Cages in Tandem: Management Control, Social Identity and Identification in a Kowledge-Intensive Firm

Dan Kärreman, Mats Alvesson

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Developments in organization studies downplay the role of bureaucracy in favour of more flexible arrangements and forms of organizational control, including socio-ideological control. Corporate culture and regulated social identities are assumed to provide means for the integration and orchestration of work. Knowledge-intensive firms, which typically draw heavily upon socio-ideological modes of control, are often singled out as organizational forms that use social identity and the corporatization of the self as a mode for managerial control. In this article we explore and discuss social identity and identification in a large IT/management consultancy firm with a strong presence of socio-ideological or normative control, but also with strong bureaucratic features. Structural forms of control-formal HRM procedures and performance pressures are considered in relation to socio-ideological control. We identify organizational and individual consequences of identification in a context of social, structural, and cultural 'closures' and contradictions, including the tendency to create an 'iron cage of subjectivity'.
Sider (fra-til)149-175
StatusUdgivet - 2004
Udgivet eksterntJa