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The strange case of “Ugo Fantozzi robot”: when comics and Umberto Eco meet the organization

Labour&welfare Lunch Seminar
8 February 2018, h. 12.30

Speaker: Luca Carollo (University of Milan)
Discussant: Simone Pulcher (University of Milan)

SPS Seminar Room (Room 215, II Floor,  Passione side)
Dipartimento di Scienze sociali e politiche
Via Conservatorio 7, Milano

This article examines a graphic novel created by the management of an Italian banking company and periodically spread via the company intranet as part of a training initiative directed to several thousands of employees working at the branch level. Theoretically, it draws on three main streams of literature: that on HRM systems as meaning-creating devices to govern the employment relationship; that on the ever more tight relation between popular culture and organizations; and the growing stream of visual organizational research. In addition, it elaborates on Eco’s semiotic theory to decipher the ‘mystery’ represented by the mostly negative reactions of employees and unions to the managerial initiative. On the basis of the available empirical material, semiological guerrilla warfare (Eco, 1984) is advanced as a collective strategy to resist organizations’ internal mass communications. In the final part of the article, contributions, limitations and avenues for future research are discussed in light of the proposed theoretical and analytical framework.

The Labor & Welfare Lunch Seminars are a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas devised by a group of post-doctoral fellows from the Department of Social and Political Sciences where young researchers dealing with issues related to the labor market, labor and welfare policies and industrial relations can present and discuss their work.

12 gennaio 2018
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