Golfing with a murderer-Professional indifference and identity work in a Danish prison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Employees often use dis-identification strategies such as humor or cynicism to cope with emotional difficulties at work. In this paper, we show how dis-identification collapses among Danish correctional officers because of specific emotional contradictions arising from the 'dirty' aspects of their work. Correctional officers face the emotional dilemma of having to both get involved with the inmates to rehabilitate them and be suspicious of them to maintain security. At the same time, they have to deal with the stigma of their job and cannot easily vent their emotional experiences with outsiders. It therefore becomes difficult to uphold a positive and coherent sense of self. In order to maintain a dignified sense of self and a positive attitude towards work correctional officers construct a space of professional indifference. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Jeanette Lemmergaard
  • Sara Louise Muhr
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration


  • Correctional officers, Dirty work, Dis-identification, Emotion labor, Identity work, Professional indifference
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-195
JournalScandinavian Journal of Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch