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Contradictions and identity work: insights from early-career experiences

Jacob D. Vakkayil (Department of Management, IESEG School of Management, LEM UMR CNRS 8179, Lille and Paris, France)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to explore identity work in response to various types of contradictions experienced by employees in outsourced software development in the initial stages of their careers.


A qualitative methodology is adopted. Data are generated primarily through in-depth interviews with participants who had less than five years of work experience in outsourced software development.


Four dimensions of contradictions in the setting are identified and behaviors associated with identity work driven by these contradictions are explored. While responses included regression, despair, resignation and disengagement, behaviors in the direction of adjustment and development were also reported. The importance of various kinds of resources for developmental identity work is pointed out.


This work contributes to discussions on identity work by bringing to light how contradictions influence it in the context of outsourced software work.



D. Vakkayil, J. (2014), "Contradictions and identity work: insights from early-career experiences", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 33 No. 10, pp. 906-918.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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