Degree Granting Department
Eric M. Eisenberg
entrepreneur, framing, gender, mother, organizational communication, public relations
Individuals often get asked: So what do you do? This question can be challenging for those in less traditional work settings, such as stay-at-home-moms and the self-employed. To help women better understand the range of possible responses, this study explores how women in Public Relations respond to identity questions that involve both their work and personal lives. I begin by situating the study within relevant literature on entrepreneurship, female business owners, the history of women in the workplace, work/life issues, Public Relations, the use of language to construct work identity, and structuration theory. I conducted one-on-one qualitative interviews as my methodology. Next, I discuss how my research questions led to a variety of often paradoxical findings including: (a) business owners who perceive mothering as their primary role; (b) the development of the "unplanned organization;" (c) business ownership as a phenomenon that seemingly offers more opportunities, but also constrains people in unexpected ways; (d) the emergence of nontraditional work arrangements, which continue to experience some resistance; (e) the idea that advisers can be peers or colleagues; (f) new labels, such as virtual work and virtual agency, that describe individuals' roles but raise lingering questions about societal perceptions of work; (g) how framing and sensemaking can offer women tools to account for the discontinuities in their narratives.
Scholar Commons Citation
Weidhaas, Allison Dawn, "An Analysis of How Female Business Owners Construct and Communicate Identity" (2013). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.