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“Ownership gets you up in the morning, but can keep you awake at night” An exploration of the development of work-related psychological ownership in early career professionals.

Taylor, D., 2022. “Ownership gets you up in the morning, but can keep you awake at night” An exploration of the development of work-related psychological ownership in early career professionals. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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Studies of Psychological Ownership (PO) have captured the imagination of scholars in organisational research and beyond due to the many suggested positive outcomes which occur from feelings of “mine”. Nevertheless, the initial conceptualisation of PO has been under investigated, leaving early questions still unanswered and warranting further research. Consequently, this research aims to contribute to our understanding by exploring how PO develops in early career professionals who are entering the workplace. A qualitative methodological approach consisting of twenty-six interviews with Work Placement Students (WPS), Supervisors and Placement Development Advisors (PDA) captures a rich, detailed tapestry of PO development. To date, quantitative studies dominate PO research, and this study aims to provide some much-needed methodological diversity. Findings indicate four key conclusions. Firstly, that job-related PO can develop earlier than originally suggested, often via a building block approach with participants showing examples of task ownership within the first three months of their work placement and most demonstrating job role and project PO promptly thereafter. Secondly, conclusions were reached that for job-related PO to be quickly and successfully developed, there is a requirement for ownership permissioning via an active relational “giving and taking ownership” process. Job-related ownership was expediated through the organisational culture clearly signalling ownership expectations and the supervisor actively “giving” ownership and demonstrating trust in the individual. “Taking” ownership was demonstrated by participants in two forms; either once permissioned, the individual job crafted to continually develop job-related ownership; or if ownership was not given or permissioned, it was sometimes still taken by the incumbent. Thirdly, new outcomes from job-related PO were observed in this group of participants, including pride in their work and an increase in confidence. Nonetheless, if ownership was felt strongly, it often weighed heavily on the shoulders of participants, and this burden of ownership should not be underestimated. Given individuals are only just understanding “how work, works”, employers need to be aware of the negative implications when individuals feel they fall short of perceived personal, supervisory and organisational expectations. Consequently, there needs to be management of the potential high stress levels this weight can cause. Finally, a possible new PO target was identified in this research as career- related PO. For these young workers who have been conditioned to believe there is no job for life, the attachment to developing their career seemed exceedingly strong in some participants. This has potential to cause tension between other PO targets, such as the job role and the organisation. Career PO may become their one, consistent attachment in working life.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:psychological ownership; early career professionals; work placements; liminality
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:37367
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:23 Aug 2022 10:42
Last Modified:23 Aug 2022 10:42


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