University of Oulu

Business Ethics Quarterly , First View , pp. 1 - 37 DOI:

Site-seeing humanness in organizations

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Author: Haarjärvi, Tuure1; Laari-Salmela, Sari1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Cambridge University Press, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-05-03


In this study, we theorize humanness in organizations as a property of practice. We apply practice theory to examine how humanness becomes enacted in a business organization as people prioritize organizational and individual ends in their work activities. Our empirical case study examines the everyday interactions of development team members in an R&D organization of a large Nordic cooperative. Challenging the dominant individualist and structuralist approaches in humanness and human dignity studies, we identify and locate four different aspects of humanness in organizational practices. As a result, we show how the emergence of humanness is an ongoing process that transpires through two mechanisms: site shifting and reconciliation; that is, people shift between different sites of the social, consisting of different sets of practices with underlying disparate assumptions of humanness, which requires reconciliation. These findings provide a basis for an alternative theorizing of humanness in organizations.

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Series: Business ethics quarterly
ISSN: 1052-150X
ISSN-E: 2153-3326
ISSN-L: 1052-150X
Volume: In press
Issue: In press
DOI: 10.1017/beq.2022.12
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Society for Business Ethics. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.