Knowledge work: Ambiguity, image and identity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article takes a sceptical view of the functionalist understanding of the nature and significance of ‘knowledge’ in so-called knowledge- intensive companies. The article emphasizes the slipperiness of the concept of knowledge, the ambiguity of knowledge, its role in what is constructed as knowledge work and the evaluation of work outcomes. Given this ambiguity, the management of rhetoric, image and social processes appears crucial in organizations of this kind. Difficulties in demonstrating competence and performance - as well as the significance of producing the right impression - make work identity difficult to secure. However, this is a key element in doing knowledge work. Successful rhetoric, image production and orchestration of social interactions call for the regulation of employee identities.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration


  • ambiguity , identity , knowledge-intensive companies , professional services , rhetoric
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-886
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch