Business, Management, and Economics

The high-quality academic books, upper-level student texts and journal articles on our Business, Management and Economics list offer fresh perspectives on the economy, the future of work and organisations, and the relationship between business and addressing global social challenges.  

The list is home to a number of series including Organizations and Activism and Feminist Perspectives on Work and Organization, all of which are edited by leading scholars from the field, along with our journals in the area: Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, Work in the Global Economy and Global Political Economy.

Business, Management and Economics

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The COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia drew attention to the extremely poor living conditions of the country’s approximately 2.5 million migrants from South and Southeast Asia working in manufacturing, construction, services, and agriculture. International media reports throughout 2020 and 2021 highlighted the overcrowded, unsanitary, and unsafe accommodations provided by employers, including cramped hostels, stacked containers, and rented apartments. This article addresses how migrant worker accommodation in Malaysia is utilised by the state and by employers as a spatial mechanism of control to regulate migrant labour.

This case study draws on over a hundred in-depth interviews with Nepali migrant workers, recruitment agents, employers, and policy officials in Malaysia. We detail how the Malaysian government’s requirement for migrants to live in employer-provided housing forms part of intensified immigration controls implemented by the federal government. This policy effectively transforms employers into ‘landlords’, bringing migrants’ ‘private space’ under their control, thereby enabling employers’ increased surveillance of their activities. We found that employers utilised the opportunity to discipline their workforces and intensify work regimes. We therefore argue that housing has become a double-layered regulatory tool to deepen labour control among migrant populations, perpetuate a state of temporariness, and reinforce visible boundaries between citizens and non-citizens. In the process, migrants’ living quarters (spaces of social reproduction) have been subsumed into the organisation of production, serving the demands of the low-wage, highly-controlled, political economy of Malaysia.

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Mental health has become a major challenge in late modern societies. This chapter describes the scale of the challenge in the work context. It provides a background of the recent history on how psychological malaise and emotional distress have emerged as a central concern in the labour market. It provides a starting point to understand why the mental vitality and strength of the workforce has a far more psychological- and mental-health-focused character in current professional and non-professional culture than in earlier societies. This chapter concludes that to understand the recently arrived wave of mental health problems and mental fitness concerns among working populations we need to rethink the fundamental assumptions and interrelationships concerning psyche, emotions, work, disability and health. We also need to move away from dominating individualistic mental health frameworks and carefully analyse the role mental health plays in the current labour market and culture.

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Most research on street-level bureaucracy has historically been conducted in countries generally characterised by high levels of administrative capacity, professional bureaucracies, stable rules of law, and in industrialised and often liberal democratic societies. However, most of the world’s street-level bureaucrats work under very different social and institutional conditions. Politicised bureaucracies, low social trust in government, systematic corruption, precarious labour conditions, and limited state capacities are common traits of bureaucracies in developing countries and post-authoritarian regimes. The contributions in this book explore how such institutional conditions affect street-level bureaucracies, public service delivery, policy implementation, and law enforcement. Often, significant gaps appear in the alignment between street-level practices on the one hand and formal rules, guidelines, and policy designs on the other hand. Institutional deficiencies are often left unresolved and subsequently pushed towards the street level, where public servants must deal with them in diverse ways. Thus, citizens are as likely to encounter transit police officers seeking a bribe as they find primary school teachers investing their time and money to provide the best education possible under challenging conditions. Thereby, this book also complements our current understanding of street-level bureaucracy and challenges implicit assumptions about professionalism, state capacity, and trust in government common for advanced democracies.

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This chapter focuses on the transformation of occupational health and the surge of mental health perspectives since the 1960s through three social arenas. First, this chapter analyses how the central paradigm of modern occupational health, work stress research, developed into a dominant perspective structuring wellbeing at work, and what kind of built-in assumptions it produced about psychological wellbeing and human characteristics. The second part of the chapter describes the emergence of psychosocial risks of work and mental health in media by analysing the largest newspaper in the Nordic countries and a widely circulated women’s magazine. It analyses how the problems of the psyche came to the fore in occupational health publicity when the problems of the middle class in working life grew and new challenges began to be identified. The third part summarizes key research findings derived from extensive interview data of occupational health professionals (especially doctors) with long-term work experience. These analyses show how changes in work conditions and occupational structure as well as the liberalization of reflexive psycho-emotional character fuelled the emergence of mental vulnerability in the medical practice.

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Frontline work in weak state institutions is influenced by administrative, political, social, and professional factors that make SLBs face more complex conditions to carry out their jobs. One of the primary sources of complexity and ambiguity for SLBs is their interaction with citizens. Previous studies have contributed to understanding how uncertainty affects SLBs while interacting with citizens. However, the relationship between bureaucratic encounters and frontline work in weak institutional contexts remain understudied. This chapter focuses on bureaucratic encounters in weak institutional contexts and how citizens develop their agency through repeated interactions with SLBs. Drawing on qualitative data on the implementation of a CCT programme in Mexico, the chapter argues that repeated interactions between citizens and SLBs reduce ambiguity and uncertainty. However, paradoxically, this process increases complexity for SLBs because it increases citizens’ capacity to act as agents.

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Most research on street-level bureaucracy has historically been conducted in countries generally characterised by high levels of administrative capacity, professional bureaucracies, stable rules of law, and in industrialised and often liberal democratic societies. However, most of the world’s street-level bureaucrats work under very different social and institutional conditions. Politicised bureaucracies, low social trust in government, systematic corruption, precarious labour conditions, and limited state capacities are common traits of bureaucracies in developing countries and post-authoritarian regimes. The contributions in this book explore how such institutional conditions affect street-level bureaucracies, public service delivery, policy implementation, and law enforcement. Often, significant gaps appear in the alignment between street-level practices on the one hand and formal rules, guidelines, and policy designs on the other hand. Institutional deficiencies are often left unresolved and subsequently pushed towards the street level, where public servants must deal with them in diverse ways. Thus, citizens are as likely to encounter transit police officers seeking a bribe as they find primary school teachers investing their time and money to provide the best education possible under challenging conditions. Thereby, this book also complements our current understanding of street-level bureaucracy and challenges implicit assumptions about professionalism, state capacity, and trust in government common for advanced democracies.

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How do police officers cope, both behaviourally and emotionally, with the double challenge of precarious working conditions and a dangerous social context? And how does this impact the nature of law enforcement and the police’s interactions with citizens? In this chapter, we discuss the case of the municipal police of Morelia, a large city in central Mexico, among the world’s 50 most dangerous cities, and where municipal police officers face shortages in basic materials, receive low salaries, work long shifts, and have limited training and psychological support. Based on original interviews with police officers and complementary document analysis, we demonstrate that such conditions can lead them to move away from dangerous situations, act out aggressively towards citizens, and rely on colleague support and substance abuse to deal with their everyday reality at work. Their response to social and institutional complexities fundamentally changes the face of law enforcement and leaves police officers to fend for their own physical survival and mental health.

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This chapter discusses the core nature of mental vulnerability through three groups of workers of late modern society: knowledge workers, young employees and female employees. They are often seen as problematic groups in studies of work disability related to mental health. First, the illusory autonomy of knowledge workers and the system-based nature of their workload are investigated and discussed. Second, the challenges of mental health and the typical characteristics of vulnerability among young working adults are analysed using extensive interview material. The cultural typology of mental health characters describes the sources and nature of mental vulnerability among them. At the end of the chapter, the role of gender as a watershed of mental vulnerability is analysed. According to the results, not only work conditions but the ways of emotional management vary according to sub-cultures of work. Due to the gendered structure of labour market and group-specific socio-emotional codes, the phenomenon viewed as mental health is quite different between men and women, both in terms of background and manifestation. The chapter illustrates how the foundation of mental vulnerability arises from different material and subjective frameworks, emphasizing its contextual nature.

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Money is central to capitalism and to our many sustainability crises. This book nuances this, by now, commonplace knowledge by arguing that it is not money per se but its architecture – its internal design and governance structures – that is at the root of our variegated civilisational challenges. Yet, history shows, money’s internal architecture can take many forms and, with them, be conducive to different social and economic dynamics. Building on this insight, monetary entrepreneurs – grassroots groups, municipalities and radical crypto-entrepreneurs – are reclaiming, reorganising and remaking money to advance a sustainable future.

Approaching money as a sociotechnical arrangement with infrastructural effects, the book examines past and present monetary initiatives to unfold their architecture and trace the connection between monetary design and the behaviour of the money so designed. It finds three principles along which money is designed and organised – the market, the state and the commons – each shaped by a distinct imaginary of money. It also finds that each organising principle incites particular individual relations towards the collective, resulting in different community dynamics. This has implications for markets’ role in the economy and the health of our democracies. The book concludes that in remaking money, monetary entrepreneurs are opening up new horizons to build new civilisational forms.

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Most research on street-level bureaucracy has historically been conducted in countries generally characterised by high levels of administrative capacity, professional bureaucracies, stable rules of law, and in industrialised and often liberal democratic societies. However, most of the world’s street-level bureaucrats work under very different social and institutional conditions. Politicised bureaucracies, low social trust in government, systematic corruption, precarious labour conditions, and limited state capacities are common traits of bureaucracies in developing countries and post-authoritarian regimes. The contributions in this book explore how such institutional conditions affect street-level bureaucracies, public service delivery, policy implementation, and law enforcement. Often, significant gaps appear in the alignment between street-level practices on the one hand and formal rules, guidelines, and policy designs on the other hand. Institutional deficiencies are often left unresolved and subsequently pushed towards the street level, where public servants must deal with them in diverse ways. Thus, citizens are as likely to encounter transit police officers seeking a bribe as they find primary school teachers investing their time and money to provide the best education possible under challenging conditions. Thereby, this book also complements our current understanding of street-level bureaucracy and challenges implicit assumptions about professionalism, state capacity, and trust in government common for advanced democracies.

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