CiteWeb id: 19900000145

CiteWeb score: 3560

DOI: 10.2307/256287

This study began with the premise that people can use varying degrees of their selves. physically. cognitively. and emotionally. in work role performances. which has implications for both their work and experi­ ences. Two qualitative. theory-generating studies of summer camp counselors and members of an architecture firm were conducted to explore the conditions at work in which people personally engage. or express and employ their personal selves. and disengage. or withdraw and defend their personal selves. This article describes and illustrates three psychological conditions-meaningfulness. safety. and availabil­ ity-and their individual and contextual sources. These psychological conditions are linked to existing theoretical concepts. and directions for future research are described. People occupy roles at work; they are the occupants of the houses that roles provide. These events are relatively well understood; researchers have focused on "role sending" and "receiving" (Katz & Kahn. 1978). role sets (Merton. 1957). role taking and socialization (Van Maanen. 1976), and on how people and their roles shape each other (Graen. 1976). Researchers have given less attention to how people occupy roles to varying degrees-to how fully they are psychologically present during particular moments of role performances. People can use varying degrees of their selves. physically, cognitively, and emotionally. in the roles they perform. even as they main­ tain the integrity of the boundaries between who they are and the roles they occupy. Presumably, the more people draw on their selves to perform their roles within those boundaries. the more stirring are their performances and the more content they are with the fit of the costumes they don. The research reported here was designed to generate a theoretical frame­ work within which to understand these "self-in-role" processes and to sug­ gest directions for future research. My specific concern was the moments in which people bring themselves into or remove themselves from particular task behaviors, My guiding assumption was that people are constantly bring­ ing in and leaving out various depths of their selves during the course of The guidance and support of David Berg, Richard Hackman, and Seymour Sarason in the research described here are gratefully acknowledged. I also greatly appreciated the personal engagements of this journal's two anonymous reviewers in their roles, as well as the comments on an earlier draft of Tim Hall, Kathy Kram, and Vicky Parker.

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