Beyond nostalgia: Identity work in corporate alumni networks

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Journal Article
Human Relations, 2015, 68 (4), pp. 583 - 606
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© The Author(s) 2015. Although corporate alumni networks are a developing practice, academia has said very little about them and their members. In this article, our goal is to provide an account of how members of such networks construct themselves as alumni. To that end, we adopt a narrative approach to identity construction and empirically explore the identity work that the members of one corporate alumni network carry out in order to sustain their identification with a past organizational setting. Our case study leads us to document four ‘identity stratagems’ (Jenkins, 1996) through which members incorporate elements of their past professional experience into their self-narratives: nostalgia, reproduction, validation and combination. It thus allows for a better understanding of corporate alumni networks and their members, while also contributing to the broader identity literature by further documenting how organizational participants can incorporate elements of a past professional experience into their self-narratives.
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