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The Dynamics of Identity Construction in International Collaborations The Dynamics of Identity Construction in International Collaborations

Zhang, Ying (2008) The Dynamics of Identity Construction in International Collaborations The Dynamics of Identity Construction in International Collaborations. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

This research explores the dynamics of identity construction and its impact on the collaborative practice in international collaborations. The substantive approach to international collaborations in the study is informed by the theory of collaborative advantage (Huxham and Vangen, 2005). The fieldwork was accomplished through two-stage data collection and analyses. The first stage involved an exploratory study in a former Sino-British brewery joint venture. The exploratory findings suggested the important theme of identity in international collaborative practice. This gave rise to a critical literature review of identity in international collaborations. Based on the critical literature review, the main research question was formulated together with two key sub-questions. After the formulation of the research questions, the second stage of the fieldwork was conducted in three cases (one Sino-British, Sino-Australian, and Sino-Polish) of international collaborations. The data analyses of the three cases suggested the common patterns of individual identity construction and identity construction in social interaction. Two models were developed to capture these common patterns of identity construction dynamics. Moreover, trust was identified as a distinctive “practitioner-generated theme”, which was conceptualised in the trust building loop (Huxham and Vangen, 2005). This gave rise to the subsequent discussion of identity and trust relations - in respect of the trust building loop - in the three cases. There were various models developed to capture identity and trust relations in the various situations of the trust building loop. Furthermore, these models, which were developed from each case, were then merged into one complex model, which captures identity and trust relations in all the situations identified from the three cases. The discussion of identity and trust relations in the three cases also informed the model of identity construction in social interaction. The generation of these complex models suggested the common themes of language and symbol. This led to the generation of a higher model that captures identity and trust relations in international collaborations.