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Fracturing the Real-Self<-->Fake-Self Dichotomy: Moving Toward Crystallized Organizational Discourses and Identities
Unformatted Document Text:  Real-SelfÅÆFake-Self Dichotomy 12 As illustrated in this brief discussion, organizational discourses such as emotion labor suggest that employees construct “fake” or compartmentalized identities, especially when they are asked to enact low status or stigmatized selves at work. Meanwhile, managerialism and entrepreneurialism serve as powerful forces for positing a preferred identity that members should strive to attain. All these discourses suggest that some selves are “more real,” more valued, and more esteemed than others. In doing so, these discourses of power reinscribe and reify the dichotomy between the “real” and the “fake”, and produce specific organizational and individual outcomes. Consequences of the Real Self-Fake Self Dichotomy So, what is the productive power of the dichotomy between the “real” self and “fake” self? How does the persistence of the dichotomy enable and constrain organizations and organizational actors? We would argue that the dichotomy encourages subject positions that ultimately benefit organizations by moving control process from the managers to the employees' own management of identity. Moreover, we maintain that the employee's location in the organizational or social hierarchy delimits the possibilities for identity management and development. Specifically, employees in powerful positions often go to great lengths to align their seemingly “real” self with the preferred organizational self. Those in marginal positions often work hard to separate their seemingly “real” selves from the organizationally-prescribed selves. Both paths to identity management have troublesome consequences for organizations and their actors. “Real-izing” the Preferred Self Our analysis of the literature suggests three particular ways in which dominant organizational members make real or “real-ize” the preferred self. In aligning their “real” selves with the prescribed (and preferred) organizational identity, we contend that higher status organization members engage in three different but related identity construction processes: a) engaging in strategized self-subordination (Deetz, 1998); b) crafting perpetually deferred selves

Authors: Tracy, Sarah. and Trethewey, Angela.
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Real-SelfÅÆFake-Self Dichotomy
12
As illustrated in this brief discussion, organizational discourses such as emotion labor
suggest that employees construct “fake” or compartmentalized identities, especially when they
are asked to enact low status or stigmatized selves at work. Meanwhile, managerialism and
entrepreneurialism serve as powerful forces for positing a preferred identity that members should
strive to attain. All these discourses suggest that some selves are “more real,” more valued, and
more esteemed than others. In doing so, these discourses of power reinscribe and reify the
dichotomy between the “real” and the “fake”, and produce specific organizational and individual
outcomes.
Consequences of the Real Self-Fake Self Dichotomy
So, what is the productive power of the dichotomy between the “real” self and “fake”
self? How does the persistence of the dichotomy enable and constrain organizations and
organizational actors? We would argue that the dichotomy encourages subject positions that
ultimately benefit organizations by moving control process from the managers to the employees'
own management of identity. Moreover, we maintain that the employee's location in the
organizational or social hierarchy delimits the possibilities for identity management and
development. Specifically, employees in powerful positions often go to great lengths to align
their seemingly “real” self with the preferred organizational self. Those in marginal positions
often work hard to separate their seemingly “real” selves from the organizationally-prescribed
selves. Both paths to identity management have troublesome consequences for organizations and
their actors.
“Real-izing” the Preferred Self
Our analysis of the literature suggests three particular ways in which dominant
organizational members make real or “real-ize” the preferred self. In aligning their “real” selves
with the prescribed (and preferred) organizational identity, we contend that higher status
organization members engage in three different but related identity construction processes: a)
engaging in strategized self-subordination (Deetz, 1998); b) crafting perpetually deferred selves


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