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Title: Space and the elaboration of occupational identity : an empirical case study of the UK teaching profession
Author: Xhetani, Elton
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 3862
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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Situated understandings of identity have gained prominence in the organisational studies litera-ture. Through the guiding works of Lefebvre and Ibarra this thesis explores the relationship be-tween organisational space and occupational identity through an empirical study of two schools in the UK. Narratives are collected using visual prompts to examine individuals’ lived experiences in the workplace. My rich data allow me to bring to the fore and unpack how physical changes form and transform occupational sense of self. In particular, my findings indicate that space is involved in the formation of occupational identity in different ways, namely, by giving a sense of continuity to employees, assisting in the development of a sense of belonging and upholding in-group identity, providing employees with a sense of expectations and idealised performances, and sustaining hi-erarchy by establishing a daily routine that excludes and isolates groups of workers. This study makes three main contributions. First, through Lefebvre’s lens, it discusses how identity is mediated through space and discusses the politicisation of space and shows that space can be used to emphasise or interrupt power relations in the workplace. Secondly, through application of Lefebvre’s work this study explains tensions created through spatial change and the implications that these have for the formation of occupational identity. Thirdly, this study takes Lefebvre’s con-cern with tensions one step further by unpacking the complications posed by these for the for-mation, reflection and modification of occupational identity. To make sense of this, Ibarra’s work has been introduced to argue that space is instrumental in reflecting and formulating new, some-times provisional, sometimes conflicting, occupational identities and this leads to ambivalence and ambiguity in the profession. This study highlights the importance of not treating space simply in terms of walls and physical ap-pearance. Space has a special meaning for employees and is a tool that allows them to express their sense of professional self by desiring, imagining and planning a physical space that corre-sponds to their professional role. When space is taken away from professionals, they create their own physical boundaries that send messages to outsiders that they have control of their profes-sion. They do this in order to protect their professional autonomy, feel noticed at the workplace and to imprint parts of their personality according to their professional needs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools