Authenticity, Solidarity, and Freedom

Peter Fleming

in Authenticity and the Cultural Politics of Work

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780199547159
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720024 | DOI:
Authenticity, Solidarity, and Freedom

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Authenticity has always been associated with freedom. If we are free to express our true selves and feelings, then we are also initiating an act of emancipation. The corporatized version of authenticity renders it into a very individualist expression of identity. It is what makes us different and unique compared to the mass of other workers in the firm that defines our authenticity. This chapter rethinks the notion of authenticity. It argues that there are many ways in which freedom and authentic selfhood might be interconnected, some of which are based around solidarity and collective understandings of work. The chapter explores three versions of freedom and the authentic expressions of self that accompany them: freedom through work, freedom around work, and freedom from work. The first two approaches are the most popular in organizations today, but are also open to appropriation by the ‘just be yourself’ management approach. The third position, freedom from work, is perhaps the only way a full version of authenticity might be achieved without it being a slave to the corporation. The implications of this analysis are explored in relation to workplace politics in the contemporary organization.

Keywords: authenticity; collective identity; freedom; individualism; liberalism; politics; solidarity

Chapter.  8792 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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