An examination of identity creation and management process in new organisational entrants
Brunton, James and Buckley, Finian (2005) An examination of identity creation and management process in new organisational entrants. LInK Working Paper Series. (Paper No. 01-05). The Learning, Innovation and Knowledge Research Centre, Dublin City University, Ireland.
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The problems relating to unsuccessful organisational identity creation can affect both the individual’s and the organisation’s chances of attaining successful or satisfactory outcomes. Both the individual and the organisation benefit from the individual being
able to carry out appropriate identity work and construct a stable identity that can be incorporated into the pre-existing contents of their “identity portfolio”. This paper reports on a research programme that sought a deeper understanding of the processes involved in identity creation and management by new organisational entrants.
Merging work from a variety of fields (e.g. Leonard Beauvais and Scholl, 1999; Campbell-Clark 2000; Haslam, 2003;Ashforth, 2000) the research focussed on the
flow, within the individual, between one identity and another, and how this process affects the facilitation of increased levels of perceived compatibility between the
identities that make up an individual’s sense of self. The research also examined how an individual’s self-concept/sense of self can be a motivational force that affects their behavioural choices. This involved the examination of the links between an individual’s dominant motivators within a particular context in their life and how the individual constructs/reconstructs their identity within that context. The research sample consisted of forty new organisational entrants. An initial quantitative survey was conducted, which was followed by a series of in-depth
qualitative interviews over a period of seven months. This allowed the examination of the change in the structure of the participants’ lives between their creation of the new
context specific identity and when this identity had become established (or not). The results deliver a model that displays how proactive identity management strategies,
adaptive strategies to deal with perceived dissonance, and successful management of motivational profiles were characteristics of successful adaptors. The comparative
results, with those less successful, will be useful to researchers working in the areas of new identity creation and/or identity management and would be of interest to those
dealing with new entrant management.
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