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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 6 Constructing the Real Self-Fake Self Dichotomy In order to lay bare the ways in which the real self-fake self dichotomy is constructed in everyday life, we first turn to an examination of “emotion labor”—considered to be the “the management of feelings to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display” to be “sold for a wage” (Hochschild, 1983, p. 7). “Faking” It Organizational and management research has examined how 911 operators maintain calm demeanors during emergencies (Shuler & Sypher, 2000; Tracy & Tracy, 1998), the ways caregivers break emotion rules to gain leeway in developing workplace identities (Morgan & Krone, 2001), the guilt felt by university instructors as they juggle professionalism with emotional sensitivity in the face of tragedy (Miller, 2002), and the ways that emotion interacts with sales among supermarket cashiers (Rafaeli & Sutton, 1990). A theme underlying these and other emotion labor studies is the challenge of upholding a certain face/demeanor/personality for the sake of the organization, and navigating the ways this face simultaneously intersects with and denies aspects of the self that are not organizationally-specified. Indeed, it is difficult to discuss issues of emotion labor without reifying the dichotomy between the fake self-real self. Why is this so? First, the dichotomy is subtly manufactured through the organizational norms that structure professions marked by emotion labor. Emotion labor norms often encourage employees, especially those in low-status, service-oriented positions, to think of their organizational identity as being separate from their “real” identity. Cruise ship service credos tell crew members to “smile, you’re on stage” (Tracy, 2000), a mandate that casts employees as performers. Presumably workers do not have to actually be happy; they just have to act happy when they are in front of passengers (and each other). However, Tracy (2000) found that employees were unable to specify when they could ever be “off-stage,” and, as a result, she argued that backstage served as a “myth” (p. 113). Therefore, while the organizational norms (and employees’ talk) perpetuated a real self-fake self dichotomy,

Authors: Tracy, Sarah. and Trethewey, Angela.
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Real-SelfÅÆFake-Self Dichotomy
6
Constructing the Real Self-Fake Self Dichotomy
In order to lay bare the ways in which the real self-fake self dichotomy is constructed in
everyday life, we first turn to an examination of “emotion labor”—considered to be the “the
management of feelings to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display” to be “sold for
a wage” (Hochschild, 1983, p. 7).
“Faking” It
Organizational and management research has examined how 911 operators maintain calm
demeanors during emergencies (Shuler & Sypher, 2000; Tracy & Tracy, 1998), the ways
caregivers break emotion rules to gain leeway in developing workplace identities (Morgan &
Krone, 2001), the guilt felt by university instructors as they juggle professionalism with
emotional sensitivity in the face of tragedy (Miller, 2002), and the ways that emotion interacts
with sales among supermarket cashiers (Rafaeli & Sutton, 1990). A theme underlying these and
other emotion labor studies is the challenge of upholding a certain face/demeanor/personality for
the sake of the organization, and navigating the ways this face simultaneously intersects with and
denies aspects of the self that are not organizationally-specified.
Indeed, it is difficult to discuss issues of emotion labor without reifying the dichotomy
between the fake self-real self. Why is this so? First, the dichotomy is subtly manufactured
through the organizational norms that structure professions marked by emotion labor. Emotion
labor norms often encourage employees, especially those in low-status, service-oriented
positions, to think of their organizational identity as being separate from their “real” identity.
Cruise ship service credos tell crew members to “smile, you’re on stage” (Tracy, 2000), a
mandate that casts employees as performers. Presumably workers do not have to actually be
happy; they just have to act happy when they are in front of passengers (and each other).
However, Tracy (2000) found that employees were unable to specify when they could ever be
“off-stage,” and, as a result, she argued that backstage served as a “myth” (p. 113). Therefore,
while the organizational norms (and employees’ talk) perpetuated a real self-fake self dichotomy,


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