Becoming, being, learning, knowing: identity issues in management and professional education and development





The very notion of management and professional learning and knowledge (competence, expertise, etc.) evokes ideas of social difference, e.g. between those who are managers or professionals, on the one hand, and those who are not on the other and, therefore, of social positioning and identification. Any theorisation of such learning and knowledge would therefore seem to relate, explicitly or implicitly, to conceptions of identity.

Moreover, conceptualizing identity as a process of becoming raises questions about the often assumed functions of education and development in ‘facilitating’ learning, in terms of acquiring knowledge and expertise. Rather, management and professional education and development, and the institutional frameworks within which they take place, may function primarily in terms of processes of identity formation, and the public endorsement of identity claims through credentialisation with biographical and social consequences. How, then, should we understand learning in relation to traditional notions of knowledge, skill, competence, etc? Are these terms merely discursive warrants for identity claims and ascriptions? Are they concepts indexing ‘real’ phenomena that are supplementary to identity processes, and, if so, how do we (and can we) separate them in our analyses?

Conceptualizing identity as situated positioning draws attention to the multiplicity of social contexts that we inhabit and through which we move over time. Situated learning theory, often contrasted with formal education programmes, regards learning and identity as integral and inseparable aspects of participation in multiple communities. From this perspective, research projects have explored the tensions which become apparent at times of transition, for instance as individuals move across communities or into new roles.

Relating to both perspectives of formal education and informal learning, other issues and questions concern identity development over the course of individual’s lives. For instance, to what extent do managers or professionals, as they move towards retirement or retire, embrace learning and development and the construction of new identities? To what extent do previous, now ‘lost’, identities, and/or the apparent lack of obvious and valued new identities inhibit learning and development?

Through the seminar presentations, from academics with reputations for publishing who are currently working on empirical research projects related to learning and identity, we intend to consider these and other questions. We hope to bring together academics and practitioners with an interest in the two areas, to consider synergies across the two communities from which we can identify future research agendas and projects.



Tuesday 31st March, 2015 from 9.30-16.15


Who Should Attend

The event will be of particular interest to members of the BAM Identity and Knowledge and Learning SIGs but all are welcome.


Benefits of Attendance

  • To identify and discuss synergies across the two areas of identity and learning 
  • To network with others sharing the same research and practice interests
  • To shape future research agendas and projects



Jennings Council Chamber
Hazlerigg Building
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU


See Location MAP



  • Leonard Holmes, University of Roehampton
  • Kate Black, Northumbria University
  • Russell Warhurst, Northumbria University
  • Donald Hislop, Loughborough University
  • David Sims, City University London



10:00    Welcome

10:15    Paper 1: Leonard Holmes, University of Roehampton, “Becoming a…. :   exploring learning and competence through the concepts of identity and practices”

11:00    Coffee break

11:15    Paper 2:  Kate Black and Russell Warhurst, Northumbria University, “Strategy and struggle: discourses of learning, change and influence in later-career middle-managers’ identity-work”

12:00    Lunch

13:00    Paper 3: Donald Hislop, Loughborough University, “Behavioural, cognitive and identity-based unlearning: distinctive characteristics and challenges”

13:45   Paper 4:  David Sims, City University London, “The older I get the better I used to be: identity, learning and identity learning among retired people”

14:30   Tea Break

14:45   Discussion – in groups – of mutual identity and learning research agendas (led by Doyin Atewologun, and/or colleagues, Queen Mary University of London)

15:30   Plenary discussion and future directions

16.00   Closing comments


Provider Information

The British Academy of Management Identity & Knowledge and Learning SIGs.



For more information regarding the event please contact Sandra Corlett at

For more information on this event please contact Oana Mihut at the BAM Office on +44(0)2073837770, or at


Event Price

FREE for BAM Members

£35 for non-BAM members

To register:

  • BAM members will be required to log into their account on BAM's website and proceed with the registration for the event
  • If you are not a BAM member and do not have non-BAM member's account on BAM's website, please create non-BAM member's profile on BAM's website and then email Oana Mihut at asking to complete your registration for the event.

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Cancelation Policy - Should you wish to cancel your place, you will receive a full refund if your cancelation is made 4 weeks prior to the event. After this, full payment will be required.  BAM reserves the right to cancel the event if there are not enough people to justify running the workshops.


31st March 2015 through  4:30 PM
Jennings Council Chamber, Hazlerigg Building
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU
United Kingdom
BAM Member:Becoming, being, learning, knowing: identity issues in management and professional education and development £ 0.00
Non-BAM Member:Becoming, being, learning, knowing: identity issues in management and professional education and development £ 35.00
Event Information
Product Code 40447
Event Provider BAM Identity and Knowledge & Learning SIGs
Date / Time 31st March 2015
Venue Jennings Council Chamber Hazlerigg Building Loughborough University Loughborough LE11 3TU
Event Type Research Seminar
Target Audience Doctoral Students, Post Doctoral Fellows, ESRC/SAMS MBD Fellows, Early/Mid Career Academics, Senior Academics, Practitioners
Price FREE for BAM Members, £35 for non-BAM members
Booking Deadline 30 March 2015
Link to Booking Form
Contact For more information on this event please contact the BAM Office on +44(0)2073837770, or at
Delegate List Available? No

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