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Title: The nature of individual career-identity and its construction : examining the self-perceptions of graduate generation Y women and men
Author: Boyle, Kathryn A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 5619
Awarding Body: Glasgow Caledonian University
Current Institution: Glasgow Caledonian University
Date of Award: 2018
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This study explores the nature of career-identity and its construction to advance its theoretical development, and improve our understanding of Generation Y women and men as they transition from U.K. and Irish universities to the workplace. A twophase mixed methods explanatory research design was undertaken with an abductive drive as underpinned by a pragmatist theory of knowledge. Phase 1 tested a theoretical framework based on the contention that career-identity was primarily influenced by stable social identities, in this case, generation and gender. It comprised of a survey (n=112) and quantitative analysis. Findings indicated that extant generation and gender socialisation theories, e.g. Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979; 1986), Mannheim (1952), Social Role Theory (Eagly, 1987) and Gender Schema Theory (Bem, 1981), could not fully explain variations in individual career-identity. On that basis, research questions were developed for Phase 2, and priority was given to generating new theory by interviewing a subsample of survey participants (n=36) using grounded theory. The outcome of the qualitative analysis was my development of two empirically and conceptually informed models: a Conceptual Model of Individual Career-Identity; and a Cycle of Individual Career-Identity Construction (CICIC). The overall findings indicate that career-identity, in the context of contemporary U.K. and Ireland, is primarily a fluid personal identity. It is continually constructed and reconstructed through a process of sense-making. This sense-making process was further delineated as eight subprocesses and the CICIC was framed round a pragmatist notion of reflective thought and action. Accordingly, the research’s unique contribution is that it advances ontological thinking around the nature of career-identity, as well as our knowledge of the process by which graduates construct that career-identity after they transition to the workplace, both of which are under-researched areas. In terms of practice, there are contributions around graduate retention and career counselling pertaining to individual career-identity exploration. The findings also indicate that organisational policies and cultures influenced by normative generational and gendered stereotypes are potentially non-responsive to contemporary career-identities. Furthermore, its social implications are that such stereotypes are not just unhelpful, but can potentially limit or discriminate against ‘Generation Y women and men’
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available