An Exploration of the Professional and Leader Identity of IT Professionals Transitioning to a Permanent Hybrid Role: A Longitudinal Investigation

Sally Smith, Thomas Garavan, Anne Munro, Elaine Ramsey, Colin Smith, Alison Varey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose – The purpose of this study is to explore the role of professional and leader identity and the maintenance of identity, through identity work as IT professionals transitioned to a permanent hybrid role. This study therefore contributes to the under-researched area of permanent transition to a hybrid role in the context of IT, where there is a requirement to enact both the professional and leader roles together.

Design/ methodology/ approach – The study utilised a longitudinal design and two qualitative methods (interviews and reflective diaries) to gather data from 17 IT professionals transitioning to hybrid roles.

Findings – The study findings reveal that IT professionals engage in an ongoing process of reconciliation of professional and leader identity as they transition to a permanent hybrid role, and they construct hybrid professional-leader identities while continuing to value their professional identity. They experience professional-leader identity conflict resulting from reluctance to reconcile both professional and leader identities. They used both integration and differentiation identity work tactics to ameliorate these tensions

Originality/value – The longitudinal study design, the qualitative approaches used and the unique context of the participants provides a dynamic and deep understanding of the challenges involved in performing hybrid roles in the context of IT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalInformation Technology and People
Early online date11 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 May 2020



  • Leader and professional identity
  • Hybrid roles
  • Identity work

Cite this