Role resourcefulness and the working student: Rethinking identity theory and resource perspective as complementary frameworks
Trinidad, Jonathan Robert
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In studying how working students manage role conflict, this research critically evaluates role use as described in Stryker's identity theory taking into account theoretical advances in Callero's resource perspective. Whereas Stryker argues that working students unconsciously enact a role according to its position in a salience hierarchy, Callero argues that working students consciously employ a role according to its resource value. Although the two perspectives advocate opposite ends of the structure versus agency debate, this research is the first to place them on a continuum of consciousness called role resourcefulness - the degree to which actors are aware of the resource value of their role-identities (or lack thereof) and therefore consciously select and employ them to minimize losses and maximize gains. Using role conflict theory and role accumulation theory, I contextualize role resourcefulness within a population of working students across two campuses. As a dependent variable, I argue role resourcefulness is activated by role accumulation and role strain. As an independent variable, I argue role resourcefulness moderates role strain. Analysis using a newly developed role resourcefulness measure suggests that both quantity and quality of roles impacts well-being, that role conflict and role accumulation theory may actually be complementary despite their competitive claims, and that role resourcefulness is a significant and substantive phenomenon which arises in times of social and personal hardship.