Living with contradictions:the dynamics of senior managers’ identity tensions in relation to sustainability

Allen, Stephen and Marshall, Judi and Easterby-Smith, Mark (2015) Living with contradictions:the dynamics of senior managers’ identity tensions in relation to sustainability. Organization and Environment, 28 (3). pp. 328-348. ISSN 1086-0266

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In this article, we investigate how senior managers located in Northern Europe in the energy and power industry coordinate their recognition of sustainability challenges with other things they say and do. Identity theory is used to examine the fine-grained work through which the managers navigate identities and potentially competing narratives. In contrast with other studies we find that pursuing cohering identities and resolving potential tensions and contradictions does not appear to matter for most of the managers. We explore the dynamics of how managers live with apparent contradictions and tensions without threat to their narrative coherence. We extend existing research into managerial identities and sustainability by showing how managers combine different potentially contrasting identity types, identifying nine discursive processes through which the majority of managers distance and deflect sustainability issues away from themselves and their companies, and, showing the contrasting identity dynamics in the case of one manager to whom narrative coherence becomes important and prompts alternative action.

Item Type: Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title: Organization and Environment
Uncontrolled Keywords: /dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1400/1407
Departments: Lancaster University Management School > Management Learning & Leadership
ID Code: 75959
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 16 Mar 2016 09:16
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2020 07:54

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