1st Edition

Exploring Positive Identities and Organizations Building a Theoretical and Research Foundation

Edited By Laura Morgan Roberts, Jane E. Dutton Copyright 2009
    574 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Psychology Press

    574 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Psychology Press

    574 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Psychology Press

    In the new world of work and organizations, creating and maintaining a positive identity is consequential and challenging for individuals, for groups and for organizations. New challenges for positive identity construction and maintenance require new theory. This edited volume uncovers new topics and new theoretical approaches to identity through the specific focus on positive identities of individuals, groups, organizations and communities.

    This volume aims to forge new ground in identity research and organizations through a compilation of new frame-breaking chapters on positive identity written by leading identity scholars. In chapters that build theoretical and empirical bridges between identity and growth, authenticity, relationships, hope, sustainability, leadership, resilience, cooperation, and community reputation and other important variables, the authors jumpstart an exciting domain of research on new ways that work organizations are sites of and contributors to identities that are beneficial or valuable to individuals or collectives.

    This volume invites readers to consider, "When and how does applying a positive lens to the construct of identity generate new insights for organizational researchers?" A unique feature of this volume is that it brings together explorations of identity from multiple levels of analysis: individual, dyadic, group, organization and community. Commentary chapters integrate the chapters within each level of analysis, illuminate core themes and unearth new questions.

    The volume is designed to accomplish three objectives:

    • To establish Positive Identities and Organizations as an interdisciplinary, multi-level domain of inquiry
    • To integrate a focus on Positive Identity with existing theory and research on identity and organizations
    • To map out a vibrant new research territory in organizational studies .

    This volume will appeal to an international community of scholars in Management, Psychology, and Sociology, as well as practitioners who seek to generate positive identity-related dynamics, states and outcomes in work organizations.

    A.P. Brief, J.P. Walsh, Series Foreword. Part 1. Introduction. J.E. Dutton, L.M. Roberts, J. Bednar, Positive Identities and Organizations: An Introduction and Invitation. Part 2. Positive Identities and Individuals in Organizations. G.E. Kreiner, M.L. Sheep, Growing Pains and Gains: Framing Identity Dynamics as Opportunities for Identity Growth. S. Maitlis, Who am I Now? Sensemaking and Identity in Posttraumatic Growth. A. Carlsen, T. Pitsis, Experiencing Hope in Organizational Lives. B.B. Caza, M.G. Wilson, Me, Myself, and I: The Benefits of Work-Identity Complexity. N.P. Rothbard, L. Ramarajan, Checking Your Identities at the Door? Positive Relationships Between Non-Work and Work Identities. L.M. Roberts, S.E. Cha, P.F. Hewlin, I.H. Settles, Bringing the Inside Out: Enhancing Authenticity and Positive Identity in Organizations. B.E. Ashforth, Commentary: Positive Identities and the Individual. Part 3. Positive Identities and Relationships in Groups and Organizations. C.D. LeBaron, P. Glenn, M.P. Thompson, Identity Work During Boundary Moments: Managing Positive Identities Through Talk and Embodied Interaction. D.S. DeRue, S.J. Ashford, N.C. Cotton, Assuming the Mantle: Unpacking the Process by Which Individuals Internalize a Leader Identity. B.R. Ragins, Positive Identities in Action: A Model of Mentoring Self-Structures and the Motivation to Mentor. S. Kopelman, L.L. Chen, J. Shoshana, Re-Narrating Positive Relational Identities in Organizations: Self-Narration as a Mechanism for Strategic Emotion Management in Interpersonal Interactions. L.P. Milton, Creating and Sustaining Cooperation in Interdependent Groups: Positive Relational Identities, Identity Confirmation and Cooperative Capacity. L.H. MacPhail, K.S. Roloff, A.C. Edmondson, Collaboration Across Knowledge Boundaries within Diverse Teams: Reciprocal Expertise Affirmation as an Enabling Condition. J. Sanchez-Burks, F. Lee, Commentary: The Elusive Search for a Positive Identity: Grappling with Multiplicity and Conflict. Part 4. Positive Identities and Organizations and Communities. K.G. Corley, S.H. Harrison, Generative Organizational Identity Change: Approaching Organizational Authenticity as a Process. M.G. Pratt, M.S. Kraatz, E. Pluribus Unum: Multiple Identities and the Organizational Self. S.L. Brickson, G. Lemmon, Organizational Identity as a Stakeholder Resource. A. Hamilton, D.A. Gioia, Fostering Sustainability-Focused Organizational Identities. C. Marquis, G.F. Davis, Organization Mechanisms Underlying Positive Community Identity and Reputation. M.A. Glynn, I.J. Walsh, Commentary: Finding the Positive in Positive Organizational Identities. Part 5: Conclusion. L.M. Roberts, J.E. Dutton, J. Bednar, Forging Ahead: Positive Identities and Organizations as a Research Frontier.


    Laura Morgan Roberts is an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Harvard Business School. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia (BA, Psychology) and the University of Michigan (MA and Ph.D., Organizational Psychology). Laura's research program examines positive identity processes in diverse organizational settings. She speaks to the role that leadership plays in creating work contexts where employees can engage authentically and contribute from a position of strength. She also investigates how employees of diverse professional and cultural backgrounds leverage their identities as strengths that create value, build connections, and foster personal fulfillment.

    Jane E. Dutton is the Robert L Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration and Psychology at the University of Michigan. She is currently the co-director of the Center of Positive Organizational Scholarship at the Ross School of Business (http://www.bus.umich.edu/Positive/). She edited the book Exploring Positive Relationships at Work with Belle Ragins in 2007. Jane’s research interests are on the processes that generate flourishing in work organizations. She studies positive identity, compassion at work, high quality connections and job crafting.

    "The leading identity scholars who have contributed to this impressive volume provide cutting edge insights that extend across disciplines and levels of analysis. This anthology of original articles is required reading and an invaluable resource for those interested in the rich and multi-faceted construct of identity. It is a major step forward for the blossoming field of positive organizational scholarship." - Jeffrey T. Polzer, Harvard Business School

    "By focusing on the positive dimensions of the content, process and outcome of identity, the authors show the ability of people and organizations to find a way forward towards something better. This book convinces the reader that positive change is possible also in situations of deep trouble and harshness and provides a compelling invitation to engage in the further development of positive identity in theory and practice." - Majken Schultz, Copenhagen Business School

    "Exploring Positive Identities and Organizations breaks new theoretical ground at a time when concerns about identity are at their pinnacle. Roberts and Dutton bring together the most exciting thinking in this burgeoning area, providing a theory-driven roadmap of identity research's 'hot spots.' This volume will undoubtedly guide the next generation of identity research." - Herminia Ibarra, The Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership & Learning Director, INSEAD Leadership Initiative