chapter  11
13 Pages

The Ethnicization of Identity

WithChidozie Umeh

This study explores the changing dynamics of identity construction among ethnic affiliates within two formal organizations in a culturally diverse and developing context. Specifically, it tells the story of two male employees of two Nigerian banks. Interpreted via the construct ‘ethnicized identity’, their experiences show how identity and identity construction may be multiplexic and multisecting—based on perceptions of relative power, endorsement of (in)significant others, intersecting, contextual, asserted and sometimes conflicting identities. Through the experiences of these two protagonists, this study challenges mainstream cross-cultural management views regarding identity and suggests how managers and organizations may comprehend and respond to the dynamics of employee identity construction in multiethnic or culturally diverse contexts. These perspectives reveal some implications for increasingly globalized organizations operating in culturally diverse contexts and employing a multiethnic workforce and suggest that in the Global North and the Global South, organizations need to reassess approaches to managing based on how employees construct identities.