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Title: Death of the salesman? : identity work during a time of disruptive change
Author: Clark, Shelley
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2016
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There has been a call within the identity research field for more empirical work to be conducted to explore work-related identity within ‘different forums, different settings, in more backstage as well as highly public contexts, in different periods and over different issues.’(Ybema, 2010, p.499). Responding to this call this thesis looks at the construction of work-related identity through the processes and outcomes of identity work within a changing occupation. The thesis adopts a narrative approach to the exploration and interpretation of this identity work and seeks to contribute to existing research in the field (Ybema, 2010; Watson, 2007). The empirical research for this thesis was conducted during a time of regulatory change in the financial services industry, which presented an opportunity to explore the experiences of financial advisers during a period of disruption. The introduction of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) presented financial advisers with a new and much stricter model of how they should operate within the industry and fundamentally changed the traditional model of retail financial advice. Financial advisers were faced with potential threats to their identity (Breakwell, 1983). Accounts of this changing occupation were collected during a longitudinal study consisting of 42 semi-structured interviews conducted over two phases. The timing of the interview phases were chosen to span the implementation of the RDR (six months pre and six month post implementation) presenting an opportunity to explore a time of disruptive change in ‘real time’. The research findings arise from an interpretive approach to the data, using both thematic and positioning analysis (Bamberg, 1997) and have been interpreted as two identity threat narrative responses; an identity-restructuring narrative response and an identity-protection narrative response. The thesis demonstrates how the crafting of an authentic self-narrative (Giddens, 1991; McAdams, 1996) was fundamental in enabling the financial advisers to eliminate the threat to their identity. The contribution of the thesis is both theoretical and empirical. Empirically, this thesis provides a unique opportunity to present an in-depth, longitudinal investigation into an occupation undergoing significant changes during the change process. Theoretically, the thesis adds to our understanding of identity work during a time of change for an occupation. The research findings and analysis also contribute to the understanding of different responses to an identity threat. The thesis concludes by presenting a theoretical model of identity work processes and outcomes in response to an identity threat.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available