The function of fear in institutional maintenance: Feeling frightened as an essential ingredient in haute cuisine

Gill, Michael and Burrow, Robin (2017) The function of fear in institutional maintenance: Feeling frightened as an essential ingredient in haute cuisine. Organization Studies. (Accepted)

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Abstract

Fear is a common and powerful emotion that can regulate behaviour. Yet institutional scholars have paid limited attention to the function of fear in processes of institutional
reproduction and stability. Drawing on an empirical study of elite chefs within the institution of haute cuisine, this article finds that the multifaceted emotion of fear characterised their experiences and served to sustain their institution. Chefs’ individual feelings of fear prompted conformity and a cognitive constriction, which narrowed their focus on to the precise reproduction of traditional practices whilst also limiting challenges to the norms underpinning the institution. Through fear work, chefs used threats and violence to connect individual experiences of fear to the violation of institutionalized rules, sustaining the conditions in which fear-driven maintenance work thrived. The study also suggests that fear is a normative element of haute cuisine in its own right, where the very experience and eliciting of fear preserved an essential institutional ingredient. In this way, emotions such as fear do not just accompany processes of institutionalization but can be intimately involved in the performance and maintenance of institutions.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Emotion, Fear, Fear work, Haute cuisine, Institutional work, Phenomenology
Subject(s): Organisational behaviour
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2017 13:46
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2017 13:59
Funders: N/A
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/6563

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