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Management Consultant Talk: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Normalizing Discourse and Resistance

Merilianen, Susan, Tienari, Janne, Thomas, Robyn and Davies, Annette 2004. Management Consultant Talk: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Normalizing Discourse and Resistance. Organization 11 (4) , pp. 539-564. 10.1177/1350508404044061

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In this article, we explore the discursive possibilities available to men and women when they construct their professional self as ‘knowledge workers’ in multinational management consultancies. We argue that this professional identity construction is embedded in a normalizing, gendered discourse of what it means to be an ‘ideal’ consultant. However, representations of an alternative discourse, which constructs different spheres in an individual’s life, can also be traced in the consultants’ talk. Through a comparison of British and Finnish consultants’ talk, we show the relevance of placing micro-discourses in context. In the UK, discourse on ‘work/life balance’ may be understood as a form of resistance at the level of subjectivity. In Finland, discourse on the ‘balanced individual’ can be seen to be an articulation of a societally bound normalizing discourse. The cultural context can thus be said to have an effect on forms of resistance in knowledge work.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Uncontrolled Keywords: discourse gender identity management consultants resistance
ISSN: 13505084
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 12:48

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