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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The lion’s share of research on identification in organizations reflexively continues to focus on the organization itself as the centrepiece of individuals’ work-related identity. In this chapter the authors argue that this focus is misplaced because: (1) even in relatively stable organizations, individuals tend to identify more strongly or as strongly with proximal targets such as their occupation and workgroups, and with artefacts and practices that are personally meaningful in their own right; and (2) work environments are becoming more virtual, temporary/project-based, and pluralistic, creating challenges of salience, stability, and authenticity. Given these challenges, the authors argue that individuals are increasingly vesting their identities in a mix of external foci (social identities in the form of roles, networks, projects/gigs, and third places) and internal foci (personal identities in the form of personal brands and protean selves). In making these arguments, the authors emphasize the importance of holding environments for both external and internal foci.

Keywords: organizational identification, virtual work, temporary work, project-based work, pluralistic work, network identity, third places, personal brand, protean self, holding environment

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