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Mastery, submission, and subversion: on the performative construction of strategist identity

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Mastery, submission, and subversion : on the performative construction of strategist identity . / Laine, Pikka-Maaria; Meriläinen, Susan; Tienari, Janne; Vaara, Eero.

In: Organization, Vol. 23, No. 4, 07.2016, p. 505-524.

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Laine, Pikka-Maaria ; Meriläinen, Susan ; Tienari, Janne ; Vaara, Eero. / Mastery, submission, and subversion : on the performative construction of strategist identity . In: Organization. 2016 ; Vol. 23, No. 4. pp. 505-524.

Bibtex

@article{c403c7aa2e6849a3b999ee91da358496,
title = "Mastery, submission, and subversion: on the performative construction of strategist identity",
abstract = "While research on strategy-making has begun to focus attention on identity construction, we nevertheless lack a critical understanding of the ways in which socio-historical understandings of strategy are (re)constructed at the level of identity. In this article, we draw on Judith Butler’s theorizing on performative subject formation—first to explore identity constructions grounded in the simultaneity of submitting to and mastering the socio-historical discourses of strategy and second to consider the subversion of discourses and identities enabled by this simultaneity. We distinguish between three performative identity constructions and demonstrate that by submitting to specific understandings of strategy discourses such as the illusion of control (the analytical strategist), omnipotence (the strategic leader), and personal glory (the state-of-the-art strategist), managers face the unattainability of these projects, which drives them to increase their mastery of the dominant discourses in order to win acceptance from others. Highlighting the dynamics of identity construction in strategy-making, we argue that subversion of the dominant discourses and identities is at best subtle. This enables us to better comprehend the persistence of dominant conceptions and related problems in strategy-making such as the overemphasis on technical rationality, anxiety in the face of uncertainty, heightened expectations of heroism, and the inability to engage in genuine dialogue with others and to consider broader social and societal issues as part of strategy-making.",
keywords = "Identity, Judith Butler, mastery, performativity , strategy, submission , subversion",
author = "Pikka-Maaria Laine and Susan Meril{\"a}inen and Janne Tienari and Eero Vaara",
year = "2016",
month = "7",
doi = "10.1177/1350508415575629",
language = "English",
volume = "23",
pages = "505--524",
journal = "Organization",
issn = "1350-5084",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
number = "4",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Mastery, submission, and subversion

T2 - on the performative construction of strategist identity

AU - Laine, Pikka-Maaria

AU - Meriläinen, Susan

AU - Tienari, Janne

AU - Vaara, Eero

PY - 2016/7

Y1 - 2016/7

N2 - While research on strategy-making has begun to focus attention on identity construction, we nevertheless lack a critical understanding of the ways in which socio-historical understandings of strategy are (re)constructed at the level of identity. In this article, we draw on Judith Butler’s theorizing on performative subject formation—first to explore identity constructions grounded in the simultaneity of submitting to and mastering the socio-historical discourses of strategy and second to consider the subversion of discourses and identities enabled by this simultaneity. We distinguish between three performative identity constructions and demonstrate that by submitting to specific understandings of strategy discourses such as the illusion of control (the analytical strategist), omnipotence (the strategic leader), and personal glory (the state-of-the-art strategist), managers face the unattainability of these projects, which drives them to increase their mastery of the dominant discourses in order to win acceptance from others. Highlighting the dynamics of identity construction in strategy-making, we argue that subversion of the dominant discourses and identities is at best subtle. This enables us to better comprehend the persistence of dominant conceptions and related problems in strategy-making such as the overemphasis on technical rationality, anxiety in the face of uncertainty, heightened expectations of heroism, and the inability to engage in genuine dialogue with others and to consider broader social and societal issues as part of strategy-making.

AB - While research on strategy-making has begun to focus attention on identity construction, we nevertheless lack a critical understanding of the ways in which socio-historical understandings of strategy are (re)constructed at the level of identity. In this article, we draw on Judith Butler’s theorizing on performative subject formation—first to explore identity constructions grounded in the simultaneity of submitting to and mastering the socio-historical discourses of strategy and second to consider the subversion of discourses and identities enabled by this simultaneity. We distinguish between three performative identity constructions and demonstrate that by submitting to specific understandings of strategy discourses such as the illusion of control (the analytical strategist), omnipotence (the strategic leader), and personal glory (the state-of-the-art strategist), managers face the unattainability of these projects, which drives them to increase their mastery of the dominant discourses in order to win acceptance from others. Highlighting the dynamics of identity construction in strategy-making, we argue that subversion of the dominant discourses and identities is at best subtle. This enables us to better comprehend the persistence of dominant conceptions and related problems in strategy-making such as the overemphasis on technical rationality, anxiety in the face of uncertainty, heightened expectations of heroism, and the inability to engage in genuine dialogue with others and to consider broader social and societal issues as part of strategy-making.

KW - Identity

KW - Judith Butler

KW - mastery

KW - performativity

KW - strategy

KW - submission

KW - subversion

U2 - 10.1177/1350508415575629

DO - 10.1177/1350508415575629

M3 - Journal article

VL - 23

SP - 505

EP - 524

JO - Organization

JF - Organization

SN - 1350-5084

IS - 4

ER -