Neoliberal ideology in work and organizational psychology

P. Matthijs Bal*, Edina Dóci

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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This paper explores the role of neoliberal ideology in workplace practices and in work and organizational psychology (WOP) research. It analyses how neoliberal ideology manifests in these two domains by using a prominent framework from the field of political theory to understand ideology through three different logics: political, social and fantasmatic logics. We explore the main neoliberal assumptions underlying existing practices in the workplace as well as in WOP research, how individuals are gripped by such practices, and how the status quo is maintained. The paper analyses how individuals in the contemporary workplace are henceforth influenced by neoliberalism, and how this is reflected in the practices and dominant paradigms within WOP. In particular, we focus on three ways neoliberalism affects workplaces and individual experiences of the workplace: through instrumentality, individualism and competition. The paper finishes with practical recommendations for researchers and practitioners alike on how to devote more attention to the, often implicit, role of neoliberal ideology in their work and research. The discussion elaborates on how alternative paradigms in the workplace can be developed which address the downsides of neoliberalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-548
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number5
Early online date7 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Ideology
  • individualism
  • instrumentality
  • neo-liberalism
  • work and organizational psychology


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