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Title: The sweetest dreams that labor knows: Robert Frost and the poetics of work
Authors: Islam, G.
Zyphur, M.J. 
Keywords: Labour
Issue Date: 2006
Citation: Islam, G.,Zyphur, M.J. (2006). The sweetest dreams that labor knows: Robert Frost and the poetics of work. Management Decision 44 (4) : 526-535. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to use the work of Robert Frost to give insights into the diverse meanings that work holds in daily lived experience. It aims to use this analysis to discuss general ways in which the content and formal properties of poetry allow unique insights into the world of work. Design/methodology/approach - The paper uses the approach of literary criticism and analysis to give insights into how work can be experienced as personally liberating but also culturally stifling, a tool both for and against human self-fulfilment. After a brief discussion of the use of poetry to understand organizational life, various excerpts from Frost's well-known and lesser known works are analyzed. Findings - Through a series of passages in Frost's works, the paper shows how these illuminations of the poet's own experiences hold insights by which scholars can understand the experience of work more generally. Practical implications - It is argued that an understanding of poetry is a way for scholars to expand their understanding of the world of work, both through paying attention to the contents of poems and, more generally, from considering a poetic form of expression as shot-through with theoretical and epistemic insights. Originality/value - While some papers have incorporated poetic expressions and explanations for various organizational phenomena, this work represents an attempt to incorporate this rarely studied feature into organizational studies. To the authors' knowledge, the mainstream organizationa literature has few if any in-depth poetic analysis, and none of the work of Frost, whose focus on work is widespread and illuminating. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Source Title: Management Decision
ISSN: 00251747
DOI: 10.1108/00251740610663054
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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