SA Journal of Industrial Psychology
On-line version ISSN 0258-5200
ORIENTATION: The study explored the dynamics of work identity negotiation and construction. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The aim of the study was to investigate identity tensions and demands that mobilise identity work in the work environment. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The study hoped to improve the understanding of the dynamics of identity construction and negotiation. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: Using grounded theory methodology in the context of qualitative field research, the researchers conducted two unstructured interviews with 28 employees of a South African manufacturing company. MAIN FINDINGS: The five primary dimensions the data yielded were personal identity, individual agency, social identity, social practice and job. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: This study has implications for organisations that want to improve productivity through understanding work identity. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The article presents a conceptual model of the demands and tensions that influence work identity.