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Mediating ambiguity: Narrative identity and knowledge workers

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Oliver Mallett



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Drawing on Paul Ricoeur's approach to narrative identity and a longitudinal case study of a graphic design firm, this paper explores identity work provoked by organisational changes for one group of knowledge workers, graphic designers. The approach to identity work developed in this paper illuminates how these knowledge workers use narrative to mediate between social and personal identities during a period of significant organisational change. The narrative identity approach, derived from Ricoeur, embraces the multiplicity, complexity and potential contradictions encountered by knowledge workers facing threats to their personal identity. In addition to developing Ricoeur's thinking to understand identity work in an organisational context, the impact of organisational change for knowledge workers is highlighted for practitioners.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mallett O, Wapshott R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scandinavian Journal of Management

Year: 2012

Volume: 28

Issue: 1

Pages: 16-26

Print publication date: 01/03/2012

Online publication date: 17/01/2012

Date deposited: 21/03/2016

ISSN (print): 0956-5221

ISSN (electronic): 1873-3387

Publisher: Pergamon Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.scaman.2011.12.001


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