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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A conversation in which we hear an individual ‘working on their identity’ in negotiation with a researcher is used to develop a broadly applicable conceptual scheme for the study of identities and organizations. The crafting of concepts is an essential part of all scientific endeavour but it is often done less well than it might in studies of identity-related issues in organizations. To improve the quality of conceptualization in this area the organizational sociologist must be clear and explicit about their methodological assumptions. A valuable way of doing this is by adopting a Philosophical Pragmatist epistemology focusing on ‘the way the social world works’ alongside an ontological processual/relational conception of the nature of organizations and the nature of human beings. Working within these assumptions, a four-fold conceptual scheme is put forward, this encouraging researchers to examine the interplay between self-identity, social-identities, identity work, and personas. A typology of social-identities (sociological discursive phenomena) is also presented to increase the power of the basic scheme, all of this being intended to be helpful to researchers interested in the relationship between human identities and organizations.

Keywords: identity work, ontology, personas, pragmatism, self-identity, social-identities, relationality

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