Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Fyke, Jeremy P.

Second Advisor

D'Urso, Scott C.

Third Advisor

Gilkerson, Nathan


This study explored issues of identity, identification and the identification (attachment) process of training and development professionals employed in medium to large organizations. This research focused on determining what resources training and development professionals identified with, how these resources were expressed and acted on and finally what challenges or tensions are results of this identification process. The findings of this project illustrate unique identity related resources and challenges specific to the training and development industry; furthermore, this study analyzes these results and presents both theoretical and practical implications. Notable findings of this study suggest that training and development professionals primarily identify with helping others and prefer to execute job duties that directly develop or assist others within the organization. Additionally, this service to others mindset often is expressed when training professionals are able to help make sense of organizational messages for other employees, and this work often subordinates the training and development professional. Thus, this research suggests that the identity related challenges that training and development professionals encounter stem from being an unknown or misunderstood part of the larger organizational mission; furthermore, training and development professionals may communicate an organizational message that they do not experience in practice.