The Dynamics of the Ideal Self
Journal of Management Development,
<b>Purpose</b><br>The ideal self has had a place in management literature in recent years with reference to identity and role change. However, except for a JMD article in 2006, there has been little theorizing on the ideal self, which is often treated as a static construct. The purpose of this article is to update and refine the concept and explain the dynamic nature of the construct.<br><br><b>Design/methodology/approach<br></b>This conceptual paper is based on a review of the recent management and psychology literature related to the ideal self and its components.<br><br><b>Findings<br></b>The authors propose a dynamic theory of the emerging ideal self and delineate how its components evolve over time.<br>Research limitations/implicationsThe ideal self, or one's personal vision, is a major motivator of learning and change and the sustainability of such efforts. The time dynamic theory would encourage and guide longitudinal research using better variables and measures as well as help in conceptualizing the role of socialization, social identity and life/career stages.<br><br><b>Practical implications<br></b>With a better theory of the ideal self, trainers, consultants, coaches and teachers can help people update their deep sense of purpose and the sustaining driver of learning and change the ideal self. It could help people and organizations address a major determinant of engagement.<br><br><b>Originality/value<br></b>This theory offers a temporal understanding of how the ideal self can motivate learning and change at different life and career eras, which can help in designing future research on identity-related transitions.