Institut for Virksomhedsledelse

Birte Asmuß

When the manager joins for lunch: Identity negotiations in organizational lunchroom meetings

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The micro-macro matter is not only the researcher’s interest, but it is an affair that social members encounter, handle and even manipulate. One such example is identity negotiation, where members’ local practices inform and are informed by larger categories (Antaki and Widdicombe 1998). Correspondingly, the approach to understanding organization (macro) by way of identity work (micro) has become prominent (e.g. Fasulo and Zucchermaglio 2002, Alvesson, Lee Ashcraft et al. 2008, Vöge 2010). The current paper aims to further uncover this mechanism by looking at an organizational lunchroom gathering. Our data come from a U.S. design company that has just gone through a merger with another company, and in the data recorded over 10 days, the employees frequently complain about the many changes that have taken place. Our focus lies in a unique occasion where one of the managers makes an unusual appearance at the lunchroom. In this situation, he is the only one that is on the business side of the company, and all members know (and display) that he holds some information that the rest don’t have access to. Our analysis shows that the participants evoke various identities of the manager, sometimes orienting to the structure of the organization, and other times orienting to wider social categories belonging outside the organization. By taking a close look at this single case, we aim to reveal the members’ practices for orienting to and accomplishing the micro-macro divide (or not) in situ, and how the practices are worked around the affordances and restrictions of the eating-lunch activity. Ultimately, such analysis opens the way for discussing the organizational value of facilitating informal meeting places.

Alvesson, M., et al. (2008). "Identity Matters: Reflections on the Construction of Identity Scholarship in Organization Studies." Organization 15(1): 5-28.

Antaki, C. and S. Widdicombe (1998). Identity as an achievement and as a tool. Identities in Talk. C. Antaki and S. Widdicombe. London, Sage Publications: 1-14.

Fasulo, A. and C. Zucchermaglio (2002). "My selves and I: identity markers in work meeting talk." Journal of Pragmatics 34(9): 1119-1144.

Vöge, M. (2010). "Local identity processes in business meetings displayed through laughter in complaint sequences." Journal of Pragmatics 42(6): 1556-1576.
StatusUdgivet - 2016
BegivenhedNORDISCO 2016 - Oslo, Norge
Varighed: 23 nov. 201625 nov. 2016


KonferenceNORDISCO 2016

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