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Article

Entrepreneurial Identity  

Blake Mathias

Society has long considered entrepreneurs a distinct breed of people characterized by their unique willingness to act on opportunities. And yet, our recent understanding of entrepreneurship has greatly evolved to show entrepreneurs reflect a diverse and eclectic group who, though unique, emerge among all ethnicities, personalities, and walks of life. Simply, anyone can “become an entrepreneur” or “act entrepreneurially.” Entrepreneurial identity reflects the study of who entrepreneurs are and what they do. Identities can emerge through individuals’ distinct personal experiences, common roles, or shared social groups. And although identity matters for all individuals, it is especially important to entrepreneurs because they, in large part, shape organizations. The founder’s identity influences the mission, values, and strategic direction of new ventures. Even long after the founders are gone, the imprint of their identity on the organization often endures. Therefore, the study of entrepreneurial identity is critical not only to the entrepreneurs themselves but has a profound and lasting impact on most organizations, shaping how and why organizational members engage in their work.

Article

Workplace Identity Construction: An Intersectional-Identity-Cultural Lens  

Lize A. E. Booysen

With the development of an integrated cross-disciplinary framework to study workplace identity construction, the current theoretical discussion on workplace identity construction is extended—first, by focusing on intersectionality as theoretical lens and methodology in our thinking about workplace identity, highlighting the significance of an individual’s intersections of social locations in the workplace embedded in socio-historical and political contexts, and second, by focusing on the influence of national culture and societal landscapes as important macro contextual factors, adding a super-group level and a cross-cultural perspective on how individuals navigate their identities at work. Using an intersectional-identity-cultural conceptualization of workplace identity formation elucidates the personal, social identity, sub-group, group, and super group level of influences on identity formation. It focuses on the interplay between individual, relational, collective, and group identity, and emphasizes social identity as the bridge between personal identity and group identity. It highlights the multiplicity, simultaneity, cross cutting, intersecting, as well as differing prominence and power differences of social identities based on differing contexts. It illustrates the relatively stable yet fluid nature of individual (intra-personal and core) identity as it adapts to the environment, and the constant changing, co-constructed, negotiated, and re-negotiated nature of relational (inter-personal), collective identity (social identity) as it gets produced and re-produced, shaped and reshaped by both internal and external forces, embedded in socio-historical-political workplace contexts. Understanding the interplay of the micro-level, individual (agency), relational, and collective identity levels (social construction), nested in the meso level structures of domination, and group dynamics in the workplace (control regulation/political) in its macro level societal landscape context (additional control regulation) will help us to understand the cognitive sense-making processes individuals engage in when constructing workplace identities. This understanding can help to create spaces where non-normative individuals can resist, disrupt, withdraw, or refuse to enact the limited accepted identities and can create alternative discourse or identity possibilities.

Article

Multicultural Identities at Work  

Yih-Teen Lee and Nana Yaa Gyamfi

Cultural identity, a specific form of social identity that refers to a person’s degree of identification and sense of belonging to a specific cultural group, has been extensively examined as a kind of social identity over the past decades, especially in the fields of migration, cross-cultural psychology, and applied international management. Meanwhile, exposure to settings with different cultures typically triggers a process of acculturation, enabling individuals to develop multicultural identities, whereby people see things from multiple cultural groups’ perspectives, feel at one with the cultural groups, and act according to the norms of those cultural groups. Individual organizational members serve as the conduit by which culture influences and is influenced by organizational life. There exist various forms of multicultural identities with different psychological and behavioral implications on individuals. In terms of plurality, to date, extant studies accumulated extensive knowledge on biculturalism, which focuses on individuals having two distinct cultural identities and how these identities intersect and influence the individual. Beyond biculturalism obtained through birth, ancestry, or immersive foreign experience, individuals may become multicultural by being simultaneously immersed in more than two cultures: a situation common among children of immigrants (i.e., second-generation immigrants), children raised in multicultural households, third culture individuals who spend their formative years outside their passport country, and individuals living within multicultural societies. A key to understanding multicultural identities is how these multiple identities are structured within individuals. Scholars largely agree that the structural pattern of identities affects the outcomes and degree of synergy among multiple identities. Widely accepted modes of structuring multiple identities include relative strength of identities involved and how multiple identities relate to each other. Scholars have built on these lines of thinking to examine specific forms of multicultural identities and their outcomes. Furthermore, research indicates that multiculturals possess unique identity resources relevant to organizational life, including cognitive strengths, relational capital and belonging, and leadership-related competencies. Although there is evidence for responsiveness of multicultural identity to situational cues, there are also strong arguments made in favor of the agency of individuals over their multiple identities. The foregoing notwithstanding, individuals with multicultural identities must balance their agentic enactments of identity with societal requirements of legitimacy. In particular, business organizations play a vital role in providing identity workspaces and other enabling factors which legitimize multicultural identities. Additionally, business organizations play the role of balancing power, status and other dynamics between multicultural and non-multicultural members.

Article

Minority Employees’ Ethnic Identity in the Workplace  

Nasima M. H. Carrim

With an increase in the number of diverse groups of individuals (including ethnic minorities) entering organizations, managing diversity in the 21st-century workplace has become imperative. The workplace provides employees with opportunities to work interactively with others in diverse situations and to express their identities, including ethnic identity. Despite Western-based organizations’ adoption of strategies such as affirmative action in an effort to integrate diverse employees into their workplaces, members of ethnic minority groups may still experience great difficulties in obtaining instrumental and social support in these organizations. While some minorities may not outwardly manifest their ethnicity, in the majority of cases, ethnic identity forms a core identity of many individuals and employees do not leave this identity at the doorstep of the organization. In some countries, ethnic minorities have refused to assimilate into the majority workplace culture, and have maintained strong ethnic identities. By outwardly expressing their identities, ethnic minority employees face discrimination, stereotyping and micro-aggressive behaviors within the workplace, and in the majority of cases are relegated to dead-end lower level posts and face barriers to their career advancement. Also, having strong ethnic identities results in a conflict between minorities ethnic identities and the workplace culture. This is especially apparent in terms of religious beliefs and values. Embracing ethnic identity of migrants into organizational cultures is especially challenging for organizations these days, as many immigrants are highly skilled professionals that enter western corporations. They experience discrimination and not receiving support in order to advance their careers.

Article

Aversive Racism: Foundations, Impact, and Future Directions  

Audrey Murrell

The concept of aversive racism has had a significant impact on theory, research, and practice devoted to better understanding bias, discrimination, and persistent disparities based on social identity group such as race, gender, social class, and so on. Originally developed to better explain subtle forms of bias toward racial and minoritized groups, this concept has been extended to understand the impact of disparities in a range of diverse settings, such as intergroup relations, health outcomes, fairness in employment setting, intergroup conflict, educational outcomes, racial bias in policing, experiences of stress and mental health issues, and persistent economic disparities. A core facet of the aversive framework paradigm is that because of human biases that are deeply rooted within a historical context and reinforced by ongoing societal ideologies, unintentional and subtle forms of discrimination emerge and persist. Given that these subtle forms of bias and discrimination exist within otherwise well-intentioned individuals, strategies to eliminate them require understanding the complexity of the aversive racism phenomenon in order to develop effective social interventions. This article reviews the foundation, research, and impact of this important body of work. In addition, the concept of aversive racism is discussed in connection to emerging research on microaggressions and unconscious (implicit) bias in order to create a more integrated framework that can shape future research and applications. Lastly, practical implications for organizations and future directions are explored, such as using social identity as a theoretical lens, including global perspectives on intergroup bias and leveraging emerging work on intersectionality, as useful perspectives to extend the aversive racism framework. Setting a future agenda for research and practice related to aversive racism is key to greater understanding of how to reduce intergroup bias and discrimination through interventions that cut across traditional academic and discipline boundaries as one approach to create meaningful and long-lasting social impact.

Article

Whiteness in Organizations: From White Supremacy to Allyship  

Donna Chrobot-Mason, Kristen Campbell, and Tyra Vason

Many whites do not identify with a racial group. They think very little about their own race and the consequences of being born into the dominant racial group. They do not think much about race because they do not have to. As a member of the dominant group, whites view their race as the norm. Furthermore, whites consciously or unconsciously typically view their experiences as race-less. In actuality whites’ experiences are far from race-less. Many whites also fail to acknowledge the privileges their racial group provides. As long as whites continue to dominate leadership roles and positions of power in organizations, there will continue to be strong in-group bias providing unearned advantages to whites in the workplace, such as greater hiring and advancement opportunities. Additionally, as long as whites fail to acknowledge privilege, they will likely adopt a color-blind perspective, which in turn leads to a lack of recognition of microaggressions and other forms of discrimination as well as a lack of support for organizational initiatives to improve opportunities for employees of color. In order to create a more inclusive workplace, it is imperative that both whites and white dominated organizations promote and foster white allies. For whites who wish to become allies, acknowledging white privilege is a necessary but insufficient step. Becoming a white ally also requires questioning meritocracy as well as working in collaboration with employees to implement lasting change.

Article

Entrepreneurial Passion  

Charles Y. Murnieks and Melissa S. Cardon

Starting a new venture is an incredibly difficult undertaking. Challenges and roadblocks arise at every juncture. To succeed, entrepreneurs need to persist through these obstacles and fight through hardships. They need personal motivation to drive their ventures forward, and perhaps more importantly, they need to inspire the stakeholders who work with them to continue to support their ventures as well. Entrepreneurial passion is one of the key elements that can catalyze all these processes. Entrepreneurial passion is experienced through strong emotions and motivations that are intertwined closely with an individual’s entrepreneurial identity. Entrepreneurial passion originates from engagement with self-defining activities over time; entrepreneurs are not born with passion, they develop it. The emerging research surrounding entrepreneurial passion indicates it can have powerful effects, both positive and negative. Regarding the positive, entrepreneurial passion drives beneficial cognitive and behavioral outcomes such as creativity, commitment, and effort. Regarding the negative, entrepreneurial passion can also drive rigidity and burnout. Moreover, research shows that entrepreneurial passion can be contagious; it has the power to infuse stakeholders surrounding entrepreneurs and attract new venture investors to provide early-stage funding. The construct of team entrepreneurial passion is also discussed. Unlike individual-level passions, team entrepreneurial passion reflects the level of shared intense positive feelings for a collective team identity. Across all the types of passion discussed in this article, the key elements that distinguish entrepreneurial passion as unique and distinct from related psychological constructs, such as motivation, affect, and enthusiasm, are highlighted.

Article

Intersectionality Theory and Practice  

Doyin Atewologun

Intersectionality is a critical framework that provides us with the mindset and language for examining interconnections and interdependencies between social categories and systems. Intersectionality is relevant for researchers and for practitioners because it enhances analytical sophistication and offers theoretical explanations of the ways in which heterogeneous members of specific groups (such as women) might experience the workplace differently depending on their ethnicity, sexual orientation, and/or class and other social locations. Sensitivity to such differences enhances insight into issues of social justice and inequality in organizations and other institutions, thus maximizing the chance of social change. The concept of intersectional locations emerged from the racialized experiences of minority ethnic women in the United States. Intersectional thinking has gained increased prominence in business and management studies, particularly in critical organization studies. A predominant focus in this field is on individual subjectivities at intersectional locations (such as examining the occupational identities of minority ethnic women). This emphasis on individuals’ experiences and within-group differences has been described variously as “content specialization” or an “intracategorical approach.” An alternate focus in business and management studies is on highlighting systematic dynamics of power. This encompasses a focus on “systemic intersectionality” and an “intercategorical approach.” Here, scholars examine multiple between-group differences, charting shifting configurations of inequality along various dimensions. As a critical theory, intersectionality conceptualizes knowledge as situated, contextual, relational, and reflective of political and economic power. Intersectionality tends to be associated with qualitative research methods due to the central role of giving voice, elicited through focus groups, narrative interviews, action research, and observations. Intersectionality is also utilized as a methodological tool for conducting qualitative research, such as by researchers adopting an intersectional reflexivity mindset. Intersectionality is also increasingly associated with quantitative and statistical methods, which contribute to intersectionality by helping us understand and interpret the individual, combined (additive or multiplicative) effects of various categories (privileged and disadvantaged) in a given context. Future considerations for intersectionality theory and practice include managing its broad applicability while attending to its sociopolitical and emancipatory aims, and theoretically advancing understanding of the simultaneous forces of privilege and penalty in the workplace.

Article

An Identity Lens to Understand Teams in International Business  

Sonia Raghav and Cristina Gibson

In international business, teams can take on a variety of forms, including domestic collocated teams, multinational collocated teams, global virtual teams, and multicultural teams. All of these types of teams offer the potential for developing innovative products and services, but they also may face substantial challenges with respect to collaboration and coordination. Team members are likely to identify with a variety of affiliations, based on dimensions such as gender, family roles, ethnicity, culture, nation, profession, organization, and team. Identification with each of these social groups brings with it the opportunity for diverse insights and perspectives, skill breadth, and broad social connections. However, this can lead to both benefits and challenges for teams. As a result, the ability to negotiate identities has become critical in international business. Drawing upon concepts of social identity, an identity lens can be used to document the promise and problems of teams in international business. An understanding of how multiple identity interactions within an individual can affect processes and outcomes for the team has the potential to create a more nuanced comprehension of international teams.

Article

Categorization Theory  

Judith A. Clair and Mary M. Struzska-Tyamayev

Categorization, the process of placing or separating into classes or groups, is a socially meaningful process and has been studied across a variety of disciplines, including the organizational studies field. Organizational scholars have focused on implications of social categorization (classification of another person as part of a group in organizational life), self-categorization (identifying the self as part of a group or category), and, increasingly, categorization systems (the norms and structures shaping and legitimizing the categories themselves) for individuals, group functioning, and organizational outcomes. All three elements are interconnected, as how one categorizes the self is linked to how one is socially categorized by others in organizational life, while categorization systems used in organizations provide the context for this process. Categorization, in its various forms, plays a key role in diversity and inclusion dynamics within organizations, as it can have positive and negative consequences. Among the most discussed negative outcomes is the potential for categorization to serve as a precursor to interpersonal or systemic forms of bias in organizations. Once categorized, a person may experience stigmatization or work discrimination based on the category assigned. Categorization is associated with unique forms of bias; for instance, if one is perceived to be a-prototypical for a category (e.g., a poor fit), the person may resultingly experience social penalties or work-based negative consequences for not exemplifying the group’s core qualities well enough. In turn, this can generate negative personal and interpersonal effects at work and undermine organizational efforts to build inclusion. For instance, if one does not fit a “leader” prototype well enough, they may have a more difficult time claiming the role of leader. However, categorization also allows for the individual and organizational creation of meaning and understanding of the social world, group cohesion, interpersonal congruence, and ultimately the coordination and structuring of institutional diversity and inclusion efforts. There are many avenues for advancing understandings of categorization and its effects. In particular, opportunities are rich for studies that explore implications of a growing number of people with intersected, multiple, and/or non-normative categories at work and in organizations. The growth of more complex categories has implications at multiple levels of analysis—for people, group functioning, and organizations seeking to build a more inclusive workplace. Also, with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and computerization, categories drawn upon and the processes of categorization, and their implications, are intimately linked to nonhuman forces. There are ample opportunities for organizational research in this domain, a chance to explore and understand the subject beyond the bounds of traditional computing disciplines.

Article

The Antecedents and Outcomes of Heteronormativity in Organizations  

Oscar Holmes IV

Despite the term being coined in the early 1990s, heteronormativity is a longstanding and enduring hierarchical social system that identifies heterosexuality as the standard sexuality and normalizes gender-specific behaviors and roles for men, women, and transgender and non-binary individuals. As a system, it defines and enforces beliefs and practices about what is ‘normal’ in everyday life. Although there are many factors that shape heteronormative beliefs and attitudes, religion, the government, education, and workplaces are the principal macro-level factors that normalize and institutionalize heteronormative beliefs and attitudes. These institutions contribute an outsize influence on the perpetuation of heteronormativity in society because these institutions create and inculcate the norms and standards of what are and are not acceptable values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in our society. As such, in order to create effective interventions to eliminate the negative outcomes of heteronormativity, particular attention should be paid to each of these institutions. Parents, relatives, and other adults contribute to the normalization and institutionalization of heteronormativity at the individual- or micro-level. Although some people benefit from the system of heteronormativity (mainly heterosexual cisgender conforming men), much of the research on heteronormativity focuses on the negative outcomes. Heteronormativity is responsible for a host of pernicious outcomes such as lower self-esteem, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment, and greater rates of suicide ideation, verbal and physical abuse, and workplace mistreatment and discrimination. Future research should investigate identify effective micro- and macro-level interventions that could mitigate or eliminate the negative effects of heteronormativity.

Article

Learning Identity, Flexibility, and Lifelong Experiential Learning  

Mai P. Trinh

The world is changing faster than ever before. Recent advances in technology are constantly making old knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) obsolete while also creating new KSAs and increasing the demand for jobs that have never existed before. These advances place tremendous pressure on people to learn, adapt, and innovate in order to keep up with these changes. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) has been widely and effectively applied in various settings in the last four decades. This theory posits that learning is a proactive process, coming from the holistic integration of all learning modes in the human being: experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting. Learners must own and drive this process, because ownership of their own experiential learning process empowers learners to do far more than an external person—whether a parent, a teacher, or a friend—can accomplish. More than just a way to learn, experiential learning is a way of being and living that permeates all aspects of a person’s life. Given the demands of the fast-changing world we live in, what do individuals need to do to make sure they stay ahead of the change curve, remain fit with the changing environment, survive, and thrive? At the individual level, a number of important competencies need to be developed, including learning identity and learning flexibility. At the system level, learning and education as a whole must be treated differently. Education should be an abductive process in which learners are taught to ask different types of questions and then connect new knowledge with their own personal experiences. The outcome of education, likewise, should be adaptive and developmental. Instead of promoting global learning outcomes that every student needs to achieve, educators need to hold each student individually responsible for incrementally knowing more than he or she previously knew, and teach students not only how to answer questions but also how to ask good questions to extract knowledge from future unknown circumstances. Helping students foster a learning identity and become lifelong learners are among the most important tasks of educators in today’s fast-changing world.

Article

Socioemotional Aspects of Entrepreneurship for the Classroom  

Alexander Bolinger and Mark Bolinger

There is currently great enthusiasm for entrepreneurship education and the economic benefits that entrepreneurial activity can generate for individuals, organizations, and communities. Beyond economic outcomes, however, there is a variety of social and emotional costs and benefits of engaging in entrepreneurship that may not be evident to students nor emphasized in entrepreneurship courses. The socioemotional costs of entrepreneurship are consequential: on the one hand, entrepreneurs who pour their time and energy into new ventures can incur costs (e.g., ruptured personal and professional relationships, decreased life satisfaction and well-being, or strong negative reactions such as grief) that can often be as or more personally disruptive and enduring than economic costs. On the other hand, the social and emotional benefits of an entrepreneurial lifestyle are often cited as intrinsically satisfying and as primary motivations for initiating and sustaining entrepreneurial activity. The socioemotional aspects of entrepreneurship are often poorly understood by students, but highlighting these hidden dimensions of entrepreneurial activity can inform their understanding and actions as prospective entrepreneurs. For instance, entrepreneurial passion, the experience of positive emotions as a function of engaging in activities that fulfill one’s entrepreneurial identity, and social capital, whereby entrepreneurs build meaningful relationships with co-owners, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders, are two specific socioemotional benefits of entrepreneurship. There are also several potential socioemotional costs of entrepreneurial activity. For instance, entrepreneurship can involve negative emotional responses such as grief and lost identity from failure. Even when an entrepreneur does not fail, the stress of entrepreneurial activity can lead to sleep deprivation and disruptions to both personal and professional connections. Then, entrepreneurs can identify so closely and feel so invested that they experience counterproductive forms of obsessive passion that consume their identities and impair their well-being.