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Article
Publication date: 26 February 2018

Ingo Winkler and Mustafa Khalil Mahmood

The purpose of this paper is to explore the work-related identity of temporary agency workers (TAWs), a topic that has received a limited amount of attention in previous research.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the work-related identity of temporary agency workers (TAWs), a topic that has received a limited amount of attention in previous research.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses a qualitative method and draws upon interviews with 30 TAWs from four agencies in the south of Denmark in order to link the experiences, as narrated by Danish TAWs, to their identity.

Findings

The study unpacks the components of the TAWs’ work-related identity and provides an understanding of the self-notions that the TAWs mobilize to respond to the conditions of temporary agency work. It identifies six components of work-related identity: Being new and unfamiliar, demonstrating the ability to adapt, dealing with uncertainty, feeling inferior and marginalized, pursuing opportunities, and the necessity to impress others. Both the agency and the user-firm try to regulate the TAWs’ identity as they expect agency workers to be flexible and adaptable persons, who possess a high degree of self-control. In so doing they provide a template for identification that the workers have to respond to. The study shows that TAWs develop this identity along two dimensions: their liminal position between the agency and the user-firm; and prescribed identity templates as TAWs strive for autonomy and craft their own work-related identity.

Practical implications

There are managerial challenges with regard to motivation, tensions between temps and permanent staff, low levels of organizational commitment, well-being, and the performance of TAWs. These challenges can be better understood (and probably solved) when agencies and user-firms would take into account the agency workers’ struggle for identification. The paper demonstrates that the work-related identity of TAWs not only has consequences for their performance but also for their whole life. Furthermore, the constitution of agency workers as flexible resource has consequences for HRM in the user-firm.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the limited amount of knowledge about the meanings that TAWs reflexively attach to themselves as they seek to make sense of the conditions of temporary agency work. Investigating their work-related identity helps to better understand the implications of temporary agency work based on the investigation of the agency workers’ experiences.

Details

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2051-6614

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Article
Publication date: 9 March 2021

Ingo Winkler and Mette Lund Kristensen

This paper aims to investigate the experiences of permanent liminality of academics and the associated multidimensional processes of identity negotiation.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the experiences of permanent liminality of academics and the associated multidimensional processes of identity negotiation.

Design/methodology/approach

The article draws upon a three-and-a-half-year at-home ethnography. The first author – as insider, participant and researcher – investigated the consequences of an organizational redesign that pushed members of a local university department into a situation of permanent liminality.

Findings

The paper describes how academics simultaneously followed multiple trajectories in their identity negotiation as a response to ongoing experiences of ambiguity, disorientation, powerlessness and loss of status.

Practical implications

Management decisions in higher education institutions based on administrative concerns can have adverse effects for academics, particularly when such decisions disturb, complicate or even render impossible identification processes. University managers need to realize and to respond to the struggle of academics getting lost in an endless quest for defining who they are.

Originality/value

The paper highlights the dual character of identity negotiation in conditions of permanent liminality as unresolved identity work through simultaneous identification and dis-identification. It further shows the multidimensionality of this identity work and argues that identity negotiation as a response to perpetual liminality is informed by notions of struggle and notions of opportunity.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2009

Ingo Winkler

The purpose of this paper is to investigate experiences of students when working during the term. The particular aim of the study is to determine central aspects relevant…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate experiences of students when working during the term. The particular aim of the study is to determine central aspects relevant for students when assessing their term‐time job.

Design/methodology/approach

The data are based on a qualitative study conducted at Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany. A number of students were interviewed about various work‐related issues in order to acquire information about common aspects that are frequently referred to when students assess their working experiences in terms of satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

Findings

With regard to the results three central aspects could be raised that were important within the students' assessment of their job: the self‐perception of being a student; the individual motivation to work during the term, and; social aspects like working atmosphere and social integration.

Research limitations/implications

Owing to the fact that it was conducted with German students the study only reflects the specific context of German higher education and German companies' use and treatment of students as flexible employees.

Practical implications

Students' experiences as flexible workers together with the experienced reality of their fellow non‐standard employees provide them with first‐hand knowledge about the working situation of those employees. Universities should constitute the basis for reflecting experiences at work, link them to already existing research in this field and help students to draw conclusions for their future professional life as managers.

Originality/value

The study adds to the knowledge of how students perceive their term‐time job. In particular it highlights the influence of self‐identity, motivation and social aspects to students' satisfaction and dissatisfaction at work. It contributes to the few studies focusing on the experiences students have as flexible employees.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 51 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article
Publication date: 7 April 2015

Ingo Winkler

Abstract

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 44 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2013

Ingo Winkler

The purpose of the article is to illuminate micro‐processes and dynamics of identity work in an academic working context. It elaborates on the various and shifting…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the article is to illuminate micro‐processes and dynamics of identity work in an academic working context. It elaborates on the various and shifting self‐notions experienced within a typical workday of an academic.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopts an analytic autoethnographic approach focusing on recalled experiences of the author's current employment in a university department. This approach is considered to contribute to the investigation of the intensive personal process of identity construction that likewise enhances the understanding of the connection between the individual person and the organization.

Findings

Illustrating the multifold notions of who one is in a particular work situation, the author demonstrates that identity work is correspondingly ongoing during the workday. Employing a workday narrative and the different self‐notions created throughout this day, the study illustrates the richness and variety in the identity work accomplished. Focusing on four particular workday events demonstrates how these situations serve as moments of identity work in the sense that they call for engaging in answering the question of who one is and how one should act.

Originality/value

Promoting a micro‐perspective, the study illuminates that identity work‐processes can also be observed within the relatively small‐scaled focus of an individual workday. It proposes to understand identity work as a process of micro‐level sensemaking. The study also reveals the shifting nature of self‐notions experienced over the day. It is not only various identities that are manufactured in relation to different workday events but also that these senses of oneself come at different levels of concreteness.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 4 November 2014

Ingo Winkler

Telling the story of the author’s attempts acquiring the Danish language over the past three and a half years, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how identity…

Abstract

Purpose

Telling the story of the author’s attempts acquiring the Danish language over the past three and a half years, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how identity work is narratively accomplished within organisational contexts. It aims at developing an in-depth understanding of the process of identity work.

Design/methodology/approach

The autoethnographic study illuminates narratives of subjectivity that inform notions of identity during the author’s journey of learning Danish and how this enterprise is embedded in the workplace surroundings.

Findings

The autoethnography carves out seven distinct, yet, inter-related narratives of subjectivity constituting the notion of who I am and what I should do within the process of learning Danish as a foreign language.

Originality/value

Instead of only describing different self-notions within identity work, the process view adopted in this research enables understanding of the various tensions, struggles and contradictions inherent in identity work. Examining the process of identity work sheds light on the multiplicity of self-notions emerging and re-emerging over time, co-existing, replacing each other, intertwining, struggling for dominance, and through this constituting the precarious and ongoing sense of identity.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

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Article
Publication date: 17 April 2009

Barbara F.H. Allen

The purpose of this paper is to introduce librarians, faculty, and other interested individuals to contemporary German literature in English translation.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce librarians, faculty, and other interested individuals to contemporary German literature in English translation.

Design/methodology/approach

German‐language authors born in 1950 or later and listed on the Contemporary Living Authors Comprehensive List developed by the German vendor Otto Harrassowitz are searched in OCLC's WorldCat database to determine the existence of English translations. A bio‐bibliographical list is then developed featuring all contemporary German‐language authors who have achieved an English language translation of at least one of their literary works.

Findings

Of the approximately 1,400 writers on Harrassowitz's comprehensive list, a surprisingly large number of almost 80 authors of the younger generation (born in 1950 or later) have been translated into English.

Originality/value

This bio‐bibliography of contemporary German belles lettres (of the younger generation) in English translation is the first of its kind. It can be used by librarians to check their current library holdings and to expand their collections of German literature in English translation.

Details

Collection Building, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0160-4953

Keywords

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