Bricolage and Identity Work

17 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2018

See all articles by Klaasjan Visscher

Klaasjan Visscher

University of Twente - Department of Technology and Management

Stefan Heusinkveld

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics

Joe O'Mahoney

Cardiff University

Date Written: April 2018

Abstract

Lévi‐Strauss’ concept of bricolage has been used widely in a variety of management and organizational studies to highlight creative ‘situational tinkering’. Yet, we know little about ‘the bricoleur’ beyond the assumption of a functional agent responding to conditions of resource scarcity or environmental complexity. As such, studies offer limited possibilities in explaining the occurrence of bricolage in the absence of external demands, or much about who the bricoleur is. Drawing on 136 in‐depth interviews with management consultants, this study argues for a richer understanding of bricolage by exploring the identity of the bricoleur. In doing so, the paper achieves three outcomes. First, it uses the original symbolic and cultural insights of bricolage made by Lévi‐Strauss to detail how bricoleur identities are constructed; Second, it highlights how different organizational strategies enable and constrain the pursuit of bricoleur identities; Finally, it emphasizes the bricoleur's status as primarily an aspirational elite identity in the context of consultancy work, in contrast to its usual treatment as a ‘low status’ activity.

Suggested Citation

Visscher, Klaasjan and Heusinkveld, Stefan and O'Mahoney, Joe, Bricolage and Identity Work (April 2018). British Journal of Management, Vol. 29, Issue 2, pp. 356-372, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3163153 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12220

Klaasjan Visscher (Contact Author)

University of Twente - Department of Technology and Management ( email )

NL-7500 AE Enschede
Netherlands

Stefan Heusinkveld

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

Joe O'Mahoney

Cardiff University ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3EU
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
0
Abstract Views
55
PlumX Metrics