Identity work in organizations and occupations: Definitions, theories, and pathways forward

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Brianna Barker Caza, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Understanding how, why, and when individuals create particular self-meanings has preoccupied scholars for decades, leading to an explosion of research on identity work. We conducted a wide-ranging review of this literature with the aim of presenting an overarching framework that comprehensively summarizes and integrates the vast amount of recent research in this domain. Drawing on our analysis of the empirical literature, we present an enhanced conceptual understanding of identity work. We then summarize the four dominant theoretical approaches researchers have used to explain how, when, and why individuals engage in identity work. This side-by-side comparison of these theoretical perspectives allows us to parse out the unique contribution of each theoretical lens and highlights how these theories can be integrated into a holistic view of an inherently multifaceted concept. Lastly, we critically analyze the state of the field and lay a detailed roadmap for future researchers to draw from to expand our current understanding of how individuals work on their identities in occupations and organizations.

Additional Information

Journal of Organizational Behavior, 39, 7, 889-910.
Language: English
Date: 2018
identity work, identity, self, self-concept

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