Identity Regulation as Organizational Control: Producing the Appropriate Individual

26 Pages Posted: 8 May 2003

See all articles by Mats Alvesson

Mats Alvesson

Lund University

Hugh Willmott

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School

Abstract

This paper takes the regulation of identity as a focus for examining organizational control. It considers how employees are enjoined to develop self-images and work orientations that are deemed congruent with managerially defined objectives. This focus on identity extends and deepens themes developed within other analyses of normative control. Empirical materials are deployed to illustrate how managerial intervention operates, more or less intentionally and in/effectively, to influence employees' self-constructions in terms of coherence, distinctiveness and commitment. The processual nature of such control is emphasized, arguing that it exists in tension with other intra and extra-organizational claims upon employees' sense of identity in a way that can open a space for forms of micro-emancipation.

Suggested Citation

Alvesson, Mats and Willmott, Hugh Christopher, Identity Regulation as Organizational Control: Producing the Appropriate Individual. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=316073

Mats Alvesson (Contact Author)

Lund University ( email )

S-220 07 Lund, SC Skane
Sweden

Hugh Christopher Willmott

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom

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