Performing the responsive and committed employee through the sociomaterial mangle of connection

Symon, Gillian and Pritchard, Katrina (2015). Performing the responsive and committed employee through the sociomaterial mangle of connection. Organization Studies, 36(2) pp. 241–263.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840614556914

Abstract

In the light of increasingly mobile and flexible work, maintaining connections to work is presented as vital. Various studies have sought to understand how these connections are experienced and managed, particularly through the use of smartphones (e.g. Mazmanian, Orlikowski & Yates, 2013). We take a new perspective on this practice by bringing together the conceptual fields of sociomateriality (Pickering, 1995) and identity work (Svenningsson & Alvesson, 2003). Through the analysis of narratives produced by smartphone users in an engineering firm we argue that connection can be viewed as a sociomaterial assemblage that performs particular identities: being contactable and responsive; being involved and committed; and being in-demand and authoritative. Through this analysis we both elaborate the concept of connectivity at work and indicate how the material is implicated in identity performances.

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