A Tale of Two Sundaes: – an autoethnography of identity in career transition

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


We argue that career transitions can be most effectively understood in terms of identity transformation; as a process of becoming and being a different kind of person. We critically examine diverse conceptualisations of identity and, adopting a social-constructionist lens, we review the tension between identity-work and identity-regulation in career changes. We develop an understanding of identity as a temporal and intersubjective outcome of narrative positioning within networks of power relations. We detail our longitudinal autoethnographic methodology and our distinctive sources of data in the form of emails, texts and images. Three stages of career transition as experiences of identity are discerned from our data and we present a nuanced account of identity states and our identity-work during our personal career transitions. We contribute theoretically by demonstrating the relevance of identity to understanding career transitions and refine the notion of identity-work. Implications for enhancing the experience of career transition are proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
EventBAM 2016 - British Academy of Management Conference - Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
Duration: 8 Sept 2016 → …


ConferenceBAM 2016 - British Academy of Management Conference
Period8/09/16 → …
Internet address


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