Image, Imageability and the Intrepreneur: Exploring the Politics of Knowledge Work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


Although previous studies have shown that image production and visibility are central aspects of knowledge work, the assumption has been that this aspect of work is focused externally to support the organizational image and or uphold relationships with clients. In contrast, this paper explores the politics of knowledge work internally by focusing on how entrepreneurial employees in innovative knowledge work contexts advance personal agendas through constructing images of their own talent and indispensability. We propose the concept of imageability to capture the capacity of such employees to conduct image work that is internally focused as a key element of what authors have termed political entrepreneurship in organizations. From a case study of a maverick employee in an IT service firm we draw on Erving Goffman to show how expertise and indispensability are constructed through his image work. The nature of the image work in question is illustrated and the case also shows how he deploys imageability as a central aspect of political entrepreneurship. Finally we argue for an extension of Crozier’s earlier work on power in that in the specific context of knowledge work, those who are skilled at imageability are able to construct siuations of ambiguity (and offer solutions).


External organisations
  • Roskilde University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration


  • image work, knowledge work, political entrepreneurship, power
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch
EventInternational Labour Process Conference, 2017 - Sheffield University, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Duration: 2017 Apr 42017 Apr 6
Conference number: 34


ConferenceInternational Labour Process Conference, 2017
CountryUnited Kingdom