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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 16 class) others for services (e.g., cleaning, dog-grooming) so that she could devote all her energies to work. Beth took only two days off a month, a fact that she seemed to be proud of. And what type of organization demanded such loyalty, sacrifice and commitment? Beth worked for herself. The substance of Beth’s work philosophy is perhaps unremarkable, it’s the absence that is telling. In her narrative of what it means to be successful, Beth takes pride in “working hard.” What we fail to hear from Beth (and similar career women) is mention of making difficult choices to do qualitatively better work or engage in more fulfilling work. Rather, it’s simply about doing more work. Similarly, while Hochschild’s (1997) Amerco management claimed to offer extremely progressive work-family programs, when employees actually began to press for more time at home, managers admitted they were just as concerned with employees’ “face-time” at work as they were with whether they actually got the job done. Hochschild (1997) tells the story of Bill, a top personnel manager at Amerco who “refused to accept…the meritocratic principle suggested by some, ‘Judge the work, not the face time’” (p. 69). Bill’s preferred principle was this: “The time a worker works in and of itself, has to count as much as the results accomplished within that time. Time is a symbol of commitment” (p. 69). And who demanded such long hours? According to Bill, “No one tells us to work long hours….We impose it on ourselves” (p. 57). This type of activity, therefore, is not just about surveilling the self on behalf of management (or strategized self-subordination). Neither is it just performing unnatural activity for another’s sake (dressage). It is activity that fails to produce any tangible good or service. Rather, the primary product of such work is a preferred managerialist identity. Employees willingly engage in nonproductive, nonutilitarian work to “real-ize” an identity that is preferred as much by the self as it is for any audience or master; it is control and discipline for the sake of the self—auto-dressage. Faking the Preferred Self Higher status managers and other professionals are certainly not alone in having to negotiate the construction of a preferred self at work. While dominant organizational members

Authors: Tracy, Sarah. and Trethewey, Angela.
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Real-SelfÅÆFake-Self Dichotomy
16
class) others for services (e.g., cleaning, dog-grooming) so that she could devote all her energies
to work. Beth took only two days off a month, a fact that she seemed to be proud of. And what
type of organization demanded such loyalty, sacrifice and commitment? Beth worked for herself.
The substance of Beth’s work philosophy is perhaps unremarkable, it’s the absence that
is telling. In her narrative of what it means to be successful, Beth takes pride in “working hard.”
What we fail to hear from Beth (and similar career women) is mention of making difficult choices
to do qualitatively better work or engage in more fulfilling work. Rather, it’s simply about doing
more work. Similarly, while Hochschild’s (1997) Amerco management claimed to offer
extremely progressive work-family programs, when employees actually began to press for more
time at home, managers admitted they were just as concerned with employees’ “face-time” at
work as they were with whether they actually got the job done. Hochschild (1997) tells the story
of Bill, a top personnel manager at Amerco who “refused to accept…the meritocratic principle
suggested by some, ‘Judge the work, not the face time’” (p. 69). Bill’s preferred principle was
this: “The time a worker works in and of itself, has to count as much as the results accomplished
within that time. Time is a symbol of commitment” (p. 69). And who demanded such long hours?
According to Bill, “No one tells us to work long hours….We impose it on ourselves” (p. 57).
This type of activity, therefore, is not just about surveilling the self on behalf of
management (or strategized self-subordination). Neither is it just performing unnatural activity
for another’s sake (dressage). It is activity that fails to produce any tangible good or service.
Rather, the primary product of such work is a preferred managerialist identity. Employees
willingly engage in nonproductive, nonutilitarian work to “real-ize” an identity that is preferred as
much by the self as it is for any audience or master; it is control and discipline for the sake of the
self—auto-dressage.
Faking the Preferred Self
Higher status managers and other professionals are certainly not alone in having to
negotiate the construction of a preferred self at work. While dominant organizational members


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