This paper analyses how people's subjectively construed identities are disciplined by, and appropriated from, their talk about organizational routines. Identity work, we argue, is not just an expression of agency but also of power. Based on a study of a UK regional law firm, our research counter-balances understandings of professional lawyers as autonomous knowledge-workers, and emphasizes instead the extent of their subjection to disciplinary processes. It shows that power is intrinsic to discursive constructions of routine processes of organizing. We examine lawyers' accounts of their time-keeping and billing routine, and how these both fabricated their identities, and how individuals said that they confronted, shifted and perverted organizationally sanctioned systems of meaning. The research contribution of this paper is to examine empirically and to theorize how discourse about routines both disciplines and is a resource for identity work.
- disciplinary power
- law firm