Early career researchers’ identity threats in the field: The shelter and shadow of collective support

Lisa Jane Callagher*, Ziad El Sahn, Paul Hibbert, Stefan Korber, Frank Siedlok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Based on an autoethnographic study of early career researchers’ field research experiences, we show how individuals deal with moments of discrimination that present identity threats. This is accomplished through participating in the construction of a shared holding environment to provide emotional shelter and resources for resultant identity work. We show how they collectively develop anticipatory responses to future identity threats and inadvertently how this allows the effects of discrimination to be both unchallenged and amplified. We draw implications for identity work theory, adding to current understandings of identity threats, tensions, and challenges and the dynamics through which these are addressed, avoided, or worked around, as well as the shadow side of such activities. We also offer practical implications about the business schools’ role in nurturing early career researchers’ identity work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-465
Number of pages24
JournalManagement Learning
Issue number4
Early online date11 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Business schools
  • field research
  • identity
  • identity threats
  • identity work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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