SA Journal of Industrial Psychology
On-line version ISSN 2071-0768
LLOYD, Sandra; ROODT, Gert and ODENDAAL, Aletta. Critical elements in defining work-based identity in a post-apartheid South Africa. SA j. ind. Psychol. [online]. 2011, vol.37, n.1, pp. 01-15. ISSN 2071-0768.
ORIENTATION: The main focus of the study was to answer the question: 'Who am I at work?' in a post-apartheid South African organisation. RESEARCH PURPOSE:The aim of the specific research questions was to determine which life sphere and life role elements, and which work-based identity facets were significant in forming work-based identity. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The findings of the study will enable the formulation of an integrative definition of work-based identity applicable to the South African context. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: Qualitative data was collected by means of unstructured interviews with 29 employees representing a range of job titles, levels and demographics in a large South African manufacturing company. A grounded theory approach (open and axial coding) was used to analyse the data. MAIN FINDINGS: Distinctive individual self-definitions and a number of common themes integrating social and personal identity perspectives emerged from the data. These themes provided a sound basis for the proposed integrative model to define work-based identity. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The findings of this research will assist human resource practitioners to develop training interventions and management strategies for the potential enhancement of work-based identities. This will result in a more engaged and harmonised workforce. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This was the first study of its kind to identify and delineate significant work-based identity elements for the formation of a work-based identity within a South African work context.