Strategies for the Resolution of Identity Ambiguity Following Situations of Subtractive Change

  • Hakak L
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This article applies the concept of identity ambiguity to the individual level of analysis, suggesting that identity ambiguity will likely follow certain scenarios of change in which an essential target of one's identification is abruptly lost. This temporary absence of identification has thus far been understudied, and it is proposed that individuals perceive it as a negative experience, in which opportunities for reidentification are uncertain and unclear. It is further proposed that they will be driven to overcome this identity ambiguity through one of four distinct strategies. The choice of which strategy to adopt is moreover said to be influenced by the interaction between opposing factors: the strength of one's organizational identification prior to the change and the degree to which the new setting is perceived as prestigious, distinct, and with values that are congruent to one's personal values. Finally, a discussion of theoretical and managerial implications is provided.

Author-supplied keywords

  • identification
  • identity ambiguity
  • identity transitions
  • subtractive change

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  • Luciana Turchick Hakak

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