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Title: An examination of senior Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women and men’s identity work following episodes of identity salience at work
Author: Atewologun, Adedoyin Olukemi
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 3491
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2011
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This study addresses methodological critiques of ethnicity research in organisations by combining intersectionality and identity work frameworks. Additionally, it extends intersectionality beyond its traditional focus on multiple disadvantage and demonstrates contextual sensitivity to ethnicity. Taking an individual constructivist stance, I examined ethnicity and its intersection with gender and seniority through an identity work lens. The research question was: How do senior black, Asian and minority ethnic women and men make meaning of episodes that raise the salience of their intersecting identities at work? The study investigated how 24 senior black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) women and men constructed an understanding of their multiple-identified selves in response to affirming, contradictory or ambiguous identity-heightening work experiences. Respondents kept journals about episodes that raised the salience of their intersecting identities. Then, in interviews, they described the sense they made of the episodes and their responses to them. Following a template-based analysis of 101 accounts, a typology emerged of Accommodating, Refuting, Reconciling, Affirming and Exploratory identity work modes, describing senior BME individuals’ identity construction in response to identity-heightening episodes. I introduce ‘intersectional identity work’ to illustrate how individual (e.g. cognitive effort to reconcile a paradox), relational (e.g. a sense of responsibility and affinity for subordinate minority colleagues) and contextual (e.g. visibility resulting from demographic distribution in one’s immediate environment) factors influence intersecting senior, ethnic and gender constructions at work. Integrating intersectional and identity work perspectives to examine ethnicity demonstrates the dynamic interplay of multiple identity dimensions during meaning-making, the range of modes adopted and the intensity of effort expended by senior BME women and men during personal meaning-making. This approach makes a methodological contribution to ethnicity and intersectionality research. It also makes an empirical contribution to UK ethnicity and identity work research through the suggestive model of identity work modes and rich insight into senior BME individuals’ experiences at the juxtaposition of disadvantage and privilege.
Supervisor: Vinnicombe, Susan ; Sealy, Ruth Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Intersectionality ; ethnicity ; diversity ; micro-behaviours ; individual contstructivism