Power at Play pp 159-167 | Cite as

Conclusion: Power at Play

  • Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen


In my analysis I have shown the way in which, first of all, a new organizational language has emerged, which articulates play as an important element in modern organization and management. This language did not develop overnight. It has evolved gradually since the mid-1800s but has also undergone significant shifts. From the 1860s on we can observe the development of semantics in the context of competition games in organizations. This was the beginning of company sports. There are no monetary competitions between salespeople and buyers, but experimentation with competitions in the workplaces. This language articulates play as a way for organizations to symbolize and discipline competition as a phenomenon. From 1950 until 1980 a language about training and simulation games in organizations developed. This language makes a distinction between play and games, where play is not acceptable but where games can be tied to organizational objectives. Games are seen as a way for organizations to professionalize their employees’ training for management roles. Finally a language that developed in the 1980s, about play as an organizational power of self-organization, a kind of power of spontaneity, continues today. Play is seen as the core of the organization’s creation of itself as an organization and of the employees’ self-creation, both as people and employees.


Voluntary Organization Collective Agreement Simulation Game Power Communication Modern Organization 
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Copyright information

© Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Management Politics and PhilosophyCopenhagen Business School (CBS)Denmark

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