The challenge of supporting employees to come as they are - A case study of being yourself at work within the management consulting industry
Previous research show that although it is desirable and valuable for both the company and the individual to be yourself at work as an employee, it is rarely the reality today. Statistics (Smith & Yoshino, 2013) show that it is tough to be yourself at work today, especially in the fast paced management consultancy industry where expectations are high. Valcon, a Danish firm operating in the management consultancy industry, is trying to figure out how to manage this challenge. The purpose of this paper is to give Valcon guidance in this work by getting an increased understanding of how Valcon can support employees’ ability of being themselves at work. This was investigated through a qualitative research where semi-structured interviews were performed with employees at Valcon. Three main findings are being presented. The first finding suggests that identity, expressions and relations are defining the concept of being yourself at work at Valcon. The second finding consists of four different factors that influence the ability of being yourself at work; consulting, individuality, workplace and structures. The third finding reveals the organisational actions being connected to managing the four influencing factors. The conclusion for Valcon, in order for them to support their employees to be themselves at work, is that the concept is subjective and complex but that there is a need to look at the different aspects of the definition and perform organisational actions related to all four groups of factors.