Understanding changes in employees' identification and professional identity: the case of teachers in higher vocational education in the Netherlands

Max T.A. Aangenendt

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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The central aim of this dissertation is to increase our understanding of changes in identifications and in the professional identity of employees by investigating the prominent foci of identification, their mix in higher-order social identities and the personal and organisational factors (HRM and supervisory behaviour) that are involved in the change of these professional self definitions at the intra-individual level. Building upon the assumption that institutions for Higher Education and their workforce are being continually challenged to keep up and adapt to changing societal demands and that it is the quality and flexibility of the workforce which is the key factor to address this turmoil, this dissertation specifically focuses on the understanding of changes in teachers’ professional identity in tertiary vocational education. For this purpose four related empirical studies have been conducted. The first study, using a mixed-method design, shows considerable professional diversity within the workforce. Organisational, occupational and client identifications do not turn out to be homogeneous one-dimensional constructs, but rather consist of various sub-foci. Teachers differ in identification-strength with regard to these foci, while professional and organisational tenure taken as antecedents show limited (curvi)linear effects. The second study, using a single-survey design, shows that differences in teachers’ professional development in response to the performance appraisal system are related to teachers’ primary identifications and to supervisory behaviour. The third study, using a mixed-method two-wave design, highlights the observed changes in teachers’ identification during organisational entry and discloses six strategies that organisational newcomers can use to customize their professional identity to the organisational demands. The fourth study, using a two-wave design, explains the observed changes within the current workforce in teachers’ identification over a time frame of two years by the percieved discrepancy with the organisational demands and by supervisory behaviour. Together these studies shed light on the relationships between foci of identification, social and professional identities, performance appraisal, leadership, career competencies, professional development and changes in teachers’ identifications over time.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Sanders, K., Supervisor
  • Kuijpers, M.A.C.T., Supervisor
Award date12 Jun 2015
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3885-5
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2015


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