‘Beasts, burrowers and birds’: the enactment of researcher identities in UK business schools

Emma Bell, Daniel W. Clarke (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    In this article, we suggest that management research constitutes a field of practice that is made practically intelligible through embodied enactment. This relies on imagination, constructing modes of belonging within communities of management research practice. Undergraduate students constitute a significant audience towards whom these self-presentational performances are directed. Our analysis is based on findings from four UK business schools where students participated in a free drawing and focus group exercise and were asked to visualize a management researcher. Through identification of three dominant animal metaphors of management research practice, we explore the symbolic relations whereby a prevailing image of the management researcher, as untouchable, solitary, aggressive, competitive and careerist, is socially constructed. We argue that this competitive, self-interested impression of research is detrimental to ethical, critically reflexive, reciprocal and participatory modes of research, and to the development of management research as a broadly inclusive system of social learning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)249-266
    Number of pages18
    JournalManagement Learning
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


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