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Regular version of the site

Personal Identity in Business: Problems, Models, and Approaches

Department: 'Business Psychology' Laboratory
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

The need for socially and psychologically competent professionals, capable of developing businesses effectively and efficiently, is on the rise in today's society. This is accompanied by a rising demand for psychological services both in individual work on the development of the personal potential of businesspeople and employees, and in work with companies in order to raise their competitiveness. From a psychological point of view, a business can be considered both a multi-aspect activity and a specific professional community. The difficulty of the business activity, social responsibility, competition, and instability are all facts imposing special requirements on the people doing business. It is vital for them to comprehend their own strengths and weaknesses, the specific character of their status and role relations in organizations, and their position in the social and professional environment. In addition, business representatives have to build relationships with the external environment, taking into account consumer behaviour and market dynamics. In this regard, professional and social personal identity in business is the actual problem of the present research.

The methodological background of the research is composed of personal identity studies in the context of the Russian psychology of activity paradigm (K. A. Abulkhanova, V. P. Zinchenko, Ye. I. Klimov, N. S. Pryazhnikov, S. L. Rubinshtein, and V. D. Shadrikov). The core approach to the analysis of businesspeople's activity is V.D. Shadrikov’s concept on the genesis of the activity system genesis. The research is founded on the idea that specific professional qualities are formed within a person while mastering an activity, and their position in the social environment also changes. The principal attribute of the process of social and professional self determination is identity, which is a factor and a result of the professional formation of a person, their adoption of professional norms and values, and their perception of interrelation conditions (the peculiarities of the company and consumer behaviour).

The research is both theoretical and empirical. The research is devoted to 1) the study of the peculiarities of business activity, personal business identity problems and regularities, 2) the development of new diagnostic procedures on personal identity parameters and personal identity model in the context of individual and organizational factors, and 3) to the role of the consumer environment in the professional and social development of business organizations representatives.

Research Object: Personal identity in the professional and social world.

Research Subject: Factors and peculiarities of personal identity in business.

Reesearch Goal: To develop a personal identity model based on an analysis of factors of an activity, oganization, and consumer environment in the professional and social development of businesspeople. The complex of professional identity factors is studied. They include the peculiarities of the activity; the identities most favourable for professional “survival” in a modern business environment; the role of the company; and peculiarities of the consumer market (consumer behaviour) in setting professional targets and objectives, as well as plan-making by business representatives.

The Empirical Base of the Research: Business representatives, top executives, and owners of businesses.

Chief Results:
  • Development of a theoretical model of personal identity on the basis of the businesspeople activity system genesis model, the organizational factors of the businesspeople identity model, and the analysis of consumer behaviour as a business activity;
  • Development and testing of a pilot study programme; the selection of a number of quantitative and qualitative research methods on the process of personal identity in an activity and social environment;
  • Development of a method – the operating name “Professional Self”;
  • Acquisition of new data on the real problems of commercial company representatives (top executives and owners of businesses); the interrelation of individual and organizational factors of the personal identity of businesspeople; the roles of the organization and the consumer environment in the activity of businesspeople; and the peculiarities of individual behaviour within an intercultural business exchange.

Implementation of Research Results - Considerations:

Field of Application: The development of personal identity in a business model based on the analysis of individual and organizational factors, the peculiarities of the consumer environment, and defining psychological problems in the process of business activity is of significant importance for making social and psychological prognoses, developing psychotherapeutic practice, and improving the effectiveness of psychological support for business within the present social and economic situation.

The research results may be useful for improving professional, social, and psychological training, developing social relations in commercial companies; supporting employee adaptation to new social and economic requirements, etc. Today, coaching and consulting have become the most popular kinds of psychological work with businesspeople, top executives, and employees in commercial companies.

Within the framework of developing psychological education at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics, the research results may first be applied to Master's degree students in the Psychology in Business programme who are studying the problems and psychological effects of personal identity in business.


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