The Adjuvant Middle Manager: An Ideological Subjectivity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This article illuminates the importance of situational contingencies for understanding middle managerial subjectivities at work. Drawing from empirical research with middle managers in a large U.S. retail firm and the context of their additional responsibilities for corporate social responsibility (CSR), the paper explores conformist subjectivities variously constituted via ordering and tidying practices. Theoretically motivated by Mary Douglas’s ideas on tidying and ordering rituals as micro-political relational practices that assist in day-to-day risk management and danger mitigation, analyses identify three key overly compliant subjectivities: acolyte, defender and myth maker. Conceptualized as an adjuvant middle manager, the paper explores the relevance of this subject in 21st century organizations. With this analysis, the paper makes a twofold contribution to literature. First, it highlights the extent to which middle managers subjectivities are shaped by situated micro-political relational practices perceived as locally necessary and protective. Second, the study offers a contribution to CSR literature on CSR agents and micro-CSR by showing how CSR practice is impacted variously by the subjectivities available to those implementing CSR.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2023

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