Keeping Movement in Mind: Workplace Identification and Mobilities Theorizing

Article Abstract

In their recent article, Ashforth, Caza and Meister (2022) provide a model of workplace identification. Our core argument in the current dialogue is that Ashforth et al’s arguments can be further improved through a theoretical accounting of mobilities in relation to workplaces and identities. Specifically, we critically engage Ashforth et al’s model by applying three conceptual resources to it, namely, 1) nomadism and sedentarism; 2) non-places; and 3) networked views of places and identities. First, we argue that nomadism and sedentarism challenge Ashforth et al’s five identity motives by drawing attention to the importance of 'motives for moving' and 'motives for staying still' for identification processes. Second, we argue that the mobility-related concept of ‘non-places’ suggests a strong boundary condition to Ashforth et al's model. Third, we argue that mobilities perspectives challenge Ashforth et al’s arguments with the need to better account for ‘networks of places’. We illustrate these conceptual resources with the use of analytical problems and examples in dialogue with Ashforth et al. Our application of mobilities theorizing thus has implications for the sensemaking and workplace identification components of Ashforth et al’s model, and their outcomes of the foundations for, and boundaries of, multiple identities surrounding work.

Academy of Management Review, April 2024

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About the researcher

Dawn Chow is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management and Marketing, the University of Melbourne. Prior to joining the University of Melbourne, she worked as a research scientist in institutions such as the National University of Singapore and the Hong Kong Metropolitan University.

Dawn's research focuses on the political ideology of top management teams, organizational identification, attachment to home country, and the sociology of morality. By combining neo-institutional theory with new theoretical perspectives on political ideology, Dawn has been able to publish influential research on the topics of workforces, directors, and political ideology, in journals such as the Journal of Management and Organization Studies. Dawn has also published in high impact practitioner outlets such as the Harvard Business Review and the MIT Sloan Management Review. In addition, she also has other publications which are currently in the peer review process at other top journals. 

In terms of obtaining research funding, Dawn is an accomplished grant writer and has won nationally competitive grants. For example, in her capacity as Principal Investigator, she has been awarded two Hong Kong Government Research Council Grants worth HKD 826,605 and HKD 986,057 respectively for her research (project reference numbers UGC/FDS16/B20/20 and UGC/FDS16/H10/20).

In terms of service, Dawn is also an Editorial Board Member for the Academy of Management Review, the leading theory journal in her field. She is also Executive Board member for the AIB-Asia Pacific Chapter. Finally, Dawn is also Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Management Studies, Associate Editor for the Journal of Business Research, and Consulting Editor for the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.

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