Mediating ambiguity: Narrative identity and knowledge workers


Mallett O & Wapshott R (2012) Mediating ambiguity: Narrative identity and knowledge workers. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 28 (1), pp. 16-26.;

Drawing on Paul Ricoeur's approach to narrative identity and a longitudinal case study of a graphic design firm, this paper explores identity work provoked by organisational changes for one group of knowledge workers, graphic designers. The approach to identity work developed in this paper illuminates how these knowledge workers use narrative to mediate between social and personal identities during a period of significant organisational change. The narrative identity approach, derived from Ricoeur, embraces the multiplicity, complexity and potential contradictions encountered by knowledge workers facing threats to their personal identity. In addition to developing Ricoeur's thinking to understand identity work in an organisational context, the impact of organisational change for knowledge workers is highlighted for practitioners.

Ricoeur; Knowledge work; Identity work; Narrative identity; Mediation; Designers

Scandinavian Journal of Management: Volume 28, Issue 1

FundersUniversity of Durham
Publication date31/03/2012
Publication date online17/01/2012
Date accepted by journal31/05/2011
PublisherElsevier BV
Publisher URL…0956522111001138