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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 17 strive to align a “real” self with a preferred identity, employees in lower-status, marginal, distasteful and difficult jobs are encouraged to separate their organizational and non-organization selves and perform a seemingly “fake,” yet organizationally-preferred, persona at work. For instance, women, who serve in many organizationally-marginalized positions, are often admonished to perform a “phony” self at work, one that is more in keeping with preferred (and masculinized) organizational identities. Women are encouraged to leave their privatized “real” (often debased and devalued female) self outside the organization's doors or at least hide it as best they can behind “appropriate” dress, language, and behaviors (Ashcraft, 1999; Nadesan & Trethewey, 2000, Trethewey, 1999a). Even in “female” organizations in which members claim to value “feminine” relational orientations, women often describe their “real” selves in negative terms. For instance, Ashcraft & Pacanowsky (1996) found that female employees described each other’s conflict management strategies in terms of “jabs” “cattiness” and “pettiness” (p. 229) while embracing “certain ‘male’ ways of doing and being.” (p. 233). That which is considered inherently “real” about women’s identity is often marginalized at work, and if females are to be successful, they best fake it to make it. Such processes serve to foster an individual who defines her self-worth in regard to her ability attain the preferred organizational self “in spite of” her “real” (hidden, shameful) self. In other words, the preferred identity strives to become a “good coper—someone who can do her job well, who is a good little worker” (Newton, 1995, p. 60). Indeed, Newton (1995) claims that “the best copers, it seems, are those who see the job as all about acting; they treat the emotional performance as a game into which they switch in or out” (p. 130). Marginalized workers, perhaps (not?) coincidently, are also encouraged to find their “real” selves outside of work. As a case in point, correctional officers, whose duties include conducting strip searches and violently taking down inmates, are encouraged to “leave home at home and work at work” (Tracy, 2001, p. 175). Indeed, in a seeming effort to protect their real

Authors: Tracy, Sarah. and Trethewey, Angela.
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Real-SelfÅÆFake-Self Dichotomy
17
strive to align a “real” self with a preferred identity, employees in lower-status, marginal,
distasteful and difficult jobs are encouraged to separate their organizational and non-organization
selves and perform a seemingly “fake,” yet organizationally-preferred, persona at work. For
instance, women, who serve in many organizationally-marginalized positions, are often
admonished to perform a “phony” self at work, one that is more in keeping with preferred (and
masculinized) organizational identities. Women are encouraged to leave their privatized “real”
(often debased and devalued female) self outside the organization's doors or at least hide it as best
they can behind “appropriate” dress, language, and behaviors (Ashcraft, 1999; Nadesan &
Trethewey, 2000, Trethewey, 1999a). Even in “female” organizations in which members claim to
value “feminine” relational orientations, women often describe their “real” selves in negative
terms.
For instance, Ashcraft & Pacanowsky (1996) found that female employees described
each other’s conflict management strategies in terms of “jabs” “cattiness” and “pettiness” (p. 229)
while embracing “certain ‘male’ ways of doing and being.” (p. 233). That which is considered
inherently “real” about women’s identity is often marginalized at work, and if females are to be
successful, they best fake it to make it. Such processes serve to foster an individual who defines
her self-worth in regard to her ability attain the preferred organizational self “in spite of” her
“real” (hidden, shameful) self. In other words, the preferred identity strives to become a “good
coper—someone who can do her job well, who is a good little worker” (Newton, 1995, p. 60).
Indeed, Newton (1995) claims that “the best copers, it seems, are those who see the job as all
about acting; they treat the emotional performance as a game into which they switch in or out” (p.
130).
Marginalized workers, perhaps (not?) coincidently, are also encouraged to find their
“real” selves outside of work. As a case in point, correctional officers, whose duties include
conducting strip searches and violently taking down inmates, are encouraged to “leave home at
home and work at work” (Tracy, 2001, p. 175). Indeed, in a seeming effort to protect their real


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