Top News 2020

English summaries

English Summaries (04/2020)

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Päivi Fadjukoff, Lea Pulkkinen & Katja Kokko

Identity formation in adulthood in the domains of family and work

We explore the formation of identity in adulthood in the domains of work, intimate relationships, and parenting. As part of the Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Personality and Social Development, a semi-structured identity interview was conducted at the ages of 27, 36, 42 and 50 (= 221–291). We determined the identity status of the subjects (diffuse, moratorium, foreclosure or achieved) for each of the three domains, and examined whether the identity status was related to the concurrent life situation. In young men at age 27, occupational identity moratorium was more typical for those without full-time employment. In women of the same age, intimate relationship identity moratorium was associated with a lack of a stable relationship. In 36-year-old men, childlessness was associated with a parental identity diffusion or moratorium. Later, the links emerged between life situation and identity diffusion: men without full-time work at 42 and women at 50 were more often diffuse in occupational identity; men and women without a stable relationship at age 50 were more often diffuse in intimate relationship identity; and childless women at age 42 were more often diffuse in parental identity. The results demonstrate that life situations are associated to identity formation through adulthood, but individual variation is high. Identity achievement also occurred in men and women in all life situations at all age stages.

Keywords: identity, adulthood, life domains, longitudinal study, occupation, intimate relationships, parenthood


Katariina Lehtiniemi, Veera Nieminen, Elina Auvinen & Taru Feldt

Affective-identity leadership motivation and work meaningfulness: Associations to leaders’ career intentions

This study investigated the associations between affective-identity motivation to lead (AI-MTL) and leadership-related career intentions. Leaders were asked to assess the future possibility of seeking either less or more challenging leadership positions or of staying in their current leadership position. In addition, we wanted to find out whether work meaningfulness acted as a moderating factor in the association between AI-MTL and career intentions. The sample consisted of highly educated Finnish leaders (= 266). The data was analyzed with hierarchical linear regression. In line with our hypotheses, the results indicated that low levels of AI-MTL increased the probability to seek less challenging leadership positions; high levels were associated with the probability to seek more challenging leadership positions. In contrast to our hypothesis, the level of AI-MTL was not associated with the intention to stay in the current leadership position, whereas experienced work meaningfulness was related to these career intentions. A moderating effect was not found. These findings highlight the importance of affective-identity motivation for acting in leadership positions: to avoid premature turnover on top-rank positions, those responsible for executive selection should pay attention to AI-MTL already during recruitment. In addition, the development of AI-MTL and the experienced work meaningfulness among leaders should be supported, for example, by utilizing professional guidance and leadership training in organizations.

Keywords: affective-identity motivation, meaningful work, career intentions, leaders, demanding leadership position


Mari Huhtala & Päivi Fadjukoff

Leader moral identity: How do personal moral values manifest and develop within organizations?

In this article, we describe how leaders’ moral identity manifests in moral challenges within organizations and what kinds of developmental processes can be identified for moral identity. We suggest that the identity paradigm by James Marcia can be applied to moral development. Thus, the maturity of moral identity can be defined using two central processes of identity construction: active exploration of, and commitment to, personal values. In addition, we describe how Marcia’s concept of disequilibrating events can also be applied to moral conflicts. In the empirical section, we describe and categorize different contextual and individual factors that can either support or challenge leaders’ moral identity, and how moral identity appears and develops in organizations. We draw our theoretical arguments and related empirical findings together as a summarized model, which helps us to understand in more detail how individuals’ moral identities differ, and how these differences relate to facing and solving moral conflicts in organizations.

Keywords: moral identity, identity statuses, moral decision-making, leaders


Rasmus Mannerström & Katariina Salmela-Aro

Young adults’ personal and social identity: Links with career preparedness in adolescence and psychological well-being in young adulthood

Within the Eriksonian research paradigm, identity has typically been studied through personal commitments (personal identity), as an individual and conscious achievement. Little attention has been paid to the over-time stability of identity (as trait) and the role of belongingness (social identity) for psychological well-being. In this explorative longitudinal study (T1 age = 15, = 703; T2 age = 23, = 575; T3 age = 28, = 548), we employed correlation and regression analyses to examine 1) if career preparedness measured in adolescence (T1) is associated with personal and social identity in young adulthood (T2 and T3), 2) how changes in identity in young adulthood affect psychological well-being (between T2 and T3), and 3) which one of the personal and social dimensions of identity is a stronger predictor of well-being among young adults (T3). The results showed that career preparedness at age 15 is significantly associated with identity still at the age of 28, and that changes in personal identity have a greater influence on well-being in young adulthood than changes in social identity, but on the other hand, the latter is the strongest independent predictor of well-being at the age of 28. The results are discussed in relation to recent findings and debates about factors influencing identity formation.

Keywords: personal identity, social identity, preparedness, longitudinal study, well-being


Kati Vasalampi, Sami Määttä, Johanna Kärkkäinen & Laura Luojus

Career identity formation and dropout risk in upper secondary education

In this study, we examined, first, the career identity profiles of Finnish upper secondary students during their first year of study, and, second, the prevalence of thoughts about the discontinuation of studies within different identity profiles. Further, we compared the identity status of academic and vocational track students. This study was part of a larger project called the School Path: From First Steps to Secondary and Higher Education (2016–). The sample consisted of 3 135 students, of which 53 percent were in the academic track. We found six career identity statuses by cluster analysis: 1) undifferentiated; 2) diffused diffusion; 3) achieved identity; 4) ruminative moratorium; 5) carefree diffusion; and 6) foreclosure. The results show that a minority of students felt certain of their career choice during the first year of upper secondary education: in both tracks about 20 percent of students showed the achieved identity profile. For more than 75 percent of students, career identity development included a medium to high level of ruminative exploration, and for the students in the vocational track ruminative exploration was associated with a high risk of dropping out of school.

Keywords: career identity, school dropout, upper secondary education