For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Beyond Dis-identification: A Discursive Approach to Self-alienation in Contemporary Organizations"

by Costas, Jana; Fleming, Peter (2009)


Dis-identification is now an important research area in organization studies investigating how employees subjectively distance themselves from managerial domination by constructing identities considered more `authentic'. But how should we understand situations where actors become aware that their putative`real' selves are paradoxically unreal and foreign? We draw inspiration from the concept of self-alienation to explain experiences beyond dis-identification, where actors perceive the truth of themselves (`who I really am') as alien. An empirical study of a global management consultancy firm demonstrates how a discursive and non-essentialist understanding of self-alienation might usefully capture this experience of identity. Three causes of self-alienation are proposed and we discuss their significance in relation to identity and authenticity in contemporary organizations.

Key Passage



Human Relations, Organisation Studies, Authenticity, Subjectivity, Psychology, Identity, Alienation, Empirical Study, Field Work, Sociology


Organisation and Management Studies

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