The Production and Consumption of Meaning at Work
Edited by Matthew J. Brannan, Elizabeth Parsons and Vincenza Priola
Chapter 3: Be Who You Want To Be: Branding, Identity and the Desire for Authenticity
Christopher Land and Scott Taylor Introduction: branding authenticity Contemporary managers often profess concern with employees’ lives outside the workplace. Mental health, physical well-being and recreational pastimes are all subjects of managerial interest and have been since before Henry Ford created his department of sociology in the early twentieth century (Clarke, 1990). As the range of counselling, coaching and employee assistance initiatives demonstrate, managers are concerned with regulating employees’ behaviour in their private lives, for example with respect to alcohol and drug use (Hansen, 2004; Wray-Bliss, 2009). In the current corporate context, regulation has extended from the physical to the emotional and the metaphysical, so that even employee spiritual life is considered a fair target for managerial intervention (Bell and Taylor, 2003). In a broader social context managerial discourses and practices permeate the governance of everyday life so that in our careers, with friends, at home with family, and in our leisure time, we are encouraged to manage our selves and relationships such that life increasingly resembles a project of work (Hancock and Tyler, 2009). The boundary between work and life is permeable in both directions, however. Just as work and managerialism leak into non-work spaces and moments, so employees’ non-work lives spill over into workplaces, often using the same technologies that are associated with flexible working and the extension of work into life (Wajcman et al., 2008). While this movement can be characterized as a form of resistance if it is seen as an appropriation of time and resources, it...
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