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Knowledge work : Ambiguity, image and identity

Alvesson, Mats LU (2001) In Human Relations 54(7). p.863-886
Abstract
This article takes a sceptical view of the functionalist understanding of the nature and significance of ‘knowledge’ in so-called knowledge- intensive companies. The article emphasizes the slipperiness of the concept of knowledge, the ambiguity of knowledge, its role in what is constructed as knowledge work and the evaluation of work outcomes. Given this ambiguity, the management of rhetoric, image and social processes appears crucial in organizations of this kind. Difficulties in demonstrating competence and performance - as well as the significance of producing the right impression - make work identity difficult to secure. However, this is a key element in doing knowledge work. Successful rhetoric, image production and orchestration of... (More)
This article takes a sceptical view of the functionalist understanding of the nature and significance of ‘knowledge’ in so-called knowledge- intensive companies. The article emphasizes the slipperiness of the concept of knowledge, the ambiguity of knowledge, its role in what is constructed as knowledge work and the evaluation of work outcomes. Given this ambiguity, the management of rhetoric, image and social processes appears crucial in organizations of this kind. Difficulties in demonstrating competence and performance - as well as the significance of producing the right impression - make work identity difficult to secure. However, this is a key element in doing knowledge work. Successful rhetoric, image production and orchestration of social interactions call for the regulation of employee identities. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
ambiguity , identity , knowledge-intensive companies , professional services , rhetoric
in
Human Relations
volume
54
issue
7
pages
863 - 886
publisher
SAGE Publications
external identifiers
  • Scopus:0040971873
ISSN
0018-7267
DOI
10.1177/0018726701547004
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
4a23b5b3-2f95-4edc-b5d8-b83bd64d6913
date added to LUP
2016-06-29 09:07:13
date last changed
2016-12-04 04:52:34
@misc{4a23b5b3-2f95-4edc-b5d8-b83bd64d6913,
  abstract     = {This article takes a sceptical view of the functionalist understanding of the nature and significance of ‘knowledge’ in so-called knowledge- intensive companies. The article emphasizes the slipperiness of the concept of knowledge, the ambiguity of knowledge, its role in what is constructed as knowledge work and the evaluation of work outcomes. Given this ambiguity, the management of rhetoric, image and social processes appears crucial in organizations of this kind. Difficulties in demonstrating competence and performance - as well as the significance of producing the right impression - make work identity difficult to secure. However, this is a key element in doing knowledge work. Successful rhetoric, image production and orchestration of social interactions call for the regulation of employee identities. },
  author       = {Alvesson, Mats},
  issn         = {0018-7267},
  keyword      = {ambiguity   ,identity  ,knowledge-intensive companies    ,professional services   ,  rhetoric},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {7},
  pages        = {863--886},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x6c11de0)},
  series       = {Human Relations},
  title        = {Knowledge work : Ambiguity, image and identity},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018726701547004},
  volume       = {54},
  year         = {2001},
}