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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Understanding emotional loss and how self-esteem is rebuilt by executives who have suffered involuntary job loss Ciceri, Peter


This narrative research study was inspired by a desire to understand the emotional meaning of involuntary job loss, and how people can successfully rebuild their self-esteem. For this study, the participants are senior business executives, whose identity is embedded in their career. There have been volumes of research on job loss, including the stress impact, loss of self-esteem and coping strategies, to name a few. However, there has been a lack of research that provides an understanding of those personal factors, from inside their world that lifts people from the ruminations and spiral of loss to a renewal of positive self-esteem. Narrative research methodology was used because of its ability to get to the heart of the research question - through the stories of the participants. It allowed them to give voice to their unique experience, and it provided data that was rich in content and meaning. The use of five individual narratives provided an in-depth multi-focal perspective and the subsequent group-based narrative analysis provided the power of group dynamics an opportunity to further elevate the data by allowing the participants, these strangers bound together by common experience, an opportunity to give individual voice to their stories, while finding deeper harmony together. This research attempts to track their journey from loss to self-renewal. It seeks to identify the common experiences and emotional themes to provide meaningful insights to help any person facing the challenge of rebuilding self-worth and identity following the trauma of loss. In essence, this research deduces that the successful process or stages of loss have a purpose - to provide that person with a vehicle for self-acceptance, allowing them to see and find their sense of self and the intrinsic value they possess. This self-knowledge is a prerequisite for positive growth and it provides the foundation from which their reconstructed and true self-esteem is built.

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