Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Embracing indeterminacy: on being a liminal professional

Reed, Cara ORCID: and Thomas, Robyn ORCID: 2021. Embracing indeterminacy: on being a liminal professional. British Journal of Management 32 (1) , pp. 219-234. 10.1111/1467-8551.12385

[thumbnail of 1467-8551.12385.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (264kB) | Preview
License URL:
License Start date: 11 October 2019


The rise of the corporate profession has contributed to a more varied and ambiguous professional terrain that is increasingly seen to be indeterminate and fluid. This paper advances the current debate around the development of corporate professions, exploring how practitioners respond to this environment. Drawing on research with public relations practitioners, the paper shows how the idea of being a liminar facilitates the formation of a professional identity in conditions of high indeterminacy. In taking an individual level of analysis of professions, the paper suggests that indeterminacy is a more resonant feature for corporate professionals than previously suggested in the research, but that this indeterminacy is navigated in professional identity construction through ‘being a liminar’, and thus greater nuance may need to be recognized in the conceptualization of both corporate professions and corporate professionalization. It also demonstrates the use of liminality as a discursive resource in identity construction and with it, challenges the common association of liminality with self‐doubt and existential anxiety. In turn, the paper considers the implications of the liminal professional identity for the future of contemporary professions, and for understanding the liminal experience.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1045-3172
Funders: ESRC studentship
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 October 2019
Date of Acceptance: 19 September 2019
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 09:29

Citation Data

Cited 11 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics