Self-doubters, strugglers, storytellers, surfers and others: Images of self-identities in organization studies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article provides an overview of the key images of identity in organizations found in the research literature. Image refers to the overall idea or conceptualization, capturing how researchers relate to - and shape - a phenomenon. Seven images are suggested: self-doubters, strugglers, surfers, storytellers, strategists, stencils and soldiers. These refer to how the individual is metaphorically understood in terms of identity, that is, how the researcher (research text) captures the individual producing a sense of self. The article aims to facilitate orientation - or encourage productive confusion - within the field, encourage reflexivity and sharpen analytic choices through awareness of options for how to conceptualize self-identity constructions.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration


  • organizational psychology, self, identity, construction, discourse
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-217
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch