In praise of boredom at work

Lucie Noury*, Sumati Ahuja, Martin Parker, Andrew J Sturdy, Melissa Tyler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


In the context of management and organisational literature, boredom has largely been seen in individual, psychological and negative terms, both for those experiencing it and for organisational outcomes. Through selective references to a wider sociological, historical and philosophical set of perspectives, we make a case here for refiguring boredom at work as a more relational and political notion. Rather than being seen as negative or trivial, we suggest that it is central to the concerns of organisation studies (and more widely) as a ambivalent everyday condition and experience. In particular, boredom is intimately linked to the project and promises of modernity and its associated effects on time, from factory industrialisation to contemporary work platforms. Both in terms of philosophical argument and applied fields such as art, literature, architecture
and design, we suggest that boredom is both emancipatory/productive and alienating. Such an understanding establishes opportunities for research which would be central to the experience of contemporary paid employment and wider experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-805
Number of pages15
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • boredom
  • emancipation
  • organisation studies
  • philosophy
  • power
  • time


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