Project managers on the edge: liminality and identity in the management of technical work

Steve Paton, Damian Hodgson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    8 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper explores the consequences of ‘corporate professionalization’ through an analysis of the experiences of technical specialists adopting the position of project manager. Shifts towards ‘corporate professionalism’ in this and other occupations result in a tension between competing logics, the logic of the traditional profession versus another focused on delivery of market value for clients/employers. Living with this tension places project managers in a ‘liminal’ position in two ways; they find themselves in a liminal position created first by the transition from a technical specialist role into a managerial role and second as they occupy the space between the often opposing institutions of profession and employing organisation. Drawing on empirical data gathered within a project-based industry and referring to Gouldner’s ‘cosmopolitan’ and ‘local’ typologies, we explore the ‘identity work’ engaged in by project managers as they attempt to creatively negotiate the tensions inherent in the role.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages26-40
    Number of pages15
    JournalNew Technology, Work and Employment
    Volume31
    Issue number1
    Early online date21 Mar 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2016

    Fingerprint

    Managers
    manager
    management
    profession
    professionalization
    typology
    employer
    occupation
    Project manager
    Liminality
    industry
    Industry
    market
    experience
    Logic
    Employers
    Identity work
    Professionalism
    Managerial roles
    Professionalization

    Keywords

    • corporate professions
    • local
    • cosmopolitan
    • liminality
    • identity
    • project management

    Cite this

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    Project managers on the edge : liminality and identity in the management of technical work. / Paton, Steve; Hodgson, Damian.

    In: New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol. 31, No. 1, 31.03.2016, p. 26-40.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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