Identity and Strategy

Identity and Strategy

How Individual Visions Enable the Design of a Market Strategy that Works

Olaf G. Rughase

This groundbreaking book explores the relationship between organizational identity and strategy and proposes a practical strategy making process that helps to avoid the typical pitfalls in strategic change processes. In doing so, the author bridges an important gap in management and strategy literature and explains how to practically link content and process when designing market strategies. A new conceptual framework is also presented which emphasizes the importance and dynamics of organizational identity and corresponding time discrepancies for strategy making.

Chapter 2: What is Organizational Identity?

Olaf G. Rughase

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, strategic management


This chapter provides an overview of the concept of organizational identity, its foundations and its links and/or relations to other management concepts. As Hatch and Schultz (2004, p. 5) observe, current organizational identity research embraces an amazing diversity of theoretical perspectives, orientations and emphases – ‘a field that is in a state of continuous disintegration and reintegration as it struggles to incorporate ideas from many academic disciplines and numerous empirical cases’. It would exceed the aim of this book to provide a comprehensive scientific outline of the nature and impact of organizational identity. Nevertheless, this chapter briefly reviews the existing (and steadily growing) literature about this subject. 2.1 THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS Organizational identity is a quite young research area, mainly shaped by Albert and Whetten in 1985. Albert and Whetten (1985, p. 264) describe organizational identity as ‘a self-reflective question’ asked by organizational members, capturing the essential features of an organization. As summarized by Gioia (1998, p. 21) Albert and Whetten define organizational identity as follows: ‘Organizational identity is a) what is taken by organization members to be central to the organization; b) what makes the organization distinctive from other organizations (at least in the eyes of the beholding members); c) and what is perceived by members to be an enduring or continuing feature linking the present organization with the past (and presumably the future).’ Organizational identity has its theoretical foundations primarily in research on identity in the social sciences. While Albert and Whetten (1985) originally referred...

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