Intersectional Identity Entrepreneurship: Historic Case of Viola Turner Pursuing Legitimacy Acquisition in Insurance Industry

Portie, M. Madison (2016) Intersectional Identity Entrepreneurship: Historic Case of Viola Turner Pursuing Legitimacy Acquisition in Insurance Industry. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Milorad Novicevic from Management, University of Mississippi.


Download (2MB) | Preview
[img] Text
Madison Portie Thesis+.docx

Download (3MB)


In this historical organizational study, I examine how Viola Turner, a pioneering African American female business professional, managed to climb to the board membership of a black- owned insurance company. I propose that she managed her identity entrepreneurially fitting it to match the leadership role identity in the all-black men board. To assess the veracity of this proposition, I unpack how she exhibited her identity entrepreneurship given that her social identity was perceived as ambivalent by the board that was not conducive to accepting women as members in a leadership role. I chose the case of Viola Turner because I want to capture the historical roots of professional identity that, in a culturally distinct and prototypical way, this pioneering female African American business professional had to enact identity management to gain access to board membership as a legitimate leader. I focus my research on examining specific venues of her participation in collective actions as an emerging leader aware of her prototypicality. In this thesis, I use the methodological approach of critical biography to analyze intersectional identity entrepreneurship of Viola Turner. This biographical approach to writing and analyzing a life story is focused on the critical moments of and events in the subject’s life that are analyzed to uncover the nature of the studied phenomenon and the context that shaped it (Jacobs, 2007; Gibson 20014). The text analysis revealed the clear percentage changes in Turner’s moral foundations from her childhood, when she was molding her personal identity, to her adulthood, when her personal identity merged with her professional identity influencing her ability to gain legitimacy from her peers. Viola Turner’s life and shifts in moral foundations exemplify how, even in a predominantly black firm, her gender identity, coupled with her racial identity, created both barriers and opportunities that her black male peers and white female peers did not recognize. Throughout her professional career, Turner entrepreneurially maneuvered the barriers because she actively tailored her identity to the context. Her experiences exemplify the prevalence of barriers to Black females in attaining leadership positions even when racial barriers are held to a minimum by working in an African American firm.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Portie, M. Madison
Student's Degree Program(s): B.B.A. in Managerial Finance and B.A. in Chinese
Thesis Advisor: Milorad Novicevic
Thesis Advisor's Department: Management
Institution: University of Mississippi
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Ms. M. Madison Portie
Date Deposited: 13 May 2016 19:03
Last Modified: 13 May 2016 19:03

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item