How Individual Visions Enable the Design of a Market Strategy that Works
Chapter 2: What is Organizational Identity?
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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