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Identity and sentient emotions at work
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 14:58 authored by Amanda Mead
"Work is central to human experience, influencing individuals' lives, value systems and identities and organizing and shaping societies. Globalization, increasing economic interdependencies and technological change have destabilized the experience of work, causing organizational rationalizing, downsizing, mergers and offshore employment, and making the individual's experience of work increasingly uncertain and anxious. The pace of change is set to continue, even increase. Using an interpretivist research paradigm and drawing on sociology, social psychology, moral philosophy and related disciplines, this research considers three 'moral' emotions - embarrassment, guilt and shame - and their relationships with personal identity-making. It draws on practice in a natural group setting during major organizational change to investigate the interpersonal emotional bridges between people and their experience of damage to these bridges. I contend that the interactional ongoing development of self-identity is intrinsically linked to the awareness of Other and can be analyzed through the Goffmanesque perspectives of the dialogues of face and frame. I consider the ethics of identity and further contend that the ethical orientation of communality, a social construct of particular importance in African/Akan philosophy, can provide a significant third perspective to face and frame to help understand the role of these sentient Other-oriented emotions in personal identity-making. My thesis makes five contributions. For scholars of identity, organizational change and sociologists of emotion, it proposes the addition of cognitively complex negative-affect valenced self-conscious emotions to the discussions of emotions in change. It proposes that Face and Frame are complementary analytical perspectives. It introduces the lens of the ethic of communality as a complement to individualism and extends Goffman by creating the Trilogy of Dialogues, Face, Frame and Self-ethic, to enable a more complete understanding of people's coactions with their self-identities. For practising managers, it will increase their ability to adapt and reinvent their organizations in times of major change, by providing a better understanding into the experience of change and the dilemmas and impact of sentient emotions." -- Abstract.