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Undercover Boss Blues

journal contribution
posted on 2022-05-25, 00:00 authored by Ilana Gershon
*Undercover Boss* is a reality TV show designed for and by people who take capitalism for granted and who are reflecting on crises that are part and parcel of what it means to live under a capitalist system. *Undercover Boss* was first launched on Channel 4 in the UK in 2009, and country-specific spin-offs have since appeared in 16 other countries, including Australia, Colombia and Poland. Like the other variants, the UK version is not only an exploration of workplaces inflected by neo-liberal logics, but also an exploration of how businesses are responding to the financial crisis of 2008. In the UK version, the bosses agree to go undercover in the hope that low-level employees might provide some insights from their structural position into how to improve the way the company responds to its customers. This is a show that revolves around revealing some of the ‘shoulds’ of business from a worker's perspective, but in doing so, it uncovers a few of the dilemmas generated when corporations put neo-liberal principles into practice.


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