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Workplace self-concept : a new conceptualization of self-concept in organizations

Authors Huang, Guohua
Issue Date 2007
Summary In this dissertation, I propose a new conceptualization of self-concept as an integration of role identity and self-evaluation. Identity and self-evaluation are two important aspects of individuals’ self-concept, but they have traditionally been studied by sociologists and psychologists separately. I propose that an integration of the two dimensions will advance our understanding of self-concept. Based on this, I developed “workplace self-concept” (WSC), a construct that describes an employee’s self-concept developed around work and organizational experiences. Using an inductive approach, I developed an organization-based role-set to cover the domain of individuals’ work and organizational experience. It includes six roles: employee, colleague, supervisor, subordinate, group member, and occupation. WSC was operationalized as the aggregate of the products of role identification and role-specific self-evaluation of the six roles. The main theme of this dissertation is that such a new conceptualization is valid and useful for advancing organizational behavior research. The primary theoretical bases are the role identity theories that were used to argue for the effect of the role identification components of WSC, and the self-consistency and self-enhancement theories that were used to argue for the effect of the self-evaluation components of WSC. Building on these theories, I argue that WSC is distinguishable from existing variables of self-evaluation and identity (including general self-efficacy, general self-esteem, core self-evaluations, organization-based self-esteem, and organizational identification), and its effect is beyond each of them. A series of studies conducted to validate the construct provides evidence for the validity and utility of WSC. To demonstrate that WSC can be shaped by the work environment, I examined the effect of a set of organizational characteristics, human resource practices, leadership styles, and work role clarity on WSC. Results support most of the hypotheses concerning the impact of organizational contextual factors on individuals’ WSC. Implications for theory and management practices, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed. Keywords: workplace self-concept, self-concept, self-evaluation, identity, role identification
Note Thesis (Ph.D.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2007
Language English
Format Thesis
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