Narrative identity work: Imaginary and symbolic stances toward underlying lack

2018-02-13T11:06:53Z (GMT) by Michaela Driver
Identity work has increasingly been defined narratively, focusing on how individuals draw on discourses to create, sustain and transform preferred versions of the self (Svenningson and Alvesson, 2003). Organizational scholars focus on understanding how narratives of the self are constructed and how identities emerge as fragile accomplishments that may be aimed at identity stability but often are uncertain and in flux (Brown and Coupland, 2015). Especially, the idea of identity insecurity has received increasing attention as an important dimension of identity work, which offers insights about how identities are worked on as well as regulated in organizational contexts (Knights and Clarke, 2014). Identity work seems to be marked by a continuous struggle (Alvesson and Willmott, 2002) in which organizational members seek to negotiate such insecurities, attempting, on the one hand, to construct preferred versions of the self (Kornberger and Brown, 2007: 500), while, on the other, navigating multiple and often contradictory discourses about who they are, how others see them and who they should be in a given context (e.g. Clarke, Brown and Hope Hailey, 2009).

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