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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 5 “fake” self. This dichotomy ultimately enables the discursive production of organizationally- preferred member identities that are understood and experienced as either “real” or “fake” by organizational members. In lower status, marginal and stigmatized positions, organizational members are encouraged to and oftentimes consider their “real” self as separate from the organizationally-defined self. In being admonished to perform their “fake” selves in service of organizational goals, goods, and services, many lower-status employees label their organizational selves as “fake” and/or compartmentalize public and private selves (Collinson, 1992; Nippert- Eng, 1995). In contrast, empirical evidence suggests that employees in high status or powerful positions are encouraged to align their seemingly “true” or “real” self with the preferred organizational self. The dichotomy has several specific discursive and material implications for members and organizations. We specifically argue that it encourages strategized self- subordination, perpetually-deferred identities, “auto-dressage,” and the production of organizationally-preferred “good little copers” (Newton, 1995, p. 60). We close the analysis by suggesting the possibilities of an alternative vocabulary that may provide ways of talking about and reflecting upon identities that are understood as neither “real” nor “fake” but, rather, as “crystallized.” We tease out this notion of a supplemental vocabulary, suggesting various plays on words, and the possibilities they may provide. Linguistic alternatives that capture the politicized and transformative nature of critical conceptualizations of identity, we might aid in the translation of organizational theory to practice (Allen, 2002; Ashcraft, 2002; Cheney, Wilhelmsson, & Zorn; Kuhn, 2002; Tracy, 2002; Trethewey, 2002). This vocabulary may provide an opportunity for folks to talk, write, and practice ways of being that disrupt and reframe dichotomizing depoliticizing discourses. In doing so, our hope is that the transformative potential of critical organizational communication scholars may be more readily embraced in everyday talk and practice.

Authors: Tracy, Sarah. and Trethewey, Angela.
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Real-SelfÅÆFake-Self Dichotomy
5
“fake” self. This dichotomy ultimately enables the discursive production of organizationally-
preferred member identities that are understood and experienced as either “real” or “fake” by
organizational members. In lower status, marginal and stigmatized positions, organizational
members are encouraged to and oftentimes consider their “real” self as separate from the
organizationally-defined self. In being admonished to perform their “fake” selves in service of
organizational goals, goods, and services, many lower-status employees label their organizational
selves as “fake” and/or compartmentalize public and private selves (Collinson, 1992; Nippert-
Eng, 1995). In contrast, empirical evidence suggests that employees in high status or powerful
positions are encouraged to align their seemingly “true” or “real” self with the preferred
organizational self. The dichotomy has several specific discursive and material implications for
members and organizations. We specifically argue that it encourages strategized self-
subordination, perpetually-deferred identities, “auto-dressage,” and the production of
organizationally-preferred “good little copers” (Newton, 1995, p. 60).
We close the analysis by suggesting the possibilities of an alternative vocabulary that
may provide ways of talking about and reflecting upon identities that are understood as neither
“real” nor “fake” but, rather, as “crystallized.” We tease out this notion of a supplemental
vocabulary, suggesting various plays on words, and the possibilities they may provide. Linguistic
alternatives that capture the politicized and transformative nature of critical conceptualizations of
identity, we might aid in the translation of organizational theory to practice (Allen, 2002;
Ashcraft, 2002; Cheney, Wilhelmsson, & Zorn; Kuhn, 2002; Tracy, 2002; Trethewey, 2002).
This vocabulary may provide an opportunity for folks to talk, write, and practice ways of being
that disrupt and reframe dichotomizing depoliticizing discourses. In doing so, our hope is that the
transformative potential of critical organizational communication scholars may be more readily
embraced in everyday talk and practice.


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