Identity Regulation, Identity Work and Phronesis

Thibaut Bardon, Andrew D. Brown, Stephan Peze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

How do corporations attempt to regulate the ways middle managers draw on discourses centred on 'effectiveness' and 'ethics' in their identity work, and how do these individuals respond? We analyse the discursive struggle over what it meant to be a competent manager at Disneyland where middle managers were encouraged to construe their selves in ways which emphasized ‘being effective’ over ‘being ethical’, and managers responded with identity work which positioned them as searching for the practical wisdom (phronesis) to make decisions that were both effective and moral. The theoretical contribution we make is twofold. First, we analyse processes of identity regulation and identity work at Disneyland, highlighting divergences between corporate injunctions and middle managers appropriations of them, regarding what it meant to be a practically wise manager. Second, we discuss a phronetic identity narrative template, contestable both by organizations and managers, in which people are positioned as questing for the practical wisdom to make decisions that are both moral and effective, and phronesis as an image by which scholars may analyse identities and identity work. This leads us to a more nuanced understanding of middle manager identities and the scope they have to constitute their selves as moral agents.
LanguageEnglish
Pages940-965
JournalHuman Relations
Volume70
Issue number8
DOIs
StatusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

Fingerprint

Managers
manager
regulation
wisdom
Identity work
Middle managers
Phronesis
Identity Work
divergence
corporation
moral philosophy
narrative
Practical wisdom
discourse
Industry

Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Identity
  • identity work
  • identity regulation
  • phronesis
  • ethics
  • effectiveness
  • middle managers
  • Disneyland

Cite this

Identity Regulation, Identity Work and Phronesis. / Bardon, Thibaut; Brown, Andrew D.; Peze, Stephan.

In: Human Relations, Vol. 70 , No. 8, 01.08.2017, p. 940-965.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bardon, Thibaut ; Brown, Andrew D. ; Peze, Stephan. / Identity Regulation, Identity Work and Phronesis. In: Human Relations. 2017 ; Vol. 70 , No. 8. pp. 940-965.
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