Walking towards ‘self-field congruity’ in the workplace

Mak, Connie (2020) Walking towards ‘self-field congruity’ in the workplace. In: The 11th Asian Conference on the Social Sciences (ACSS2020), 24-25 May 2020, Tokyo, Japan.

IAFOR ACSS 24-25 May 2020 Tokyo- Abstract - Connie Mak -updated.pdf

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IAFOR ACSS 24-25 May 2020 Tokyo- Abstract - Connie Mak -updated.pdf
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Self-identity and related practices are under-researched in the workplace context. Even less attention is paid to exploring how self-construction changes over people’s career life. Building on the sociological work of Goffman and Bourdieu, this study used the novel walking-with interviews to understand how executives deploy different cultural capital for impression management over their career trajectories.
The study reveals that different kinds of cultural capital are changing in saliency when executives advance in their professional fields. Senior executives opt for more intrinsic resources and practices such as linguistic power, reciprocal trust and self-corporate congruity in lieu of the extrinsic ones like appearance and diligence which are commonly used among junior executives. Apart from the changing ‘portfolio’ over time, this study contributes a cross-field perspective to reveal that cultural capital is ‘field-specific’. A crucial capital or effective practice in one professional field can lose its power in other work structures or even becomes a liability due to diverse ‘rules of games’, causing a disjuncture between the habitus and the unfamiliar field. To further advance Bourdieu’s theory, such ‘differences’ found in a career constitute a more ‘superior’ and sustainable cultural capital in mature professionals, which resides not only in a person’s adaptability to a given work field, but on his understanding of his own competencies, based on which a complementary field is seek. Such cultural capital of ‘self-knowing’ against ‘field-sensing’ constitutes the habitus of pursuing “self-field congruity”. The optimal field renders ‘cultural fit’ so that executives can be ‘true to themselves’ when manoeuvring for career survival and advancement.

Keywords:cultural capital, impression management, self-field congruity, career life
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N215 Organisational Development
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:45847
Deposited On:25 Aug 2021 11:16

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