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George, M.M., Wittman, S., Rockmann, K. W.

“Transitioning the Study of Role Transitions: From an Attribute-based to an Experience-based Approach”.

Academy of Management Annals 16(1): 102-133.

Abstract. Movement between sequentially-held roles—role transition—has long attracted scholars' attention for its ubiquity and importance in people’s work- and non-work lives. In our integrative review of 313 cross-discipline empirical articles, we find that the transitions attributes defined by Ebaugh (1988) and Ashforth (2001), the field’s seminal works, have been largely left unintegrated and unmeasured. Rather, while scholars may refer to attributes, they in fact study people’s lived transition experiences. To bring coherence and relevance to a fragmented field, we leverage the literature to propose a field-level shift to an experience-based framework. We organize our review around three vistas that undergird the transition experience we see studied in the research. These include four transition-related movements (psychological, physical, behavioral, and relational); the whole person in transition (interrelated non-work and work life spheres); and the person-in-network transitioning (transitions impacting and impacted by one’s social entourage). We mark a pathway toward this experience-based view, issuing three challenges for management researchers: broadening the study of movements beyond the psychological (first challenge), examining work and non-work transitions’ effects on organization-relevant outcomes (second challenge), and charting how individuals’ transitions impact their entourage and vice versa (third challenge).

Kraimer, M. L.*, Reiche, B. S.*, & George, M. M.* [*All three authors contributed equally]

“An Identity Work Perspective of Expatriates and Cross-cultural Transitions: A Review and Future Research Agenda”.

In Toh, S. M., & DeNisi, A. S., (Eds), Expatriates and Managing Global Mobility. New York: Routledge; SIOP Organizational Frontiers Series.

Abstract. We review research on expatriates from an identity work perspective, focusing especially on how the cross-cultural transition inherent in expatriate assignments impacts expatriates’ various identities. Identities answer the question “Who am I” based on individuals’ unique characteristics, social roles, and role-related relationships, and membership in social groups. Our review of 40 published articles on expatriates’ identity work is organized around five theoretical perspectives: social identity theory, role identity theory, narrative theory, critical theory, and acculturation and stress theories. After summarizing key findings and observations related to each theoretical perspective, we provide directions for future research on cross-cultural transitions and identity work, especially in terms of expanding the range of identification targets considered, examining the effectiveness of various identity management strategies, and incorporating a role transition perspective more explicitly when studying various forms of cross-cultural work.


Reiche, B. S.*, & George, M. M.* [*The two authors contributed equally]

"It’s All About my Unique Self… or Is It? Navigating Local and Global Work Roles Before and During the Pandemic"

Abstract. Engaging in global work requires moving regularly between local and global work roles. This may involve dealing with local stakeholders while joining a global virtual team, traveling globally while continuing to fulfill local responsibilities, etc. Even though global work is increasingly common, existing research provides little insight concerning how global professionals navigate frequent transitions between local and global work roles, or how they weather drastic changes such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on 58 recurrent cross-sectional interviews with 30 global professionals before and during the pandemic, we discovered that these individuals deal with their incompatible work role demands by harnessing three specific identity resources: (1) identity uniqueness, (2) identity fluency, and (3) identity transcendence. When the pandemic struck, individuals responded to the absence of international travel and the shift to complete virtual work through three forms of identity work: (1) emphasizing belongingness, (2) suspending identity work, and (3) engaging in self-reflection. Through our discoveries, we develop theory about how global professionals construct their work identities and how they reconstruct their work identities when faced with unexpected change due to major events.

George, M. M., Strauss, K., Mell, J., & Vough, H. C.

“Is That a Threat? Developing and Validating Measures of Threat to the Value, Meanings, and Enactment of an Identity”.

Abstract. Threats to an individual’s identity, defined as “experiences appraised as indicating potential harm to the value, meaning, and enactment of an identity” (Petriglieri, 2011, p. 641), are pervasive in our modern societies. Yet, this research field has remained in the theory building stage, leading to a multiplication of labels that essentially describe the same phenomena (the jangle fallacy, Caza et al., 2018b). As Caza et al. (2018b) noted, theory building has reached a limit and there is a need to revitalize this research with a more balanced methodological approach, including more theory testing and more quantitative research. Answering the call for the development of quantitative measures of identity-implicating experiences (Caza et al., 2018) and more specifically of scales gauging identity threat perceptions (Petriglieri, 2011), this paper develops and validates measures capturing threat to the value, meanings, and enactment of an identity.

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