Metaphors of Identity and Professional Practice Learning From the Scholar–Practitioner

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By: Kathy Kram, Ilene Wasserman, Jeffrey Yip


Historically, professional identity was viewed as a singular construct, and the boundary-spanning dynamics of subidentities remained unexamined. More recently, identity scholars have paved the way to consider the multiple personal and social identities that comprise an individual’s professional identity. These dynamics are exemplified by the unique challenges that scholar–practitioners regularly encounter. To deepen understanding of variations in how scholar–practitioners enact their professional identity, we interviewed young scholar–practitioners who completed their doctorates in the past 7 years, as well as seasoned scholar–practitioners with at least 20 years of experience. We elicited metaphors from the interviewees to explore the complexities of their professional identity and subidentities and the challenges that scholar–practitioners face at different stages of career development. We offer implications for the future socialization of scholar–practitioners and others in boundary-spanning roles.

The full text of the article is available at  The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science


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