Bhatt, Mamta. “Me with my Client”. PhD, Boston College, 2011. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/3181.
Organizational research on individuals' identity focuses primarily on social identity, i.e., the self-concept they derive from their membership in a group, paying limited attention to relational identity or their self-definition in their role-relationships and its consequent implications for how individuals in these relationships get their work done. In this study, I address this gap by examining the nature of consultants' relational identity, i.e., their sense of self in their role-relationships with their clients and its implications for their conduct of work. Analysis of 50 in-depth interviews with consultants reveal that their relational identity can be understood by two dimensions: perceived sense of involvement with the relational other and perceived sense of influence over the relational other. Taken together, they explain four distinct ways in which consultants manifest their relational identity, namely: comprehensive, defined, associative, and impoverished relational identity. Further, I found that relational identity is associated with the degree of informality in the conduct of work between the two individuals in the role-relationship.