Narrative as an emotion-focused coping strategy in career
This thesis develops a theoretical framework for studying the impact of emotion on career, following Kidd's lament that emotion is `an absent presence in career theory' (Kidd, 1998). In the proposed framework, career is treated as a narrative construction (Bujold, 2004) and viewed as a significant component of an individual's identity (McAdams, 1995). Events which disrupt the career narrative will be experienced as disruptive to identity and to the achievement of the individual's goals, and will therefore stimulate emotion which in turn leads to sensemaking aimed at repairing the disruption (Weick et al, 2005). This sensemaking produces a revised career narrative, which the individual subsequently enacts. This proposition is explored through the use of autoethnographic case studies, and the use of this methodology is itself one of the major contributions of this thesis; autoethnography (Ellis, 2004) is an uncommon methodology in social science generally and its use is unheard of within organisational psychology. The case studies allow for theory development, though do not represent an empirical test of the framework, so following the autoethnographic analyses, a refined framework is outlined, together with proposals for research to test the framework. The thesis concludes that narrative coping is the dominant response to emotion in career, and outlines a number of implications for this proposition, including important directions for future research.