‘A deeply troubled organization’: organizational satire in the BBC’s W1A comedy series

Siebert, S. (2019) ‘A deeply troubled organization’: organizational satire in the BBC’s W1A comedy series. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 35(1), pp. 56-63. (doi:10.1016/j.scaman.2018.08.002)

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Abstract

This paper analyses the ways in which a media organization implicated in a series of reputational scandals represents its own management in a comedy series. The organization in question is the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and the comedy series is W1A, a mockumentary commissioned and screened by the BBC in 2014–17. Firstly, I discuss the ways in which W1A as a ‘text’ uses satirical devices to ridicule its own management as well as management fads and fashions. Secondly, I analyse W1A as the ‘intertext’, and consider the satirical representations of management in W1A against the backdrop of the BBC’s reputational scandals. I put forward an interpretation that the intertextual references in the comedy series break down the distance between ‘us’ and ‘the troubled organization’. I also argue that intertextual reading of the series (e.g. the analysis of allusions, cameo appearances, and parallels with the real BBC) throws an entirely different light on organizational wrongdoing, opening new possibilities for organizational reintegration and the repair of broken trust. Not only does the reading of W1A change when the audience considers what is happening in the real BBC, but also our interpretation of what is happening in the BBC may change when we watch W1A.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Siebert, Professor Sabina
Authors: Siebert, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Scandinavian Journal of Management
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0956-5221
ISSN (Online):0956-5221
Published Online:15 September 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Scandinavian Journal of Management 35(1):56-63
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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