Executive coaching : crafting a versatile self in corporate America
Crafting a versatile self in corporate America
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in Science, Technology and Society.
Michael M.J. Fischer.
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In recent years, coaching has become a major form of personal and professional development service offered to executives to help develop leadership skills, enhance performance, and remediate patterns of problematic workplace behavior. This dissertation examines the emergence and development of executive coaching in the United States as a new form of professional expertise. Drawing on eighteen months of ethnographic research, the majority of which took place in New York City, this study analyzes the ways in which executive coaching brings together theories of individual psychology and of organizational efficiency in order to increase functionality and productivity at work. Executive coaching is: a) a new form of professional expertise, b) a management tool to increase productivity and efficiency at work, c) a window to changing notions of the self and personhood in America and, finally d) an access point to the corporate world. This study explores these four dimensions of executive coaching. I argue that the emergence of coaching is a product of and a response to a fast changing business environment where continuous improvement is required to adapt to the volatility of changes. Change in the larger context (corporate settings and business environments) is not to be resisted or criticized but to be enabled through the change of the self. This dissertation illustrates and explains the grounds of a shift away from systemic approaches and systemic criticism towards individualistic approaches. Coaching emerges in and becomes an illustration of a neo-liberal economy that emphasizes constant retraining of a self that is versatile, pragmatic and fragmented.
Thesis (Ph. D. in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society (HASTS))--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Program in Science, Technology and Society, 2008.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 207-218).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in Science, Technology and Society.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Program in Science, Technology and Society.