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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2012

Alexander Styhre

Organizations are sites where identities are constructed and maintained and a substantial literature points at identity work as being of central importance for managerial…

Abstract

Purpose

Organizations are sites where identities are constructed and maintained and a substantial literature points at identity work as being of central importance for managerial practice. Identities are often fragile and contingent constructs, shifting over time and as the actor moves between assignments, being bound up with professional and occupational ideologies, norm and beliefs. The purpose of this paper is to report a study of how construction workers build their occupational identities on the basis of a combination of identification with their work and the quality they deliver benefitting the end‐user and what Elsbach and Bhattacharya call disidentification, i.e. a critique of the construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A study of identity work in the construction industry suggests that identities are based on three interrelated processes, the enactment of normative beliefs of ideal selves, the recognition of the accomplishments in the present construction project work, and the disidentification with the construction industry articulated in storytelling practices.

Findings

Construction workers’ identities are thus a patchwork, stitching together a variety of heterogeneous resources. This makes identity work an ongoing social process influenced by both the material conditions of the actual work and norms, beliefs, and aspirations.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the identity literature by emphasizing that identities are irreducible to either material conditions, norm and beliefs, or narrative accounts but are simultaneously drawing on all these resources.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 33 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

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Article
Publication date: 30 December 2011

Olivia Kyriakidou

The purpose of this paper is to build and enrich theory around professional identity construction by investigating the development of professional identity under…

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2144

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to build and enrich theory around professional identity construction by investigating the development of professional identity under conditions of marginalized gender identity. Professional identity is defined by Ibarra and by Schein as one ' s professional self-concept based on attributes, beliefs, values, motives, and experiences. Professional identity construction under conditions of marginalization presents an interesting puzzle. Professional roles are defined as prestigious and provide the role holder with autonomy and, often, a degree of privilege. However, minority professionals are often accorded little prestige and/or privilege because their identities are perceived as inferior.

Design/methodology/approach

The research studies narratives by 33 prominent women engineers with careers in management who discuss what it means to be both women and engineers holding high management positions in their organizations.

Findings

The research demonstrates that the process of identity construction for women engineers differs in significant ways from that of their male counterparts. The process is centered in redefinition that allows women professionals to construct possible selves and establish positive professional identities: redefinition of occupational rhetorics, disadvantage, and the self.

Research limitations/implications

This study of professional identity construction under conditions of disadvantaged gender identity contributes a new perspective for theorists researching professional identity construction. The results reveal that the development of professional identity for minority women may involve the processes and tasks of redefinition. The tasks in redefinition include redefining disadvantage, redefining the profession, and redefining the self. Moreover, the use of narrative calls for organizational researchers to consider theories in sociology, history, policy, and psychology in the attempts to answer careers questions.

Practical implications

The implications of this research are significant for human resource management practices in the construction and engineering field.

Originality/value

While there is growing interest in professional identity construction (e.g. Clarke et al.), little is known about how marginalization may influence the development of professional identity of minority professionals, such as women managers in engineering.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Article
Publication date: 11 January 2016

Natalya Sergeeva

The purpose of this paper is to explore how an “innovation champion” identity is formulated in the context of UK construction sector. A conceptual model of “innovation…

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2246

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how an “innovation champion” identity is formulated in the context of UK construction sector. A conceptual model of “innovation champion” themes is derived from the literature on social identity and then validated through empirical research.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 30 semi-structured interviews have been conducted with UK construction sector practitioners. The sample was composed active participants within the Constructing Excellence – the UK construction sector’s network-type organisation for driving innovation.

Findings

Practitioners socially constructed “innovation champion” identities through narratives about “self” or others. While some practitioners saw themselves as “innovation champions”, many others recognised CEOs as such. “Innovation champions” are commonly recognised as key individuals who promote innovations across businesses.

Practical implications

Socially constructed identities are seen important to strategic decisions and future actions. The potential contribution to practice is to help current and new generations of practitioners to learn about how to be or become “innovation champions”.

Social implications

The concept of social identity presents opportunities to enrich our understanding of the “innovation champion” label can stimulate people’s reflections on who they are and what they do.

Originality/value

The present paper has extended upon prior research and theory by exploring the ways practitioners perceive themselves or others as “innovation champions”. While this research has focused on the UK construction sector, the findings are potentially useful for other sectors where “innovation champion” labels are commonly used.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2008

Gina Grandy

The purpose of this paper is to explore how a group of dirty workers, that is, exotic dancers employed in a gentlemen's club, engage in identity construction amidst…

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1178

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how a group of dirty workers, that is, exotic dancers employed in a gentlemen's club, engage in identity construction amidst various macro, meso and micro considerations.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopts a social constructivist approach in exploring the stories of a group of 21 dancers employed at a chain of exotic dancing clubs in the UK, For Your Eyes Only.

Findings

Identity construction is a complex process whereby dancers struggle to secure a positive sense of self among the various resources they encounter. The findings focus upon the processes of distancing through projecting disgust upon clients, other dancers and other clubs. Dancers do this to minimize the stigma associated with their own identities and position themselves in a more favourable light to others. In doing this, dancers construct a variety of identity roles for themselves and “others.” This process of distancing also results in the construction of a hierarchy of stigmatization whereby dancers categorize motivations for dancing, type of dancing and type of clubs to rationalize the work they perform and manage their spoiled identities.

Practical implications

The stories of these dancers illustrate the messy nature of identity construction for dirty workers. In turn, it also illuminates how a better understanding of the complexity of identity construction for exotic dancers can offer insights transferable to other dirty work occupations and organizations in general.

Originality/value

The paper provides an indepth look at an occupational site that is relatively unexplored in organization studies and thus makes a unique empirical contribution. It also offers a more comprehensive theoretical lens for understanding identity construction and dirty workers.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

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Article
Publication date: 7 March 2016

Gunjan Tomer and Sushanta Kumar Mishra

– The purpose of this paper is to explore the process in which the software engineering students construct their professional identities.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the process in which the software engineering students construct their professional identities.

Design/methodology/approach

The study followed the qualitative method using grounded theory methodology to examine the process of identity construction. Data were collected from final year software engineering students in an iterative manner.

Findings

Based on the present study, the study argues that entry-level identities of students are modified and adjusted in response to their experience of identity violations over the course of their academic program. These violations were caused by their unmet expectations from the academic program. The magnitude of these violations is influenced by their perceived value derived from the training they were receiving.

Research limitations/implications

This paper explains the process of “identity morphing” as a mechanism by which students resolve the conflict/violation of their identities. The emergence and adaptation of different types of identities were examined. This study can be extended to the employees of IT organizations to draw a holistic picture.

Practical implications

The understanding of identity morphing process might enable organizations to enrich their interaction with their employees and thus provide avenues to improve their work-related outcomes.

Originality/value

Previous studies have explored professional identity construction among individuals. However, how software professionals construct their professional identity, during their education years, is relatively unexplored. The present study asserts that professional identities are formed among the students even before they join the organization.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2015

Wided Batat

The purpose of this paper is to draw on a subjective personal introspection (SPI) approach and Breakwell’s identity process theory (IPT) principles to show how elements…

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518

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to draw on a subjective personal introspection (SPI) approach and Breakwell’s identity process theory (IPT) principles to show how elements from different cultures are performed by an individual to form a unique patchwork identity, and how this patchwork identity will contribute to deepen tourist gaze and, thus, achieving and maintaining authentic destination experience.

Design/methodology/approach

The use of SPI gives the researcher an easy access to data collection of his personal, daily experiences related to changing destinations and consuming different places in Europe (France, UK and Italy), North America (USA and Canada) and North Africa (Algeria, Morocco and Egypt) for unlimited 24-hour access from an insider’s ongoing lived experiences.

Findings

The results show that Breakwell’s IPT four principles are an integral part of patchwork identity construction when living and experiencing several places. Patchwork identity encompasses the individual’s ability to cross different social and symbolic boundaries when experiencing different destination. Each cultural context contributes to the bricolage and the assemblage of individual patchwork identity revealing one or more IPT dimensions.

Practical implications

This paper serves to emphasize the importance of SPI-based research to patchwork identity construction in understanding the impact of cultural identity on tourist gaze. This approach can help marketers and tourism professionals to understand how consumers select the cultural elements that fit their identity and how the patchwork identity formed will contribute to deepen tourist gaze and destination experience of authenticity.

Originality/value

The use of IPT and SPI-based research to explore tourist gaze offers a comprehensive framework based on a personal introspective approach where the starting point is the meaning individual provides to his hyphenated identity as coping mechanism to respond to social, psychological, ideological, cultural, symbolic, functional, structural, etc., aspirations.

Details

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6182

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

Jessie Koen, Annelies Van Vianen, Ute-Christine Klehe and Jelena Zikic

The purpose of this paper is to explore how disadvantaged young adults construct a positive work-related identity in their transition from unemployment to employment, and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how disadvantaged young adults construct a positive work-related identity in their transition from unemployment to employment, and what enables or constrains a successful transition.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted semi-structured interviews with 29 apprentices of a reemployment program (Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen). The qualitative data were complemented by data on participants’ reemployment status one year after the program ended.

Findings

Identity construction was not preceded by clear motives or “possible selves.” Rather, serendipitous events led to participation in the reemployment program, after which provisional selves seemed to emerge through different pathways. The data also suggested that disadvantaged young adults had to discard their old selves to consolidate their new identity.

Research limitations/implications

A successful transition from unemployment to employment may require that old selves must be discarded before new selves can fully emerge. Given that our qualitative design limits the generalizability of the findings, the authors propose a process model that deserves further empirical examination.

Practical implications

A clear employment goal is not always required for the success of a reemployment intervention: interventions should rather focus on accommodating the emergence and consolidation of provisional selves. Yet, such programs can be simultaneously effective and unhelpful: especially group identification should be monitored.

Originality/value

Most research assumes that people are driven by specific goals when making a transition. The current study shows otherwise: the factors that enable or constrain a successful transition are not to be found in people’s goals, but rather in the process of identity construction itself.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 21 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

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Book part
Publication date: 31 July 2020

David B. Szabla, Elizabeth Shaffer, Ashlie Mouw and Addelyne Turks

Despite the breadth of knowledge on self and identity formation across the study of organizations, the field of organizational development and change has limited research…

Abstract

Despite the breadth of knowledge on self and identity formation across the study of organizations, the field of organizational development and change has limited research on the construction of professional identity. Much has been written to describe the “self-concepts” of those practicing and researching in the field, but there have been no investigations that have explored how these “self-concepts” form. In addition, although women have contributed to defining the “self” in the field, men have held the dominant perspective on the subject. Thus, in this chapter, we address a disparity in the research by exploring the construction of professional identity in the field of organizational development and change, and we give voice to the renowned women who helped to build the field. Using the profiles of 17 American women included in The Palgrave Handbook of Organizational Change Thinkers, we perform a narrative analysis based upon the concepts and models prevalent in the literature on identity formation. By disentangling professional identity formation of the notable women in the field, we can begin to see the nuance and particularities involved in its construction and gain deeper understandings about effective ways to prepare individuals to work in and advance the field.

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Article
Publication date: 23 October 2009

Tom Karp and Thomas I.T. Helgø

The objective of this article is to explore and challenge the concept of leadership by presenting a perspective on leadership as identity construction. The perspective…

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4165

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this article is to explore and challenge the concept of leadership by presenting a perspective on leadership as identity construction. The perspective presented is based on premises from the complexity sciences.

Design/methodology/approach

The article is based on a conceptual discussion.

Findings

Leadership is better understood as identity construction. This is because leadership emerges in the interaction between people as the act of recognising and being recognised. Leaders' images of themselves are therefore social constructions and the development of a leadership self (and thereby leadership) is coupled to the interaction between leaders and followers.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited to a conceptual discussion. The findings need to be further explored and challenged by other methods. The discussion is focused on organisational leadership.

Practical implications

Leaders do not always have the control that mainstream leadership theory suggests. The act of leadership is therefore better understood as identity construction. In the article the authors suggest a conceptual framework for reflecting on leadership identity because self‐images influence people's acts as leaders. The concept of leadership is hence the ability to mobilise the discipline necessary to develop one's self by reflecting on identity in different contexts and coupling this to the acts of leadership.

Originality/value

The principal contribution is a conceptual discussion on the concept of leadership. This contribution provides managerial ideas and insights into the act of leadership in organisations faced with increasing complexity.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 28 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2007

Tino Bech‐Larsen, Lars Esbjerg, Klaus G. Grunert, Hans Jørn Juhl and Karen Brunsø

The objective of this article is to conduct a case study of the Supermalt brand of malt beer, which has become the preferred beverage of Afro‐Caribbean consumers in…

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2613

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this article is to conduct a case study of the Supermalt brand of malt beer, which has become the preferred beverage of Afro‐Caribbean consumers in Brixton on a very limited marketing budget.

Design/methodology/approach

The article uses the concepts of personal identity and brand identity in a qualitative study to explore how Brixton‐based Afro‐Caribbean consumers construct their self‐identities and the brand identity of Supermalt. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with 14 Afro‐Caribbean consumers. Each interview was divided into three parts. The first part focused on consumers' self‐identities. The second part explored the role of food and beverage products in the construction of self‐identities. The final part focused on the construction of brand identity for Supermalt.

Findings

The article provides information on the self‐identities constructed by Afro‐Caribbean informants. The food and beverage consumption of informants reflects their mixed cultural identity. The brand identity Supermalt appears to be malleable, with ample room for consumer co‐construction. Perceptions of brand identity differ markedly among informants, who are all able to construct Supermalt as one of their own.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are based solely on semi‐structured interviews with a small sample of Afro‐Caribbean consumers. The findings are therefore not generalizable.

Practical implications

The Supermalt brand represents an interesting case for companies aiming to develop strong brands with a limited marketing budget. Based on the Supermalt case, suggestions are made regarding branding in relation to ethnic minorities.

Originality/value

This article provides a study of a brand that has become strong within a narrowly defined group of consumers.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

Keywords

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