The Bored Self in Knowledge Work

Jana Costas, Dan Kärreman

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    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
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)61-83
    Number of pages23
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Boredom
    • Identity regulation
    • Identity work
    • Knowledge work

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