Sandra Barnett

Doctor of Philosophy, (Communication and Journalism)
Study Completed: 2019
Massey Business School


Thesis Title
Identity construction by Aotearoa/New Zealand entrepreneurial professionals on LinkedIn: A tensional approach

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Social media, the changing nature of work and workplaces, and identity, are prevalent and important issues in contemporary life. Addressing these issues, Ms Barnett explored if, and how, the social media site, LinkedIn, is becoming an alternative site for the construction of identity for Aotearoa/New Zealand entrepreneurial professionals. She developed a two-dimensional framework of identity tensions. One dimension identifies the tensions specific to the contexts of LinkedIn, Aotearoa/New Zealand, and entrepreneurial professionals. A second dimension identifies tensions apparent in most organisational contexts that are also present in this virtual context but with a unique character. Her research provides evidence that LinkedIn is indeed becoming an alternative organisational site for professional identity construction in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The study concludes with a discussion of how an understanding of managing the tensions in identity construction, can be utilised in tertiary education courses and to inform Aotearoa/New Zealand small business owners about LinkedIn use.

Professor Shiv Ganesh
Dr Andrew Chrystall
Dr Rebecca Gill