The Other side of ‘us’: alterity construction and identification work in the context of planned change

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The Other side of ‘us’ : alterity construction and identification work in the context of planned change. / Skovgaard-Smith , Irene; Soekijad , Maura; Down, Simon.

In: Human Relations, 24.10.2019.

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@article{b591c600b26441619d772453b7770943,
title = "The Other side of {\textquoteleft}us{\textquoteright}: alterity construction and identification work in the context of planned change",
abstract = "How do we use the Other to make sense of who we are? A common assumption is that people positively affirm social identities by excluding an inferior Other. This article challenges that restricted notion by focusing on the variation and situational fluidity of alterity construction (othering) in identification work. Based on an ethnographic study of a change project in a public hospital, we examine how nurses, surgeons, medical secretaries, and external management consultants constructed Others/otherness. Depending on micro-situations, different actors reciprocally differentiated one another horizontally and/or vertically and some also appropriated otherness in certain situations by either crossing boundaries or by collapsing them. The article contributes to theorizing on identification work and its consequences by offering a conceptualisation of the variety of othering in everyday interaction. It further highlights relational agency in the co-construction of social identities/alterities. Through reciprocal othering, {\textquoteleft}self{\textquoteright} and {\textquoteleft}other{\textquoteright} mutually construct one another in interaction, enabled and constrained by structural contexts while simultaneously taking part in constituting them. As such, othering plays a key role in organizing processes that involve encounters and negotiations between different work- and occupational groups. ",
keywords = "agency, alterity, ethnography, healthcare change, identification, identity work, lean management, management consulting, organization change, othering, public hospital",
author = "Irene Skovgaard-Smith and Maura Soekijad and Simon Down",
year = "2019",
month = oct,
day = "24",
doi = "10.1177/0018726719872525",
language = "English",
journal = "Human Relations",
issn = "0018-7267",
publisher = "SAGE Publications",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Other side of ‘us’

T2 - alterity construction and identification work in the context of planned change

AU - Skovgaard-Smith , Irene

AU - Soekijad , Maura

AU - Down, Simon

PY - 2019/10/24

Y1 - 2019/10/24

N2 - How do we use the Other to make sense of who we are? A common assumption is that people positively affirm social identities by excluding an inferior Other. This article challenges that restricted notion by focusing on the variation and situational fluidity of alterity construction (othering) in identification work. Based on an ethnographic study of a change project in a public hospital, we examine how nurses, surgeons, medical secretaries, and external management consultants constructed Others/otherness. Depending on micro-situations, different actors reciprocally differentiated one another horizontally and/or vertically and some also appropriated otherness in certain situations by either crossing boundaries or by collapsing them. The article contributes to theorizing on identification work and its consequences by offering a conceptualisation of the variety of othering in everyday interaction. It further highlights relational agency in the co-construction of social identities/alterities. Through reciprocal othering, ‘self’ and ‘other’ mutually construct one another in interaction, enabled and constrained by structural contexts while simultaneously taking part in constituting them. As such, othering plays a key role in organizing processes that involve encounters and negotiations between different work- and occupational groups.

AB - How do we use the Other to make sense of who we are? A common assumption is that people positively affirm social identities by excluding an inferior Other. This article challenges that restricted notion by focusing on the variation and situational fluidity of alterity construction (othering) in identification work. Based on an ethnographic study of a change project in a public hospital, we examine how nurses, surgeons, medical secretaries, and external management consultants constructed Others/otherness. Depending on micro-situations, different actors reciprocally differentiated one another horizontally and/or vertically and some also appropriated otherness in certain situations by either crossing boundaries or by collapsing them. The article contributes to theorizing on identification work and its consequences by offering a conceptualisation of the variety of othering in everyday interaction. It further highlights relational agency in the co-construction of social identities/alterities. Through reciprocal othering, ‘self’ and ‘other’ mutually construct one another in interaction, enabled and constrained by structural contexts while simultaneously taking part in constituting them. As such, othering plays a key role in organizing processes that involve encounters and negotiations between different work- and occupational groups.

KW - agency

KW - alterity

KW - ethnography

KW - healthcare change

KW - identification

KW - identity work

KW - lean management

KW - management consulting

KW - organization change

KW - othering

KW - public hospital

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85074484724&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0018726719872525

DO - 10.1177/0018726719872525

M3 - Article

JO - Human Relations

JF - Human Relations

SN - 0018-7267

ER -