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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 7 little organizational space, literally or figuratively, was afforded for acting out a non-smiley, non- organizationally-prescribed self. This phenomenon is also common in jobs in which employees are expected to be strong, stoic or neutral in demeanor. Training manuals instruct emergency 911 call-takers not to “feel” calm, neutral and friendly, but rather just to “appear” and “sound” this way (Tracy & Tracy, 1998). Likewise, in jobs that are particularly stigmatized, such as working as a correctional officer, employees are encouraged to keep a clear distinction between work and home life and not “allow” the job to change their “real” self (Tracy, 2001). Echoing management dictates in their talk, many correctional officers resisted the idea of “letting” the organization change their identities and seemed to think that if they did change, it would be inevitably for the worse. As one correctional officer said, One of my academy teachers…gave us a piece of paper with [the words] love, family, honesty, trust…and you were supposed to…rank them in terms of importance…now [and] what do you think you’re going to be like in 20 years… I thought, okay, one, that’s one, that’s two, that’s seven, that’s twenty, whatever and I went down to the bottom and I thought, why would it change? So I put the same numbers but a lot of people changed them. [The trainer] said, “Why would you change? Yeah, this profession does change people, but you need to be better than that.”…. I’ll change because I want to. Something’s not going to make me change. (Tracy, 2001, p. 265). From this employee’s point of view, changing in this stigmatized job was not associated with growth, but rather was akin with mutation or decay. Likewise, Collinson (1992) notes how organizational members go to great lengths to protect their “real” and private selves from organizational demands. A factory worker said, “Why should I take my work home? The job has no effect on me whatsoever…I switch off completely at home” (Collinson, 1992, p. 163). By holding onto a dichotomy between a “real” and organizationally-prescribed self, these employees thought they could also hold onto a more desirable non-organizationally-prescribed identity.

Authors: Tracy, Sarah. and Trethewey, Angela.
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background image
Real-SelfÅÆFake-Self Dichotomy
7
little organizational space, literally or figuratively, was afforded for acting out a non-smiley, non-
organizationally-prescribed self.
This phenomenon is also common in jobs in which employees are expected to be strong,
stoic or neutral in demeanor. Training manuals instruct emergency 911 call-takers not to “feel”
calm, neutral and friendly, but rather just to “appear” and “sound” this way (Tracy & Tracy, 1998).
Likewise, in jobs that are particularly stigmatized, such as working as a correctional officer,
employees are encouraged to keep a clear distinction between work and home life and not “allow”
the job to change their “real” self (Tracy, 2001). Echoing management dictates in their talk, many
correctional officers resisted the idea of “letting” the organization change their identities and
seemed to think that if they did change, it would be inevitably for the worse. As one correctional
officer said,
One of my academy teachers…gave us a piece of paper with [the words] love, family,
honesty, trust…and you were supposed to…rank them in terms of importance…now [and]
what do you think you’re going to be like in 20 years… I thought, okay, one, that’s one,
that’s two, that’s seven, that’s twenty, whatever and I went down to the bottom and I
thought, why would it change? So I put the same numbers but a lot of people changed
them. [The trainer] said, “Why would you change? Yeah, this profession does change
people, but you need to be better than that.”…. I’ll change because I want to. Something’s
not going to make me change. (Tracy, 2001, p. 265).
From this employee’s point of view, changing in this stigmatized job was not associated with
growth, but rather was akin with mutation or decay. Likewise, Collinson (1992) notes how
organizational members go to great lengths to protect their “real” and private selves from
organizational demands. A factory worker said, “Why should I take my work home? The job has
no effect on me whatsoever…I switch off completely at home” (Collinson, 1992, p. 163). By
holding onto a dichotomy between a “real” and organizationally-prescribed self, these employees
thought they could also hold onto a more desirable non-organizationally-prescribed identity.


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