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Managers' identity construction at work: artistic interventions as triggers for identity work
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Organisation and Entrepreneurship. Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Marketing. (LOSA)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2073-4496
2016 (English)In: Organizational Aesthetics, E-ISSN 2168-8575, Vol. 5, no 2, 34-67 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many scholars discuss how experiences from work are an important source for the construction of the personal identity. In this paper the various contextual dimensions at work that influence identity construction, are discussed. The empirical data consists of interviews with 33 Swedish managers with experiences in bringing arts into business. These, so called artistic interventions, are a growing phenomenon mainly initiated by managers. The findings are twofold: First to identify and describe a typology of five identity-related dimensions in the work context (built on Zambrell, 2004), dimensions that emerge in managers’ expressed experiences, both from work in general and from the artistic intervention. In particular, among these managers a touching dimension emerges, i.e. experiencing honest appreciation and trust at work, which touches the inner self. Second, to discuss artistic interventions as triggers for identity work. Since interventions with arts are non-traditional projects, they challenge the participants’ identity construction, especially the identities of the managers that introduce such different activities. The awareness of identity-related dimensions is important for understanding work experiences and its influence on identity. It is especially important for managers, who may influence the identity-related dimensions through organizing work and shaping its conditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 5, no 2, 34-67 p.
Keyword [en]
Artistic interventions, Triggers for identity work, Identity - related dimensions, Identity construction, Manager identity, Touching dimension
Keyword [sv]
Konstnärlig intervention, Trigger för identitetsarbete, Identitetsrelatede dimensioner, Identitetskonstruktion, Chefsidentitet, Beröra-dimension
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Economy, Ledarskap, entreprenörskap och organisation
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-50700OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-50700DiVA: diva2:911870
Available from: 2016-03-14 Created: 2016-03-14 Last updated: 2017-04-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Identitet i arbete(t): Chefers reflektioner om arbetets dimensioner
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Identitet i arbete(t): Chefers reflektioner om arbetets dimensioner
2016 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Identity at work : Managers’ reflections about dimensions at work
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to identify, describe and develop the understanding of what aspects at work are important for individuals' identity construction. In this understanding-oriented study the empirical data consists of three different groups: middle managers, cultural workers and “Airis-managers”. I have interpreted and analysed the 75 respondents’ stories, and in their experiences found similar patterns. My conclusion is that there are different dimensions at work that may affect the identity construction. My research question: What is it about work that is experienced as important for individuals’ identity construction? can be answered with the five different identity-related dimensions that I have identified: the enabling dimension, the legitimating dimension, the strengthening dimension, the touching dimension and the constraining dimension. All these dimensions, except the constraining dimension, contribute positively to identity construction. The constraining dimension can be compensated if the other positively confirming dimensions dominate. The identity construction for each individual appears different depending on what dimensions he/she experiences. That is why work’s impacts on the individual's identity construction vary. In order to illustrate the developed typology of identity-related dimensions, I created a model that aims to facilitate understanding of what aspects at work that may be important for the personal identity. When raising awareness of these dimensions, efforts to strengthen the most important dimensions can be made. Through their leadership and ways of organizing work, managers may influence their employees’ opportunities to construct and strengthen their identity.

Much of the identity research discusses the more conscious identity work. In my third study my empirical data consists of managers’ who have brought artists into their organizations, i.e. conducted an artistic intervention called Airis. My interpretation is that implementing an artistic intervention can be considered as a way to challenge and develop the managers’ identity and be a part of their identity work.

This thesis deals with “identity at work” (to reconnect to the title). People seldom discuss “identity construction” but that does not mean that identity issues are unimportant. On the contrary, people often talk about their jobs and their work experiences. What this "talk" really means is what this thesis highlights: Identity is constructed and confirmed at work, especially when others are told about the work-related experiences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kållered: Bokförlaget BAS, 2016. 134 p.
Keyword
managers' identity construction, identity-related dimensions, work-related identity, triggers for identity work, artistic interventions, Chefers identitetskonstruktion, identitetsrelaterade dimensioner, arbetsrelaterad idenitet, trigger för identitetsarbete, artistic intervention
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Economy, Business administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-56561 (URN)978-91-7246-346-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
CG-salen, Handelshögskolan, Vasagatan 1, Göterborg (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-09-21 Created: 2016-09-17 Last updated: 2017-04-19Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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