Title

Navigating identities in global work: Antecedents and consequences of intrapersonal identity conflict

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-2021

Keywords

Comparative management, global work, identity, team identification, thriving

Abstract

What happens when global workers identify with their culture, organization, work unit profession, and team all at the same time? Workers may experience these identities as compatible, or in conflict, with one another. The purpose of this article is to reveal attributes of global workers that lessen intrapersonal identity conflict, and to show that doing so is critical for thriving in global work, in order to help these workers learn how to navigate their various sources of identity. We empirically examined identity conflict among 122 workers of a multinational mineral refining firm, who worked across five locations globally. Our findings revealed that the higher the tolerance for ambiguity and resilience, and the stronger the team identification, the less the intrapersonal identity conflict experienced, and the more the workers thrived at work, experiencing simultaneously greater learning and physical vitality. Identity conflict explained variance in thriving beyond that explained by the strength of identification with specific identities, such as national cultural identity or team identity. These findings extend prior research which has focused on the strength of a single identity or the relationship among two identities, and is the first to show effects of individual characteristics on identity conflict and the impact of identity conflict on individual thriving among global workers. We discuss implications for theory and practice.

Publication Title

Human Relations

ISSN

00187267

E-ISSN

1741282X

Volume

74

Issue

4

First Page

556

Last Page

586

DOI

10.1177/0018726719895314

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