Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 February 2022
Introduction: Neoliberalism and the Self
In the current socio-economic climate, where profit increase is not achieved by expansion to new markets anymore but rather by increase in or optimisation of productivity and efficiency, social and economic aspects are becoming combined as a part of the neoliberalism paradigm in which an individual plays an instrumental role in the market, and not vice versa (cf. Precht 2018; Flassbeck & Steinhardt 2018). The primary enablers of the so-called time-tomarket (TTM) strategy (which refers to the time period starting from when a company initially conceives a product or service idea to the point when the actual product or service is accessible to buyers in the market) are information technology (IT) and digitalisation, as reflected in corporate vision and mission statements. Siemens’ Vision 2020+ serves as an example here: ‘Vision 2020+ is our strategy to shape the next-generation Siemens. With Vision 2020+ we are setting the course for long-term value creation through accelerated growth and stronger profitability with a simplified and leaner company structure’ (https://www.dc.siem ens.com/vis ion2 020p lus/).
Consequently, as will be argued below, the pressure to monitor one's digital footprint and manage the ‘cyber-self ‘ and consistently present oneself in a positive light (self-brand) keeps increasing, with the primary objective being that of pursuing individual interests and meeting one's own goals (since no one else will).
As depicted in Figure 1.1, created for the purpose of illustrating the broader background of self-praise, on the micro level of socio-economic developments, neoliberalism and technology impact corporate and workplace communication, facilitating transparency, visibility, and knowledge sharing, further resulting in shifted roles and scope of work responsibilities. These factors constitute important aspects to be addressed, with the focus placed on self-presenting behaviour, mainly of so-called knowledge workers (or ‘nocollar workers’), functioning in the new economy (mainly referring to highgrowth industries that are on the cutting edge of technology and are believed to be the driving force of economic growth and productivity – cf.
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