This paper analyzes the relationship between public and private domains in contemporary Danish organizations by examining their increasing focus on the personal health situation of employees, and, more specifically, their body weight.
This paper combines literature on identity and management with governmentality-inspired research on risk, morality and the body. The aim of this paper is to show that overweight people are perceived as “risk identities”, i.e. problem people who automatically call for personal management. The author demonstrates that besides the unintended effect of categorizing overweight employees as problem people, this management goal also run counter to the declared value regarding respect for diversity in contemporary organizations.
Based on in-depth interviews with managers and recorded talks between health consultants and overweight employees, this paper emphasizes processes that subordinate employees and restrict their autonomy.
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