Volvo for life? An Investigation into Identity Work at Volvo Cars Torslanda

Stephan Schaefer, Tony Huzzard, Iselin Sommereng

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceedingpeer-review


Our paper aims at making two contributions surrounding the broad discussion of subjectivity in Labour Process Theory (LPT). The first contribution is the proposition of a theoretical model to facilitate the understanding of the processes underpinning the construction of shop floor workers´ self-identities based on discursive managerial regulation. Additionally, the findings of the study are used to make a contribution to the general discussion surrounding the “missing subject” in LPT (Thompson, 1990). The study was conducted at a large car manufacturing plant located in Sweden. Drawing on the identity regulation model proposed by Alvesson and Willmott (2002) we unpack the notion of self-identity at the workplace along two dimensions, organisational affiliation and the locus of control. Our findings neither lend support to the voluntarist nor the determinist position of LPT. It seems that there is the equivocal notion of a juxtaposition of the orthodox and the subjectivist view on the labour process consolidated in just one dimension of identity work namely the locus of control. This observation leads to the claim that the “missing subject” in the labour process is given the role of a medium which ultimately assigns the features to the labour process by engaging in identity work.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventInternational Labour Process Conference, 2009: Work Matters - The Apex Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 2009 Apr 62009 Apr 8
Conference number: 27


ConferenceInternational Labour Process Conference, 2009
Abbreviated titleILPC
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Work Sciences
  • Economics


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