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Between narration and interaction: situating first-line supervisor identity work

Journal Article


Abstract


  • This article examines how frontline managers establish managerial identities. It combines narrational and Goffmanesque conceptions of managerial identity work in a longitudinal study of one first-line supervisor at a restructured Australian industrial plant. We argue that, singly, neither self-narration nor dramaturgical performance accounts for the practical discursive work that constructs managerial `identity'. We demonstrate that frontline manager identity work is an iterative process in which self-narration and dramaturgical performance are almost seamlessly interwoven. The supervisor uses these different identity work stratagems simultaneously, and they are processually co-dependent. We conclude, therefore, that organizational scholars who study how persons construct managerial identities should take Goffman's dramaturgical perspective more seriously. It is an indispensible complement to the analysis of identity narratives, because successful performances undergird managers' attempts to craft stable narrative identities.

Publication Date


  • 2009

Citation


  • Down, S. & Reveley, J. (2009). Between narration and interaction: situating first-line supervisor identity work. Human Relations, 62 (3), 379-401.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-61449221904

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/commpapers/1945

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 22

Start Page


  • 379

End Page


  • 401

Volume


  • 62

Issue


  • 3

Abstract


  • This article examines how frontline managers establish managerial identities. It combines narrational and Goffmanesque conceptions of managerial identity work in a longitudinal study of one first-line supervisor at a restructured Australian industrial plant. We argue that, singly, neither self-narration nor dramaturgical performance accounts for the practical discursive work that constructs managerial `identity'. We demonstrate that frontline manager identity work is an iterative process in which self-narration and dramaturgical performance are almost seamlessly interwoven. The supervisor uses these different identity work stratagems simultaneously, and they are processually co-dependent. We conclude, therefore, that organizational scholars who study how persons construct managerial identities should take Goffman's dramaturgical perspective more seriously. It is an indispensible complement to the analysis of identity narratives, because successful performances undergird managers' attempts to craft stable narrative identities.

Publication Date


  • 2009

Citation


  • Down, S. & Reveley, J. (2009). Between narration and interaction: situating first-line supervisor identity work. Human Relations, 62 (3), 379-401.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-61449221904

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/commpapers/1945

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 22

Start Page


  • 379

End Page


  • 401

Volume


  • 62

Issue


  • 3