Identity Negotiation at Work

Document Type


Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Upon initiating relationships, people engage in a process of identity negotiationthrough which they establish their respective identities. Once established, people's identities define their mutual expectations, obligations, and indeed, the very nature of their relationships. This chapter presents a rudimentary theory of identity negotiation, with emphasis on how such negotiations unfold in the workplace. We first discuss the nature and history of identity negotiation, noting similarities and differences between identity negotiation and related constructs. Next we describe the successive phases of the identity negotiation process and identify the principles that ideally govern how that process operates in work contexts. We then discuss how identity negotiation processes may be leveraged for organizational change and how the state of identity congruence may contribute to innovation. We conclude by noting questions that remain for future research on identity negotiation.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Research in Organizational Behavior, v. 29, p. 81-109