Identity construction by first entrants in a new profession: Blending in or bringing change under conditions of mixed liminality

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


This embedded case study explores how first entrants’ identity construction and others’ validation contribute to a new profession bringing change in an institutionalized field. Our longitudinal study comprised three rounds of data collection, including 64 interviews, among which 28 with the nine first entrants in a new medical profession in the Netherlands and in the last round 15 with relevant others. The interviews were complemented with questionnaires and documents. The findings demonstrate how first entrants in a new profession concurrently experience both institutionalized and under-institutionalized liminality, albeit on different dimensions. Moreover, we find three sources of ambivalence between self and other during this liminal stage that problematize the individual’s engaging in the building of a new profession’s collective identity. From our data, three pathways for first entrants’ identity construction emerge that differ in coping with these mixed liminality experiences and with the sources of ambivalence. Each pathway leads to different identity outcomes, in terms of blending in or bringing change to the field and contribution to collective professional identity building.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018
Event34th EGOS Colloquium in Tallinn, July 5-7, 2018 -
Duration: 5-Jul-20187-Jul-2018
Conference number: 34


Conference34th EGOS Colloquium in Tallinn, July 5-7, 2018
Abbreviated titleEGOS 2018

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