Measuring professional identity: A review of the literature and a multilevel confirmatory factor analysis of professional identity constructs

Joshua B. Barbour, John C. Lammers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The article contributes to the study of professions by forwarding a strategy for measuring professional identity guided by institutional logics. We review conceptual and measurement strategies used previously in the study of professional identity to articulate a multidimensional and multilevel approach. The application of institutional logics makes clear the importance of beliefs as well as belonging and attachment in the study of professional identity, and at the same time, the project contributes to institutional logics a more thorough explication of professional identity. Providing an exemplary case, we report a multilevel confirmatory factor analysis of measures of professional identity constructs from a national sample of physicians (n=887) nested in diverse practice organizations (J=488), which demonstrated the empirical independence of belonging, attachment, and beliefs across multiple levels of analysis. We discuss the implications of the approach for important theoretical questions at the intersection of identity, organizations, and institutions (e.g. the 'professional-bureaucratic' conflict and the multiplicity of targets of identification). We also make recommendations for operationalizing a multidimensional, multilevel conceptualization of professional identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-60
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Professions and Organization
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Keywords

  • Healthcare professions
  • Institutional logics
  • Measurement
  • Multilevel confirmatory factor analysis
  • Professional identity
  • Professional-bureaucratic conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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