Emergent Identity Work and Institutional Change: The ‘Quiet’ Revolution of Japanese Middle-Class Housewives

SAGE Publications Ltd
Publication Type:
Asian Entrepreneurship, 2014, 1
Issue Date:
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How do relatively low-power, role-constrained actors break through their constraints in a highly institutionalized environment? Examining the experience of Japanese middle-class housewives involved in a social enterprise, we developed a model of emergent identity work which outlines how actors who enacted their role values in new domains triggered a process of learning and sensemaking which led to spiralling cycles of role boundary expansion. In this process, facilitated by an enabling collective, actors not only changed their own self-concept (internal identity work) but also, through external identity work, changed others’ conceptions of their institutionally prescribed roles.
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