Desktop version

Home arrow Management arrow Management Education: Fragments of an Emancipatory Theory

The Principles of Ideal Speech

It remains enormously essential for emancipatory education that those seeking emancipation participate in the educational process with an increasingly critical awareness of their role as subjects of a “domination^to^emancipation” transformation. If educators become drawn into emancipatory teaching processes as somewhat ambiguous teachers wedged between their potentials for humanisation and partly still being influenced by those cementing domination, they might embody ambiguities imposed onto them by the forces of domination which may in turn aid the appearance but not the substance of emancipation as they merely imagine they have reached truly emancipatory education. They might still be trapped in using knowledge without reflection or, as Whitehead once put it, “pedants act on knowledge without imagination”.6

Conflicting “domination versus emancipation” dualities may even hinder the rise of a critical awareness on training regimes, establishing a teaching climate that leads to asphyxiation inside bureaucratic-managerial regimes that undermine emancipatory education. If those who seek emancipation do not become aware of the many hazards during the course of emancipatory educational processes, they may—consciously or unconsciously—still participate in educational processes with a spirit more akin to domination than to emancipation. They might seek a rather weakened form of crypto- or micro-emancipation as a means of a reformist social-democratic appeasement of capitalism, domination, and managerial regimes rather than as a road to true emancipation.7

Emancipatory educators truly embody a genuine humanisation and authentic drives towards emancipation. Yet, some may face difficulties when conducting critical emancipatory education. These complications can even be greater for emancipatory educators who—with their best of intentions—try to carry out their educational projects with students “despite” the administrative objectives from their superior managers and institutions.8 Reformist attempts to achieve micro-emancipation may be equivalent to carrying out emancipatory education without students. This can occur because students may still be drawn into educational processes that rely on the same methods and procedures used in authoritarian management training and lock into the same goals put forward by Managerialism, for example, better management.9 Overall, critical emancipatory dialogue in the form of mutual and equal recognition linked to communicative action and ideal speech with students remains a crucial necessity for every authentic form of emancipatory education. It is this dialogue that remains underwritten by “all” four key principles of ideal speech:10

Together, these four principles make up ideal speech that is inextricably linked to emancipatory education and consequently humanisation. In sharp contrast, one can hardly ever expect this form of critical emancipatory dialogue from management training. What one can expect, however, is deceit, ideology, and domination in order to achieve some sort of false but ultimately faked legitimacy. One can also expect force— exams, testable knowledge, tight regulations, key learning objectives, and so on—in order to repress the human will to emancipation. This often comes along with rafts of mediocre incentives drawn from the textbooks of behaviourist Managerialism.11 But despite the best efforts of Managerialism and its adjacent ideologies (e.g. neo-liberalism, survival of the fittest, reward for hard work), sooner or later true emancipatory education will initiate a courageous dialogue with students using the critical emancipatory principles found in ideal speech. Emancipatory education based on ideal speech can never fear students, their expression, and their effective participation in the educational process. It must remain accountable to them, must speak freely, and remain embedded in “all” four principles of ideal speech (Table 7.1). It must also remain honest to them: honest about achievements, mistakes, miscalculations, difficulties, and the telos of emancipation from domination.

The earlier the dialogues in the form of ideal speech begin, the more truly and perhaps even successful will the movement towards emancipation be. The ideal speech dialogue remains a critical emancipatory necessity that corresponds to other critical emancipatory needs of people in order to be treated as full human beings rather than as human resources— the base of management training. It also morally adheres to Kant’s “means-ends” categorical imperative of treating people always as an “end” and never as a “means”—such as a human resource or an object to be filled up with managerial knowledge. People asphyxiated in management


Key principle of ideal speech









Table 7.1 The four principles of ideal speech training and managerial regimes are designed to never be truly human as they are confined to forms of communicative constraints and domination. They are essentially treated as non-communicative creatures, as “clean slates” to be filled up with managerial knowledge like an empty container—not a human being. Impeding free human communication means reducing people to the status of “things”, chattels, assets, or human resources. This remains the job of those cementing domination under the ideological heading of management training.

Emphasising on emancipatory education always means defending humanity against domination. Translated into educational praxis, this implies a praxis that might be divided into a “prior” educational stage of critical reflection (mutual and equal recognition) and a “subsequent” stage of emancipatory action with both being linked through the communicative project of ideal speech. Both are not segregated projects as emancipatory action and critical reflection occur simultaneously under the umbrella of ideal speech. A critical analysis of reality may, however, reveal that a particular form of emancipatory action is impossible or inappropriate at a specific time. Those who—through critical reflection— perceive such an unfeasibility or inappropriateness of a particular form of educational action cannot be accused of simple “inaction” as long as valid reasons for such a temporary move are put forward and accepted under the principles of ideal speech (Table 7.1). In such a case, the educational action should be postponed or substituted accordingly. In itself such critical reflections on actions are also already actions—communicative actions.

Attempts by an emancipatory “teacher-student” unity to understand a cognisable object are never exhausted in understanding such an object. This is because educational actions always extend to other “students- teacher” units in such a way that cognisable objects mediate their capacity for wider understanding. The same is true of any ideal speech situation and ultimately emancipation. This also means that those seeking emancipation remain subjects of emancipatory action. The reality of managerial regimes can serve as a medium for ideal speech of both aforementioned groups. In the theory of ideal speech, one can never really speak of “an actor” or simply of “actors” but rather of “inter-communication” and “communicative actors”. Emancipatory communication can never be separated from ideal speech.

The principles of ideal speech (Table 7.1) might, at first glance, appear to imply some sort of division, dichotomy, or split of emancipatory forces, but in fact, it signifies exactly the opposite, namely an intimate “communication^ action” link that indicates a dialectical unity. Apart from the “communication^action” unity that signifies emancipatory education, there can never be a sharp dichotomy between trainers and organisers as found in management training that sets up “people versus students”, “trainers versus students”, and “institutions versus students”. All this replicates domination as found in managerial regimes and management training. A denial of the “communication^action” unity in emancipatory processes and the avoidance of ideal speech—often under the pretext of organising both of them—can strengthen the antiemancipatory powers of management training. Through that, management training supports an ideologically induced “fear of communicative freedom”.

This sort of management training is not just born out of a desire to dominate but also results from a lack of commitment to students who are already viewed as passive human resources trained to function like machine cogs inside the managerial apparatus. It remains caught in the ideology of Managerialism that links the managerial apparatus to management training. As a consequence, if—from the outset—students are viewed by management trainers, under the ideological imperatives of Managerialism, as non-trustworthy, there are simply no reasons for emancipatory education and it is not considered nor carried out. Instead, management training is conducted “for” students but even more so for managerial trainers who legitimise their existence through the managerial-i deological apparatus. In its final consequence, this represents the complete self-negation of education.

Unlike management training that negates education linked to ideal speech and humanisation, emancipatory education is made neither “by” trainers nor “for” students. Instead, when linked to ideal speech, it demands that both are acting together in unity and with shared aims. This emancipatory solidarity is born only when critical emancipatory educators engage in educational processes through courageous encounters with students. On the downside, not all people—educators and students—might have enough courage for a serious encounter with the demands set forth by the principles of ideal speech (Table 7.1). Suffocated by the powers of management training, they might tend to treat others as mere objects of the training process. Instead of nurturing education as a life process, they will kill off inquisitiveness and curiosity. Instead of searching for life in educational processes, they will flee from life seeking refuge in the stiffness and rigidity of management training programmes. This process creates and re-creates even more of those who cement domination and carry the ideological characteristics of Managerialism.

Still, some may think that the critical project of emancipatory education under the guidance of ideal speech and with critical engagement with the managerial world to not just understand but also transform the managerial world away from domination and towards emancipation is rather narve and an overtly idealistic project. This may be the case but as long as human beings have existed, people have always moved beyond Kant’s “what is” towards developing concepts of “what ought to be”.12 Above that, there is nothing more mature and real than people critically engaging “with” the managerial world. Quite often these are people who, engaged with others, are working towards ending domination. Authentic critical emancipation attempts to transform the reality of managerial regimes that produce dehumanising states of affairs inside and outside of work as manifested in relentless consumerism to entice us

to buy things we do not need with money we do not have to impress people we do not even like.

Those whose interests are served by this process can never conduct emancipatory education and ideal speech. They can never transform domination towards Kant’s “Kingdom of Ends” so that “a better world is possible”.13 This becomes consequential for any critical emancipatory education. It also means that educators must embody it through ideal speech. In the “educator^student” unit both grow together and instead of simply being self-appointed, they introduce and authenticate communicative praxis.

Yet, there are many who are bound to a mechanistic view. They have been rendered incapable of perceiving concrete situations of domination.

Their consciousness is to dominate rather than to “be with” others. In turn, domination conditions their authoritarian attitudes and their managerial ways of dealing with others. Some even tend to think that managerial reality can be improved—a quantitative rather than qualitative shift—as found, for example, in the hallucination of “microemancipation” prevalent in Critical Management Studies (CMS).14 The ideology behind CMS is to create better management as a soft version of domination rather than to emancipate people from domination. It assumes such an ability of management rather mechanistically but always without ever analysing the ideological component of Managerialism and the economic imperatives of managerial capitalism. Unlike CMS, critical emancipatory management education will not follow a Mickey Mouse version of critical management education.15

Managerial ideology does not pose a problem for CMS. Instead of emancipatory action, CMS support a system-stabilising critique from “within” the managerial apparatus.16 As an inevitable consequence, CMS develop a consciousness that is a bit less false. By doing so, it prevents emancipation in favour of a management affirming critique that helps management to be better management and domination to be better domination. It creates better management training programmes without ever moving towards emancipatory education.

For CMS, historical reality—which is human—does not exist; there are only the given facts of management. The brutality of early factory management, for example, is hardly conceptualised by CMS. But unlike the historic hallucinogenic illusions of CMS, there cannot be history without human beings and this is despite CMS’ belief in managerial bet- terment—a social-democratic appeasement of capitalism. CMS originates from a slightly more enlightened take on management. Once human beings have been excluded from historical processes and replaced by pure and better management, the dialectics of history made by people vanishes into thin air. With that CMS and standard management training deny people their “historic” right to participate in history as historyshaping subjects. The ideological reframing makes people become dominated. As a consequence, when students seek to supersede ideologically infused conditions as ahistorical objects of management by regaining the conscious status of being historical subjects, they move towards the objectives of true emancipation. This requires them to establish ideal speech including critical reflections upon the reality of managerial regimes and management training.

It might remain thoroughly hallucinogenic to assume that mere reflection on domination as found in management training will bring about a humanisation of education. Discovering the status of human beings as mere objects in these structures, as automatism falsely suggests, will not lead to becoming emancipatory subjects. While this realisation in itself can never result from the perception that people have become emancipatory subjects, it does mean however, that such recognition might be the first of manysteps towards emancipation. During the “domination^emancipation” move from management training to emancipatory education people might start to realise that they are “subjects in the making” or in “becoming” as philosopher Hegel would have said. And it is this becoming that might lead people to secure their new status as conscious subjects rather than objects of a management training programme.

On the downside however, it can be a dangerous and ultimately false premise to believe that pure activism—in contrast to ideal speech—will be able to construct the road towards emancipation. Students will only be truly critical if they can reflect on the plethora of real-life praxis. This means that ideal speech must encompass critical reflections capable of progressively organising thinking as an ascending move towards emancipation. This might mean moving from a managerially infused naive concept of knowledge about the realities of management and Managerialism to a critical emancipatory level of awareness at which students are enabled to sense and eventually realise the true causes of managerial reality that lurk behind the ideological fog of Managerialism. When trainers deny these rights, they damage students as well as their capacity to think critically. Emancipatory educators can never think without students nor “for” students.

On the other hand, the dominant elites of managerial regimes (top management, CEOs, business leaders, etc.), the crafty engineers of the ideology of Managerialism, and the inventors of management training programmes almost by definition “have to”—and actually do—think without students. Historically, this might be seen as somewhat of a path dependency.17 In management, this dependency may have been instigated by management writers such as, for example, Frederic Taylor, Henri Fayol, Henry Ford, and the likes. Following the logic of management, the elites do the thinking “without” or—alternatively—“for” students, with all the pathologies that come with it. Management trainers can never permit themselves the extravagance to think “with” students. They think “for” them in order to invent more assumptions about them and to dominate them more efficiently when setting up management training programmes, when inventing e-learning modules, when dreaming up management textbooks, and when fitting students into these top-down programmes. Consequently, any pretended crypto-dialogical behaviour displayed by the ideological engineers of management training programmes as well as the pretended “open” communication during such programmes can never be reflective of ideal speech. It is simply knowledge transfer between managerial training elites and the “to be trained” students. This transfer is organised as

  • • depositing rigid managerial knowledge,
  • • presenting the latest and most fashionable managerial buzzwords,
  • • introducing so-called key management theorists (Taylor, Fayol, Porter, etc.), and
  • • memorising a few management concepts (e.g. SWAT).

The content of these processes is intended to reinforce the domesticating influence and to convert students into ideological carriers of Managerialism. With this thought-limiting setup in place, the dominant elites of management training have, so far, failed to even pretend to their students that they are thinking “with” them—rather than “for” them. Perhaps, this is because especially full-fee-paying students—who often enter management training with an expectation to “receive” something in turn for their money—take on a customer attitude that is linked to the overall belief system of management. The reality of “buying” training, skilfully linked to the ideology of “everything is for sale”, constitutes the sole raison d’etre for the existence of management training programmes of business schools and the like.18 Hence, for management training programmes at least one core issue remains—that they can never achieve the following:

If they were to think “with” students, many contradictions capable of damaging the ideology of Managerialism would emerge and this could—at least potentially—lead students to overcome the managerial ideology

so carefully crafted and infused into management training programmes.

Managerialism and management training might no longer be able to dominate students.19 From the much acclaimed “value-free” standpoint of the dominators of management training in virtually any historical epoch—from simple factory administration of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to management of the twentieth century and to more refined ideological concepts such as Managerialism in the twenty-first century—thinking in terms of training has always presupposed the noncritical thinking of students. From the standpoint of the ruling managerial and business “Power Elite”20 inside as well as outside the managerial orbit, education, and in fact even more so critical emancipatory education, has to be avoided. Hence, education—now reduced to training—is to be reduced to a functional auxiliary to capitalism. As a consequence, training and with it management training is designed to increase the use value (functioning) and the exchange value (higher wages) of graduates from management schools. For this reason, it will not be education in critical thinking. Instead, students receive some sort of basic, functional, and often vocational training useful to managerial regimes and capitalism. The hidden transcript21 of this is that they should “Learn to Labour”22 to make sure that “working class kids get working class jobs”.23 As a consequence, warnings against educating the lower class are as old as the sociologically invented idea of “social” (upper-, middle-, and lower classes) as well as economic classes (workers versus capital).

For this reason, many have raised objections against education per se and even more so against critical education. These warnings are to be found in virtually every country and at virtually any time. They often trail the following pattern: however gracious, at least in theory, the project of mass education might appear, giving education to the labouring and lower management classes as well as to the poor might be hurtful to the morals we have crafted so carefully and infused into them, for example, hard work, be on time, do as told, and follow management. Education, and perhaps even more so critical education, would teach them to despise their “given” place that has been designed “for” them—being a middle manager, for example—and to develop ideas that sitting at a desk five days a week for 40+ years might not be the sole purpose of human life. They might even start thinking: “this is my life”. They might rebel instead of becoming good servants in global capitalism.

I nstead of teaching them subordination and the acceptance of the imperatives of Managerialism, it would render them disobedient to what has been invented as “the right of management to manage”. This selfgiven “right” is needed in all capitalist countries under the ideological hegemony of neo-liberalism and Managerialism. Without it, the domesticated might read, or even worse, write subversive guides, venomous books, articles, blogs, and publications directed against the imperatives of managerial capitalism.24 Most unpleasantly, it would render them impertinent and disrespectful to their managerial superiors. New legislation and more sophisticated surveillance techniques might become necessary to direct the strong arm of the law against them. And ideological efforts to keep them in line might have to be increased, taking away valuable TV airtime that is needed to sustain consumer capitalism. What these warnings really seek is not to denounce popular education—at least not openly—but restricting it and—preferably—converting education into training directed towards the twin ideologies of “the privatisation of everything” and “everything for sale”.25 As a consequence, the business elite’s support for education remains cynical and ideological. Their warnings against critical education have appeared in all historical periods and will continue to do so as long as those furthering domination will be allowed to continue.

The same however is not true for emancipatory educators. They think “with” students and the latter never become elements of the general trend to “dump down education”.26 They are not trained to become “mental dryrots”.27 Emancipatory educators do not convert human education into domination-enhancing training modules and e-learning websites in which students have to remain inside their constituent matrix and can never be assisted to develop self-determination. There is also a second difference between management training and emancipatory education: although emancipatory educators may need to think about students in order to understand them better, such thinking differs vastly from that of those inventing management training programmes. Emancipatory thinking is a kind of thinking about students that seeks to assist them in their own emancipation rather than dominating them. Rather than thinking “for” them, emancipatory educators give themselves into thinking “with” students:

the one is the thinking of the dominator the other is the thinking of the emancipator

Almost by definition, domination in management training regimes is always bipolar as it requires a “dominant” and a “to be dominated” pole. In sharp contrast to that, emancipatory education resolves this contradiction. Management training also implies—if not fosters—the existence of training leadership that emerges during management training as the predesigned blueprint. But training leadership can never identify itself with those seeking emancipation. It is not emancipatory but designed to dominate. To simply think about students without ever being with them remains an assured road to cease being an emancipatory educator and to move towards domination. Such management training elites often exist as “The Living Death”.28 They act symbolically as well as literally. In the sphere of management, they cause, for example, direct industrial deaths (Bhopal, asbestos, industrial accidents, etc.) and indirect death as externalities of managerial action (weapons, guns, arms, landmines, etc. with perhaps tobacco corporations as the ultimate killers).29 In managerial training regimes, they render students “blank slates”—dead containers to be filled with managerial knowledge. Meanwhile, emancipatory educational processes open only one way for managerial trainers dedicated to death: they must—educationally, not literally—“die”, cease to exist, or, alternatively, move towards emancipation in order to be reborn through and with those seeking emancipation. One can quite legitimately ascertain that in the process of domination

  • • someone oppresses someone else,
  • • someone has power over someone else, and
  • • someone can make someone else do something that this person otherwise would not do.

Yet, one might not claim that in the process of emancipatory education someone emancipates someone else. Equally, one might not claim that someone liberates himself—autonomously or independently. Instead, people as collectives and through the triage of:

  • • mutual and equal recognition,
  • • communicative action, and
  • • ideal speech

emancipate each other. Within this lies the significance of emancipatory educators. They are not leaders in a vertical hierarchy but education enablers in a horizontal relationship of mutual and equal recognition. This emphasises their emancipatory value. Perhaps there is nothing more imperative than to learn, live, and work with those seeking emancipation. And this not just extends to but introduces the “ethics of resistance” linked to “the community of victims”30—the so-called rejects of life, the “wretched of the earth”, the “Lumpenproleatriat”, the recalcitrant, the delinquents, the subversives, and those abused as “welfare cheats”.31 In a union with them, emancipatory educators find not only the raison d’etre of education but also motivations of hope under Benjamin’s guiding maxim:

Hope only exists for those without hope.

Against this stands the fact that every training approach directed to students and engineered by managerial trainers—whether as a called “ingroup” of educational experts or as an organised group within management—is couched in terms of the false generosity and ideology of bringing education to the uneducated. Managerial trainers have to pretend having an interest in students and education while—in reality— having managerial capitalism and domination at their heart. They pretend and lie as they are determined to by the very structure they represent: the structure of domination. While management trainers are structurally bound to represent domination, emancipatory educators can never be falsely generous or represent an ideology as they do not seek to sustain domination, camouflage contradictions, and prevent emancipation.

They can never manipulate like those who further domination and flourish in training setups that manipulate and trample on students while infusing their ideologies into them. Emancipatory educators flourish only in cooperation with students and through ideal speech. It is because of what has been outlined above that the training activities of those furthering domination can never be honest, earnest, non-manipulative, anti-ideological, nor directed towards humanisation.

In general, the often-displayed humanity of those cementing domination is camouflaged by their anti-emancipatory authoritarianism when focusing on science and, more specifically, on what they have termed “management science” even though this might well be “pocket science” rather than “rocket science”.32 It supplies ideological legitimacy to Managerialism. In managerial regimes as under capitalism in general, management science and managerial technologies will always be at the service of those cementing domination—science and technology can never be “neutral”.33 Both are used to reduce people to the status of things and to be appendixes to management, creating what has been called a “thing-world”, a world shaped by objects, possessions, shareholder value, profit maximisation, ownership, and commodities. In that, “human beings are no longer the measure of all things”.34 They are instead confined to be managerially invented numbers—ID numbers as well as numbers to be achieved as set by key performance indicators. But these are not only measures of reality as they serve managerial reality and Managerialism. As a spin-off, they are used to promote the “dehumanisation of everything”. Set against that, in emancipatory education those seeking emancipation must, at first, become subjects again in a transition from being “objects of managerial power” (human resources) to becoming human subjects (human beings). In terms of science, they will have to reject all encompassing ideologies of Managerialism that shape much of social science today and have to stop being mere objects of the cryptoscientific interest of Managerialism.35

The idea of scientific emancipatory humanism—least in the name of emancipation—can never treat those seeking emancipation as mere objects to be analysed and presented with prescriptions for “to-be-expected” organisational behaviours and compliant behaviours in management training processes. To perceive them in such a setting would be to fall into one of the core myths of those furthering domination, namely to treat students with ignorance and as “to be trained” objects. This ideology implies the existence of someone who fosters the ignorance of someone else. The one who is doing the commanding—management’s infamous “chain of command”—defines himself and the class to which they belong as those who know and have the exclusive knowledge to know. Thereby, this ideology defines virtually all others as alien entities, as those who do not know and therefore have to undergo management training.36 Through “scientification” of the ideology of Managerialism, management training comes to be seen as “the truth”. But it remains always a truth that Managerialism imposes or attempts to impose on the others.

Meanwhile those seeking emancipation experience that many of their words have been stolen from them. A human being is now a human resource. Simultaneously, virtually all connotations between human beings and humanisation or humanity have been stolen or destroyed.37 Managerial ideology that steals the words and ideas of others develops a subterranean reservation in the abilities of people, considering them ineffectual and incompetent. Each time Managerialism utters its words and ideologies without hearing the words of those whom they have forbidden to speak, they grow more accustomed to the power of management and its ideology of Managerialism. With that, Managerialism has, since quite some time, acquired a taste for guiding, ordering, supervising, surveil- ling, commanding, and training others in their image. As a consequence, management training can no longer exist without having those to be trained under its supervision whilst giving orders to them. Under these circumstances, the four principles of ideal speech (Table 7.1) are not just rendered unpractical and unnecessary but also impossible.

In sharp contrast to that, emancipatory educators can never accept the ideologically motivated confinement of students to the inhuman status of “being trained”. Neither does emancipatory education doubt for a single moment that it is the ideology of Managerialism that renders students passive, therefore treating them with Rowls’ “veil of ignorance”. Emancipatory education can never believe to know everything. In turn, this also means to never doubt the ability of students to uncover their own interest as well as to decode the ideology of Managerialism and its ability to mystify the reality of managerial regimes and management training programmes. Students quite legitimately recognise themselves as having an assuring level of emancipatory knowledge that is quite different from the crypto-empirical knowledge held by Managerialism. Critical knowledge gradually becomes transformed into knowledge of the causes of reality found in the specifics of the interest that today’s prime ideologies of capitalism—neo-liberalism and Managerialism— carry in-themselves.

It would be naive to expect and wait for a moment when those furthering domination denounce their own ideologies. Forced by their entire system they can never do so. As a consequence, management training must generalise the ignorance of students (we train them) and treat them as mere objects of a managerially predesigned training process. It would be a contradiction in terms if emancipatory educators were doing the same. Perhaps it would be even more contradictory if they were to act in accordance with Managerialism. Thus, the task of emancipatory educators remains to pose as problems not only the pathological realities of managerial regimes and the ideologies camouflaging them but in fact all ideologies used by those who further domination in order to incapacitate others. If emancipatory educators simply persist in imitating those furthering domination and their methods, students will react predominantly in two ways:

  • 1. Theymaybecomedomesticatedandpacified,developinga“Disciplined Mind”38 through, for example, the crypto-critical content that CMS pretend to reflect on “critical theory” and critical pedagogy.
  • 2. They might also become overwhelmed by those furthering domination by accepting the presented—but ultimately invented— imperatives of Managerialism and managerial capitalism.

In neither case students can move towards emancipation. In the first incident, emancipation remains an illusion framed as reforming management. This is found, for example, in what CMS call “micro-emancipation” supporting management by, as CMS calls it, “becoming better managers”. Meanwhile, in the second case, emancipation remains impossible but there might be cases where well-intentioned but ultimately misguided educators assume that ideal speech simply prolongs the path to humanisation.

On this assumption, they run the danger of carrying out emancipatory projects without ideal speech. This is done through adopting forms of the managerial communication of command and control or one-dimensional top-down communication under the old “sender^receiver” model in which commands and orders are sought to replace ideal speech. In some cases, forms of authoritarian communication might even develop a thoroughly educational effort but when they justify this procedure by saying that “it is not possible to carry out emancipatory education”, emancipation is destroyed. They claim that “emancipatory management education” might not just be a contradiction in terms but a sheer impossibility without taking over the entire apparatus of Managerialism, managerial regimes, management training programmes, management schools, and ultimately capitalism.

From the standpoint of emancipatory education, it remains worthwhile to analyse some of the key assumptions of these assertions. The promoters of the, what might be called, “take-over-capitalism-first” standpoint tend to suppose that a dialogue with students is necessary or at least preferable but they do not believe that such a dialogue is feasible prior to taking power and it should not be based on ideal speech. When they reject the likelihood that emancipatory educators can conduct themselves in a critical educational fashion before taking power, they—simultaneously—also deny emancipation’s educational key qualities as found in mutual and equal recognition and ideal speech seen as cultural-organisational action preparing to become cultural-organisational emancipation.

It remains indeed quite naive to expect those furthering domination to conduct any sort of “emancipatory management education” by themselves unless it confirms to the system-stabilising and, in its final analysis, anti-emancipatory parameters of CMS. But since emancipation, quite undeniably, has always been educational (critical pedagogy) as well as communicative (ideal speech) in character, its raison d’etre rests on the understanding that unless its methods are emancipatory, the entire project cannot be emancipatory. There simply is no “micro-emancipation” as CMS claim while there is also “no take over the system first” approach. Instead, emancipatory education is a communicative process directed towards full humanisation and emancipation. In its finality, taking of power is only one moment—and this remains so no matter how decisive this moment is. As an educational communicative process that takes place “before” full emancipation (seen as the end of all forms of domination), it—fortunately or unfortunately—remains structurally located “within” the sphere of those still furthering domination in managerial regimes and in management training.

Emancipation is born as a social entity within the sphere of those still furthering domination. And it is to that extent that it remains cultural, organisational, educational and, above all, communicative under the still-prevailing conditions of domination. But it is also an act that can never fail to correspond to the potentialities deeply embedded in the contradictions of managerial entities. Every entity develops within itself through a sophisticated but always-ascending interplay between its own contradictions. These are bipolar driving forces: on the one hand, they seek to maintain domination and, on the other hand, they seek emancipation from domination. Such conditions can—quite necessarily— remain effective as long as they manage to asphyxiate society while denying the inherent potentialities found in human beings. As a consequence, the freshness of emancipatory education is always generated within older and quite often dying regimes such as authoritarian societies, even when they are camouflaged as “democratic” through mass media guided election spectacles, structural violence, managerial regimes, and management training programmes enticing people to comply with domination that is ideologically re-enforced by neo-liberalism and Managerialism.39 Taking power away from these asphyxiating forces constitutes only one, albeit very particular and decisive, moment along the continuing emancipatory trajectory. In a dynamic rather than asphyxiating, suffocating, and static view of the managerial world, emancipation does not include artificially invented absolutes like “before” and “after” but a continuum of an ascending “domination^emancipation” progression.

Originating in the objective conditions of, for example, managerial regimes, emancipatory education seeks to supersede situations of managerial and educational domination by inaugurating a community of people dedicated to the process of continuing emancipation. The emancipatory (mutual and equal recognition), educational (no rigid training and no filling up of students with invented knowledge), and communicative (ideal speech) qualities of emancipation always make emancipation also a thoroughly cultural project. The change in culture must manifest itself at all stages and must be experienceable by all participants of ideal speech situations. In fact, the factual experience of a new emancipatory educational quality remains one of the most effective instruments of keeping emancipation from becoming institutionalised, which would occur through suffocating methods of bureaucracies and managerial regimes founded in domination.40

Yet, there still might be a situation in which it may not be possible to establish communicative action with students before converting rigid managerial regimes into emancipatory education. This could be the case when no experience with ideal speech has been established because the power of those forces seeking to maintain domination remains too strong. In these cases, emancipatory education is faced with the real existing possibility that students have to deal with the power of domination. It remains the ideological quest of management training to render students inexperienced and impotent so that domination can be cemented. Set against this is the fact that emancipatory educational processes remain dynamic. Under the condition of domination, it is the critical emancipatory praxis of students that will enable students to learn to discover and to engage with the humanising powers found in the four principles of ideal speech (Table 7.1). Ideal speech is never a concession, and it is never given to students by management trainers and the system behind them. Equally, it never has been, nor will it ever be a gift handed out to them. Yet—and this is by far the more dangerous and distorted part—elements of ideal speech can be misappropriated by management trainers to further domination. Nevertheless, ideal speech remains designed as a critical emancipatory encounter among students to critically comprehend and analyse the managerial world.

Any action directed towards emancipation can only ever be an action by which people change the managerial world as much as themselves. It is also a positive condition of human freedom to recognise that even emancipatory knowledge has limits and that some of these limits can be found in an awareness of structures preventative of human potentialities. Emancipation from the domination found in managerial regimes, from stifling training regimes, and eventually from societies based on domination is never a real struggle for emancipation unless it is able to generate an ever greater degree of individual human freedom. If this remains accurate, virtually all emancipatory processes are exceedingly educational in character. As a consequence, the true roadmap to emancipation always involves openness to students while rejecting corporate ideologies framed as “management theories”. The more emancipation requires theory, the more emancipatory education must be carried out “with” students under the principles of ideal speech in order to stand against the powers of domination.

Perhaps one of the first characteristics of the power of management training is to be found in its anti-dialogical action when managerial communication in the form of “reporting upwards and directing downwards” is transferred into management training. At work as in management training, this seeks to cement anti-dialogical human beings confined to non-dialogical relationships with others in which hierarchy and domination rule over mutual and equal recognition. Its aims are to conquer the minds of others using every ideological and structural means possible, ranging from force (disciplinary action, dismissal, the self-invented right of management to manage, etc.) and ideological forces (Managerialism) to educational forces (authoritarian management training). From the toughest (disciplinary action) to the most refined (ideologies), from the most repressive (control, surveillance, and command) to the most inclusive and attentive (corporate paternalism and philanthropy), those cementing domination will use these means as long as they asphyxiate people in structures of domination.41 But the managerial project of domination also extends into zones of human affairs previously untouched by its forces as the next chapter will discuss.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >

Related topics