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Title: Imagining identity : enshrining hermeneutics of dialogue and reflexivity within the practices of Canadian Catholic higher education
Author: Rompre, Gertrude
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 6152
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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Organizational identity is a key focus within Canadian Catholic higher education institutions (CHEIs). For the most part founded by religious communities, these institutions have traditionally depended upon the presence of priests and nuns to ensure the transmission of their religious institutional identities. Today’s more diverse workforce needs to be equipped to continue this tradition while also transforming it to ensure its continued socio-cultural relevance. This research project explores how individuals working within CHEIs experience, and exercise agency with regard to, the institutional identity of their workplaces. Working within the critical realist tradition, this project applies critical grounded theory to higher education research. Based on data collected through semi-structured interviews in three different CHEIs, new theory is built through an iterative dialogue between this data, the literature and the researcher’s own reflexive process. Three key findings emerge. First, institutional identity within these institutions is re-conceptualized as a balancing act between the structures and cultures of both the church and the academy. Second, a developmental process is put forward which traces how individuals – who I designate as identity-carriers – exercise agency with regard to their institutions’ identity. Third, the specific role of mission officer is analysed using Archer’s (2003) model of reflexivity. A final chapter examines how this research contributes to both the practice and theory of institutional identity development within CHEIs and beyond. As a whole, this research demonstrates that CHEIs are indeed adapting to their new contexts and finding novel ways to maintain and create their institutional identities. It also contributes to the wider discourse about how individuals connect to their institutional contexts and posits concrete ways of fostering positive relationships between personal and institutional identities in the workplace.
Supervisor: Qualter, Anne ; Hanson, Janet Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral