The Bored Self in Knowledge Work

Jana Costas, Dan Kärreman

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    Abstract

    This article draws attention to reported experiences of boredom in knowledge work. Drawing on extensive qualitative data gathered at two management consultancy firms, we analyze these experiences as a particular interaction with identity regulation and work experiences. We conceptualize the reports of the bored self as a combination of unfilled aspirations and the sense of stagnation, leading to an arrested identity. Our contribution is to expand extant conceptualizations of employee interactions with identity regulation, in particular relating to identity work and identification. The findings provide a critical rendering of the glamourized image of knowledge work.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalHuman Relations
    Volume69
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)61-83
    Number of pages23
    ISSN0018-7267
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Keywords

    • Boredom
    • Identity regulation
    • Identity work
    • Knowledge work

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