Unpacking the ambiguous work of middle managers: on the ongoing becoming in liminality

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Abstract

In this article, I propose that the work of middle managers can meaningfully be conceptualized as a form of liminal work herby drawing attention to the interstitial (spatial) and temporary (temporal) elements of organizing and work. Building on a case study of emerging middle management positions within schools in Denmark, I show that working ‘in’ the middle is demarcated by entanglements of spatio-temporalities and other discourse-materialities producing a liminal friction that reconfigures this work as permanently liminal. Inspired by new materialism and the work of Karen Barad, I utilize the concept of spacetimemattering to analytically unpack these work practices that materialize in and through multiple times and spaces and matter and thereby elucidate the constitutive processes and performative effects of the ambiguous work of middle managers. To this end, the article offers an analytical understanding that expands a focus on hierarchical forms of organizing as a core issue of ambiguity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCulture and Organization
ISSN1475-9551
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2022

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