This paper seeks to clarify the gap between performance discourses and actual work life in everyday employee experiences. To show how objectively set requirements are transformed and socially constructed as the acceptance of imperfection, the understanding of daily experiences is considered through individual and shared employee perceptions. Drawing upon the notion of aesthetic categories, how employees construe their experiences of imperfection is analyzed as whether there is such a thing as the grace of imperfection. Finally, some theoretical and practical perspectives on experiences of imperfection will be outlined. The results show that it is important to understand how the necessary perfection implied in performance requirements causes tensions, not only between leader and staff but also in employee interpersonal relationships. The tendency to chase ideal performance can also be seen in the practices of the Finnish version of New Public Management (NPM). Furthermore, our findings put subjective sensations and perceptions at the center of organizational culture through which a gracious work culture is revealed.

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