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    A multi‐method study of accounts of personal change by graduates starting work: self‐ratings, categories and women's discourses

    Mackenzie-Davey, Kate and Arnold, J. (2000) A multi‐method study of accounts of personal change by graduates starting work: self‐ratings, categories and women's discourses. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 73 (4), pp. 461-486. ISSN 0963-1798.

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    The extent and kind of personal change experienced by newcomers during organizational socialization has not been thoroughly addressed. Studies have concentrated on increases in knowledge and adjustment and neglected the influence of starting work on sense of self. Multiple methods are used to explore graduates’ accounts of change in early career. Questionnaires were sent to graduates in eight different organizations on two occasions one year apart (Time 1 N = 906; Time 2 N = 936). Graduates rated the amount of change they experienced highest in competence (median: Quite a lot), followed by career (median: A little), personality (median: A moderate amount/A little), values (median: Not at all/A little) and lowest in attitudes (median: Not at all). Content analysis of open‐ended comments showed that changes were generally positive or neutral rather than negative. Discourses of personal change were explored in interviews with nine graduates who were selected as most likely to have experienced change. The criteria were that they were women in sex atypical occupations with high self‐ratings of personal change. Accounts demonstrated the complexity and contradictions in defining and discussing change and the dilemma in both describing change and maintaining continuity. Narratives presented change as a response to adversity involving emotional control, increased self‐knowledge and increased confidence. A further theme was the personal dilemma inherent in maintaining balance between the contested identities of self at work and outside. This research contributes to our understanding of newcomers’ experiences of organizational socialization by emphasizing the importance of multiple methods to understand the ambiguity and ambivalence in complex developmental processes. It highlights the elusive nature of change and the complex negotiations in establishing the sense of self in different contexts.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2021 17:19
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:07


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