Becoming a manager : coevolution of managerial knowledge, identity, and networks

Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Public Administration and Policy

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 154 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Sue R Faerman

Committee Members

Terrence A Maxwell


managerial identity, managerial role transition, professional identity, public management, social networks, socialization, Management, Executives, Organizational behavior

Subject Categories

Organizational Behavior and Theory | Public Administration


This research explores the ways in which new managers learn their managerial roles and forge a managerial identity. This work particularly focuses on the psychological challenges in unlearning, identity transition, and reconstruction of their social networks that the new managers may undergo in an effort to make a transition from individual contributors to managers and build managerial competencies. The analysis of five waves of semi-structured interview data and six waves of social network data collected from 16 newly promoted managers in a northeastern state agency revealed that the new managers' existing salient identities and their prior assumptions about managerial job largely influenced the difficulties they experienced. Managerial competencies come from an in-depth appreciation of the internal and external managerial job environment and the ability to develop required competencies related to such an understanding of the environment and own personal characteristics. In this particular study, the new managers were particularly surprised and frustrated by the nature of the managerial role, which requires them to be politicians and mentors with high level of emotional and social intelligence. This study also highlights the role of social networks in (1) learning socially constructed knowledge and expectations of managerial role, (2) finding possible selves from role models, and (3) getting social support and other resources to overcome the challenges during the difficult role transition. Based on these findings, this study argues that organizations should be more aware of social and emotional factors that may help new managers transition successfully in terms of selection and training practices.


Requested ProQuest takedown; no end date

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