Changes in Work, Changes in Self? Managing our Work and Non-Work Identities in an Integrated World

Diverse workplaces are challenging the boundaries between workers’ personal and professional lives, as workers today navigate employer pressures regarding who they are and who they can be outside of work. Below, Lakshmi Ramarajan and Erin M. Reid consider how the attunement to power dynamics affects organisational effectiveness and organisational change.

How much of who we are is defined by our work?

This seemingly simple question is surprisingly difficult to answer. Imagine Lisa, a management consultant whose work requires her to travel each week, works online on weekends and becomes close friends with her coworkers because they all travel together and work continuously. Like Lisa, many workers today are under increasing employer pressure to integrate their work and personal selves.

On the other hand, imagine Karthik, a call center employee in India who eats pizza and fries at the office cafeteria and, using an American accent, introduces himself to his American customers as John. Like Karthik, many workers today are confronting pressures to create strange new divides between their work and personal selves.

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