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Bricolage and identity work

Visscher, Klaasjan, Heusinkveld, Stefan and O'Mahoney, Joe ORCID: 2018. Bricolage and identity work. British Journal of Management 29 (2) , pp. 356-372. 10.1111/1467-8551.12220

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Levi-Strauss’ concept of bricolage has been used widely in a variety of management and organisational studies to highlight creative ‘situational tinkering’. Yet, we know little about ‘the bricoleur’ beyond the assumption of a functional agent responding to conditions of resource scarcity or environmental complexity. As such, studies offer limited possibilities in explaining the occurrence of bricolage in absence of external demands, nor much about who the bricoleur is. Drawing on 136 in-depth interviews with management consultants, our study argues for a richer understanding of bricolage by exploring the identity of the bricoleur. In doing so, the paper achieves three outcomes. First, it uses the original symbolic and cultural insights of bricolage made by Levi-Strauss to detail how bricoleur identities are constructed; Second, it highlights how different organisational strategies enable and constrain the pursuit of bricoleur identities; Finally, it emphasises the bricoleur’s status as primarily an aspirational elite identity in the context of consultancy work, in contrast to its usual treatment as a ‘low status’ activity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1045-3172
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 January 2017
Date of Acceptance: 1 January 2017
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 10:00

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