Bricolage and identity work

K.J. Visscher, H.S. Heusinkveld, J. O'Mahoney

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Management
StateAccepted/In press - 2018

Cite this

Visscher, K.J.; Heusinkveld, H.S.; O'Mahoney, J. / Bricolage and identity work.

In: British Journal of Management, 2018.

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

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Bricolage and identity work. / Visscher, K.J.; Heusinkveld, H.S.; O'Mahoney, J.

In: British Journal of Management, 2018.

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

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