works, Volume One, p. 13 – 15.
Note that this version differs from the version of Engels’ edition published in MECW Volume 5, pp. 6-8;
Publisher: Progress Publishers, Moscow, USSR, 1969;
Translated: W. Lough from the German;
Transcription/Markup: Zodiac/Brian Baggins;
Copyleft: Marx/Engels Internet Archive ( 1995, 1999, 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons ShareAlike License;
Proofread: by Andy Blunden February 2005.