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Title: Future work selves : how hoped for identities motivate proactive behaviour at work
Author: Strauss, Karoline
ISNI:       0000 0004 2693 1874
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2010
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In this thesis I focus on individuals' agentic attempts to shape their future through proactive behaviour. Anticipating and envisioning a possible future is a crucial part of the sequence of interrelated acts and phases that constitutes proactive behaviour. I draw on self-concept theory to investigate the role of visions of the self in the future in the motivation of proactive behaviour. Building on research on future selves (also termed "possible selves") I develop the concept of the "Future Work Self (FWS)", an imagined, hoped for, future identity that captures an individual's hopes and aspirations in relation to their work. I argue that FWS play an important role in the creation of discrepancies that underlie proactive behaviour, and facilitate the setting and pursuit of proactive goals. I take two different approaches to exploring the link between FWS and proactive behaviour in samples of postgraduate research students. I focus on students' self-ratings of their proactive behaviours in a cross-sectional and a longitudinal study, and I content-analyse the goals students were currently pursuing in order to bring about their FWS. The findings of this thesis provide initial support for the usefulness of the concept of the FWS in the motivation of proactive behaviour. In particular, the clarity of the FWS evolved as a significant predictor of proactive behaviours and goals. This emphasises the importance of processes of anticipation and mental simulation in the proactive behaviour process, and has practical implications for those aiming to enhance individuals' proactive attempts to shape their environment, and their future. This thesis integrates the concepts of identity and self-concept into the literature on proactive behaviour and suggests directions for future research on individuals' future-oriented identity work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available