Constructing workplace value identity: Knowledge worker perceptions of how they are valued by their organizations

by Praner, Karen J., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2008, 261 pages; 3310897


This qualitative research study works to establish an understanding of how knowledge workers construct their workplace value identities: their sense of how the organization values them. Leaders and managers who recognize how knowledge workers construct their value identities can relate to knowledge workers' needs to be valued and thus improve working relationships within the organization. Knowledge workers who are aware of how they construct their value identities can use that knowledge to make their work environments more enjoyable and create a more favorable impression within the work environment.

Embarking from the central premise that knowledge workers operate in their organizational environments under the influences of the organizational culture and social exchange according to their individual perceptions, the study was informed through an integration of the literatures of knowledge work, emotion in the workplace, motivation, self and identity, positive psychology, and organization-based self-esteem. From a purposeful sampling of knowledge workers, 7 men and 7 women from a wide range of industries were selected as study participants. One in-depth interview with each participant provided the data for this phenomenological study.

The results revealed that knowledge workers look for signs of respect and fair treatment from the organization to build their value identities; valued knowledge workers have a sense that they are not only employees, but collaborators in the work effort. Internal elements such as personal satisfaction in their work also play a role in knowledge workers' value identity construction. The dual contribution of external and internal factors indicates that knowledge workers can influence their value identity constructions; they are not at the mercy of the organizational environment to shape their value identities. Further study in this area could contribute to a more confident and empowered domain of knowledge workers. Studies expanded to include how leaders and managers could enhance their intent to make knowledge workers collaborators in the work environment may benefit the entire organization.

AdviserLaura Markos
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3310897

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