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For years now I’ve used a very simple way to mark the moment when it’s time to write: I light a stick of incense.
There is something very primal and powerful in the act of setting something aflame, whether it’s incense or a candle or some sage. Having a small creative ritual can also be a way to separate yourself from the rest of the day’s thoughts and activities.
If you write mostly at night, for example, then it can help to feel some separation from the job you were at earlier in the day, conversations you might have had, or news or other information that you heard about.
A creative ritual is like drawing a line in the sand that tells those other things that they will have to wait again until tomorrow, because the night is yours. The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto. In conjunction with the new Access to Information policy, the World Bank recently launched the Open Data Initiative, freeing up development data for use to stakeholders worldwide.
While the new Open Data website currently displays just a surface of the depth of data that can be found in EdStats, this initiative helps emphasize the importance of education to a wider audience and serves as a high volume entry point for visitors interested in World Development Indicators. Hans Rosling, of the Gapminder foundation, and Beth Novack, of the White House's Open Government Initiative,  visited the World Bank recently to discuss the power of Open Data, information visualization, and innovations in governance and development. Data is indeed key to measuring progress, and the open data initiative certainly is good news.
The identification of leading indicators will also help audiences make better sense of data for evidence-based policy making, tying into future efforts to benchmark education systems. This is a€?Organizational Identity and Diversitya€?, chapter 8 from the book An Introduction to Organizational Communication (v.
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Then, too, if organizational identity starts with members and is then projected to others, the traditional distinction between a€?externala€? and a€?internala€? communication becomes blurred. How do communications between members of an organization develop a sense of who a€?wea€? are?
As this sense is developed, how is organizational identity maintained and transmitted to new members?
How is this identity conveyed to persons who are, at least in a formal sense, outside the organization? The first question is of greater interest to managers of new organizations, while the second and third are concerns for managers of established organizations.
In this chapter, then, we have paired identity and diversity as two aspects of organizational life that exist in a tension which must be successfully balanced.
Since the Industrial Revolution and then with accelerating force in the twentieth century, organizations have become major sources of personal identity for many people.
Then, too, the social contract between employers and employees has changed over the past two generations in response to globalization (see Chapter 6 "Organizational Communication Climate, Culture, and Globalization"). See how different approaches to the nature of organizations lead to different perspectives on organizational identity. Understand the concept of organizational identity, both its roots in theories of individual identity and how the literature on organizational identity has developed to the present.
Differentiate between organizational identity, organizational culture and organizational image, and grasp the dynamic relationships between them.
See how organizational identity can be unstable and mutable, changing and adapting in response to external feedback or events that challenge an organizationa€™s image and reputation. Understand the danger of self-referential auto-communication and the ethical challenges posed. Because it raises questions of ontology, epistemology and axiology (see Chapter 4 "Modern Theories of Organizational Communication"), the concept of identity evokes debate among organizational communication scholars which reflects larger controversies in the field.
The concept of organizational identity also raises a question similar to one we explored in Chapter 6 "Organizational Communication Climate, Culture, and Globalization" about organizational culture.
We will explore postmodern and critical views of organizational identity in greater detail later in the chapter. As we learned in Chapter 4 "Modern Theories of Organizational Communication", systems theory is based on the metaphor that an organization can be likened to biological organism.
We do not speak of a a€?civilizationa€? as an a€?organizationa€?; a civilization is, practically speaking, unbounded. How people use communication to negotiate and manage their identities is a vital field of research of research in communication studies. Through the biological metaphor we grasped how an organization must establish boundaries, even if permeable and blurred, in order for the notion of an a€?organizationa€? to have any meaning. Their conception was modeled on the processes of individual identity formation theorized by Cooley, Mead, and Goffman.
Since the work of Albert and Whetten and Ashford and Mael in the 1980s, the literature on organizational identity has continued to expand. The self is comprised of an a€?Ia€? (the spontaneous and creative aspects of self) and a a€?mea€? (the looking-glass self that imagines how it is perceived by the a€?generalized othersa€?). Onea€™s self-concept combines a personal identity based on individual traits with a social identity based on group classifications. The self can be analyzed at three levels: personal self-concept, relational self-concept, and collective self-concept.
Originated concept of organizational identity, theorized as a combination of an organizationa€™s central character, the distinctive qualities it claims to possess, and the enduring manifestation of an identity over time.
Proposed that research on organizational identity can be pursued through a psychoanalytic framework. Applied Tajfel and Turnera€™s social identity theory to organization studies and introduced the concept of a€?organizational identificationa€? to describe how individual members identify with an organization. Introduced the concept of a€?organizational imagea€? as an aspect of organizational identity.
Investigated how organizational identities adapt in response to an organizationa€™s environment and concerns for how it is perceived. Adapted Goffmana€™s notion of impression management to organizations, thus envisioning impression management not as merely a managerial function but as a negotiation between an organization and its audiences. Organization members manage multiple identities; for example, their identities as members of a specific organization and their identities as members of their professional community.
Different segments of an organization may have different identities, which may lead to a€?hybrid identitiesa€? as members combine different (and sometimes conflicting) identities.
Contrary to Albert and Whettena€™s description of organizational identity as enduring, identity is dynamically unstable and adaptive. Organizational identity is formed, maintained, and transformed through the dynamic interaction of organizational identity, organizational image, and organizational culture. Organizational identity may be analyzed as a narrative production or a story that an organization tells to gain acceptance. Managerial interests attempt to regulate organizational identity in order to a€?producea€? an a€?appropriatea€? member and thus maintain control. To get a sense of where the theory of organizational identity is headed, consider how fast food chains have been transformed over the years. A further challenge for research on organizational identity is a problem that has confronted those who study organizational culture.
Hatch and Schultz attempted to sort out and synthesize these literatures with a theory that not only distinguishes the differences between identity, image and culture, but shows how each dynamically impacts on the other.
While the term organizational identity is common in the literature of organization studies, Hatch and Schultz found that the term corporate identity appears frequently in the literature on managerial strategy and marketing. To construct a concept of organizational identity that unifies its internal and external aspects, Hatch and Schultza€™s began by defining what identity is not.
By these definitions, Hatch and Schultz mark out organizational identity, culture, and image as distinct phenomena.
By extending Hatch and Schultza€™s Organizational Identity Dynamics Model, as depicted in Figure 8.4 "Integration of Culture and Image via Identity", we can see how identity mediatesa€”provides a transmission belt, if you willa€”between internal culture and external image. Conscious reflection on organizational identity is a key to the notion of adaptive instabilityChallenging Albert and Whettena€™s thesis that organizational identity is enduring, Dennis Gioia and his colleagues argued that identity has the quality of adaptive instability as external feedback and events trigger challenges to an organizationa€™s image and the organization responds by reflecting on how it sees itself and how others see it.
In their modela€”as in the Organizational Identity Dynamics Model described earliera€”identity and image are distinct but interdependent phenomena. Organizational identity is projected to external audiences through various means of communicationa€”a topic we will explore at length in Chapter 14 "Stress, Conflict, and Negotiation". Public relations is a€?the management of relationships between an organization and its publics.a€?Guth, D. If you are majoring in communication then you may be concentrating on advertising, marketing, and public relations; you may aspire to do these activities as a career.
With this growing appreciation for the two-way nature of external organizational communication, George Cheney and Lars Christensen have injected the concept of organizational identity into the mix. This startling observation has profound meaning for anyone who is, or aspires to be, a corporate communicator.
In originating the concept of organizational identity, Stuart Albert and David Whetten built on theories of how individual identities are formed. To distinguish between organizational identity, organizational culture and organizational image, Mary Jo Hatch and Majken Schultz advanced a single theory to delineate each concept and explains how each phenomenon is interrelated with the other. Dennis Gioia, Majken Schultz, and Kevin Corley challenged Albert and Whettena€™s original assertion that organizational identity is enduring.
An organization externally communicates its identity through advertising, marketing, and public relations. Recognize how management strives to guide employeesa€™ socialization into the organization so employees strongly identify with the organization. Understand the processes by which organization members come to identify with the organization and incorporate that affinity into their self-identities. Grasp the postmodern and critical concern that managerial interests can use organizational identity and identification to sustain their control. While organizational identity may be developed by an organization, organizational identification may be developed by its members. Leaders expend much effort toward managing employeesa€™ identification with the organization in hopes of producing a workforce that is committed and loyal. In the first phase, anticipatory socialization, you envision a specific job or career; this vision, according to Jablin, is likely influenced by family, media, peers, education, and any previous organizational experiences you have had. Fostering organizational identification is seen by leaders as an essential management function.
It sets a meditative, purposeful mood that brings on a certain kind of focus and atmosphere. But having something that acts as a reset button for you daily – whether it something as simple as lighting a candle or just turning off your phone at the same time every day – it signals that it’s time for the work to begin. Sage is believed to have cleansing properties and can help to clear your head of anything that might distract you from your work. When you are wearing your "writing sweater," it sends out the message that you are in the zone. Even though it’s a small, simple act, it sends a clear message that you are serious about what you’re working on and you’re not allowing for distractions. Her first book, Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond, was the first to give an in-depth account of Toronto’s early punk scene.


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Each of the organizations referenced above is trying to foster a unique identity in a world already saturated with competing messages. Communication activitiesa€”including advertising, marketing, and public relationsa€”that convey an organizationa€™s identity to external audiences are, in fact, the flip side of internal communication activities by which members make sense of who a€?wea€? are. Indeed, organizational identification is a prime corporate objective as management strives to cultivate employees who feel strongly attached and loyal to the organization and its values. This is true for leaders who must manage public impressions about the organization and, simultaneously, who must manage employees so that they identity sufficiently with the organization to support the desired corporate identity.
In traditional societies, the bonds of local community and local authority supplied stable roles for people.
Until the 1970s people generally believed that employees who strongly and loyally identified with their organizations would be rewarded with job security and a reasonable expectation of a lifelong career.
One review noted that, while a€?interest in concepts of organizational identity has growna€? and a€?the literature is expanding rapidly,a€? the notion a€?has been subjected to much scrutiny and debate, [and] definitions and conceptualizations of the topic remain essentially contested.a€?Seidl, D. Where Western philosophy views each person as a self-contained unit who is in charge of his or her intentions, postmodernists regard each person as a€?sitea€? where the flux of larger historical and cultural discourses conditions our thoughts and intentions. In other words, is organizational identity just one attribute, among a set of many different attributes, that an organization a€?has,a€? a variable that leaders can a€?managea€? to boost performance? But we start with an interpretive perspective since the concept of organizational identity originated in that tradition.
From that perspective, we can understand how a living thing must somehow maintain a boundary between itself and the environment. On the other hand, a basic function of any organization is to continually organize a boundary between itself and its environment.
More than a century ago, Charles Horton Cooley asserted that identity is constructed through language and has both an individual and a social aspect; indeed, identity is partly shaped as each of us mentally constructs a looking-glass selfA term coined by Charles Horton Cooley, the looking-glass self is a mental image of how you think others perceive you and which drives the social aspect of your self. William Cupach and Tadasu Imahori proposed an Identity Management Theory to explain the communication strategies that individuals use to manage their identities, or a€?supporta€? their a€?faces,a€? at various stages of their interpersonal relationships.Cupach, W. And through likening the organization to a person, we saw how these boundaries must be communicatively negotiated in ways that distinguish the organizationa€™s story from those of other organizations in a socially acceptable manner. Writing a few years later, Ashforth and Mael further grounded organizational identity in social identity theoryProposed by Henri Tajfel and John Turner, social identity theory (SIT) holds that onea€™s self-concept combines a a€?personal identitya€? based on individual traits with a a€?social identitya€? based on group classifications.
Over three decades, the concept has moved from Albert and Whettena€™s original thesisa€”that organizational identity is central, distinctive, and enduringa€”to a more nuanced view: identity is adaptive, even unstable, and exists in dynamic relation with external audiencesa€™ and internal membersa€™ perceptions of an organization. The social aspect is constructed as a a€?looking-glass selfa€? when a person considers how others may perceive him or her. Negotiating and maintaining the self is like a drama; a person strives to present a face that will be accepted by an audience of others. How an organization sees itself and believes others see it will affect corporate issue management.
As we learned in Chapter 6 "Organizational Communication Climate, Culture, and Globalization", the idea of organizational culture was popularized in the 1980s by the business press and, at the same time, separate literatures developed in management science (taking the view that an organization a€?hasa€? a culture which can be managed) and organization studies (taking the view that an organization a€?isa€? a culture). Along the way, they put forth a theory of how organizational identity is formed, maintained, and transformed. Upon review, they discovered that the term a€?organizational identitya€? typically connoted something that was transmitted internally via interpersonal communication and was shared by all organization members.
They observed in the organizational literature that identity and image were often linked, as were identity and culture. Organizational cultureTo distinguish organizational culture from organizational identity, Hatch and Schultz described culture as emerging from membersa€™ symbolic constructions to form unconsciously accepted assumptions and meanings that shape everyday organizational life. Nevertheless, these phenomena do not operate in isolation but exist in dynamic relationships by which identity and culture, and identity and image, influence one another. And through the dynamic interrelationship between identity and image, members construct an organizational a€?mea€? that must be continually negotiated with others.
The figure below shows how organizational culture and image are integrated through the two processes of reflection on identity and expression of identity. As the external impressions that form an organizationa€™s reputation are inevitably subjected to feedback and events, members ask themselves four questions. Taken together, these are often called a€?strategic communicationa€? or a€?integrated marketing communication.a€? Separately, scholars and practitioners designate these means of communication as advertising, marketing, and public relations. Certainly, many communication majors end up as advertising, marketing, or public relations professionals. Corporate communication campaigns are generally viewed as linear or interactional: organizational leaders think up a message, strategically choose the channels that most effectively reach the desired recipients, and measure results to determine success and guide future campaigns. A functionalist (or postpositive) ontology regards identity as one of a set of attributes that an organization a€?hasa€? and which therefore can be managed to optimize performance. They looked to the theories of Charles Horton Cooley, George Herbert Mead, and Erving Goffman who held that the a€?selfa€? has both an individual and a social aspect.
It might be a sports team on which you played, a club that you joined, a company where you worked, a church or mosque or synagogue where you have worshipped, or the college you now attend. Describe how (using Albert and Whettena€™s definition) its identity reflects its central character and the distinctive qualities it claims to possess, and how the identity has endured over time. In what ways might its organizational identitya€”the way it sees itselfa€”have shaped the problems it perceives and the solutions it formulates? So they pay much attention to ensuring new members a€?learn the ropesa€? and are socialized into the values and practices of the organization.
Along with environmental influences, noted Michael Kramer, the process of anticipatory socialization also takes in process of being recruited and hired by a specific organization.Kramer, M.
Ira Chaleff described the ideal follower as one how supports the leader and offers corrective feedback when needed.Chaleff, I. Ashforth and Mael surveyed the extant literature and found that the term organizational identification was sometimes used interchangeably with such terms as commitment and internalization.
She has also released a poetry collection called Amphetamine Heart and a novel called PostApoc. From the Open Data site, visitors can link to the EdStats database where they will find in-depth country level information.
The World Bank's leadership on data collection helps countries monitor progress that can then be used to design better policies. The United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women is currently holding an online discussion in English and French on this topic, until 20 July. You may also download a PDF copy of this book (8 MB) or just this chapter (3 MB), suitable for printing or most e-readers, or a .zip file containing this book's HTML files (for use in a web browser offline). At the same time, leaders engage in impression management to engender positive feelings among the various publicsa€”from customers, to shareholders, to the mediaa€”on whose goodwill the organization depends. But this need to manage the tension between identity and diversity is also true for individual organization members. In modern societies, however, people derive a major part of their identities from the organizations with which they affiliate.
Today, employees realize they have no such guarantees and do not expect to spend their entire adult lives working for a single company. From a critical perspective, on the other hand, the concept of identity is entangled with societal structures of power that a€?colonizea€? individual consciousnesses in order to make the dominant order seem normal and natural. To get a grip on the concept, we begin with two basic metaphors: the organization as a biological organism, and the organization as a person.
In particular, researchers question whether identity can be seen as enduring when todaya€™s organizations exist in a world of accelerating change and many are now set up as loosely structured networks. Breaches in the Boardroom: Organizational identity and conflicts of commitment in a nonprofit organization.
Television commercials for Kentucky Fried Chicken were aimed at mothers who could enjoy an occasional respite from the stove by putting a ready-made, home-style meal on the family dinner table. In contrast, a€?corporate identitya€? often connoted a managerial perspective that was transmitted to external stakeholders via mediated communication. Organizational image is the perspective held by external stakeholders who view the organization as a€?othera€? to themselves and interpret the organization based not only on the organization itself but on multiple sources.
Yet Meada€™s original theory also held that the a€?Ia€? and the a€?mea€? shaped one another. Their theory addresses a trend that was recognized by Stuart Albert, who originated the concept of organization a generation earlier. Traditionally, these activities are treated as linear communication (see Chapter 4 "Modern Theories of Organizational Communication") in which a sender conveys a message through a channel to a receiver.
In other words, corporate communications are formulated according to the rational intentions of corporate communicators. For example, as a corporate communicator you may need to ask yourself whether your organizationa€™s culture is disposed toward actions of integrity or of harm.
An interpretive ontology regards identity as part of what an organization a€?isa€? since it emerges from the communicative interactions that constitute an organization.
Extending these ideas to organizations, Albert and Whetten argued that organizational identity is the central character of an organization, the distinctive qualities it claims to possess, and the enduring manifestation of its identity over time.
Organizational identity and culture are interrelated because membersa€™ reflections on identity become embedded in culture, even as identity comes to express cultural understandings. As external feedback and events trigger challenges to an organizationa€™s image, its identity takes on the quality of a€?adaptive instability.a€? The organization reflects on itself, reflects on how it is perceived, compares its identity and its image, addresses any discrepancy by adjusting its identity to generate a desired image, projects the image to its external environment, and the process starts over again. George Cheney and Lars Christensen pointed out that an organizationa€™s identitya€”how it sees itselfa€”shapes the problems it perceives and the solutions it formulates. Now, referring to Hatch and Schultza€™s theory, describe how its identity, culture, and image are interrelated. Do you see, as Cheney and Christensen cautioned, any auto-communication in its advertising, marketing, and public relations? As we review at length in Chapter 12 "Entering, Socializing, and Disengaging", Fredric JablinJablin, F. As we noted at the outset of the chapter, people in modern societies derive much of their self-identities from the organizations with which they affiliate. Therea€™s the leading national burger chain; if you go there, then you know exactly what youa€™ll get no matter which location you visit.
To return to our opening scenario, the external activities by which each fast food chain communicates its identity to consumers cannot be divorced from the internal communications by which that same identity is fostered among members of each organization. Nevertheless, the managerial drive to maintain a stable corporate identity and foster strong organizational identification among employees has certain risks. Perhaps you know people who identify so completely with an organization that its values form their personal sense of moral duty. Under this new social contract you must balance the level of organizational identification needed to do your work effectively and gain satisfaction from your employment, with the knowledge that you must build a personal a€?branda€? that is separate from your current organization.
These two approaches, postmodern and critical, may also be extended from personal identity to organizational identity.
The first metaphor will help us grasp the organizational aspect of identity and the second to comprehend the communicative aspect.
But if there is no boundary then the organism would cease to exist as an identifiable entity.
First, an organization sets up formal hierarchies: for example, a company adopts a form of ownership and a corporate structure, sets hiring and firing procedures for determining who can be an employee, and establishes locations where work takes place. Anti-social actions of committed organizational participants: An existential psychoanalytic perspective.


Today, of course, families eat out regularly and fast fare, rather than home cooking, sets consumer taste preferences.
But a€?instead of choosing between corporate and organizational identitya€? as a preferred term, Hatch and Schultz a€?advocate combining the understandings .
Hatch and Schultza€™s Organizational Identity Dynamics Model therefore combines the two dyads and puts identity as the nexus between the organizational a€?Ia€? and a€?me,a€? as shown in Figure 8.3 "Organizational Identity Dynamics Model" below. Theories of mass communication have progressed over the past eighty years from the simplistic a€?magic bullet theorya€? (mass media direct sway the public) and two-step theory (mass media reach opinion leaders, who sway the public), to the n-step theory (mass media reach the different opinion leaders on various issues, who sway the public on those issues) and diffusion theory (mass media influence people who then influence their peers), and to agenda-setting theory (mass media do not determine what people think but, rather, what they think about)McCombs, M. You may need to question whether you are conveying a€?trutha€? when, because your point of reference is a given organizational identity, your messages emerge from your own perspective. A critical ontology may see organizational identity as a tool of management to make its interests seem normal and natural. Formation of this identity, however, is an interactive process in which outsiders voice perceptions that influence the organizationa€™s definition of itself. Organizational identity and image are interrelated because the expression of identity leaves impressions on outsiders, even as the organization takes those impressions into account in forming its identity.
When issue management becomes a€?self-referentiala€? then corporate communication can actually become a€?auto-communication.a€? Though advertising, marketing, and marketing are purportedly directed to external audiences, the organization is really talking to itself. Finally, referring to Gioia, Schultz and Corleya€™s theory of adaptive instability, describe how the organizationa€™s identity has changed in response to external feedback and events that have challenged its image. As noted above, you may have felt such identification with a sports team, a club, a house of worship, your alma mater, your place of work, or any number of organizations to which you have belonged. Evaluating the implications must start with a better understanding of organizational identity as a psychological phenomenon. One rival burger chain, however, works hard at promoting a reputation for higher-quality meat, while another advertises higher-quality sandwiches. Too much homogeneity can cause an organization to be set in its ways and respond too slowly to changes in the marketplace; for example, IBM ruled the computer world through the 1980s but its organizational identity as a maker of a€?business machinesa€? may have caused it to miss the personal-computer revolution. Perhaps you have experienced this feeling yourself about a sports team on which you played, a church or mosque to which you belong, a club that you joined, or even the college you now attend. Postmodernists would question the assumption that organizations have autonomous identities and instead view organizations as sites where larger historical discourses compete. But since all organizations establish formal boundaries, something is still missing: What makes a€?usa€? different from a€?thema€?? Blake Ashforth and Fred Mael similarly noted that identity has been researched at the level of the individual, group and, more recently, the organization because of the many parallels across the three levels.a€?Ashforth, B. Membersa€™ response to organizational identity threats: Encountering and countering the Business Week rankings. As their environment has changed, the chains have adapted their identitiesa€”and are adapting again, even now, in response to concerns about a€?McDonaldizationa€? and obesity. Through it all, terms such as organizational identity, corporate identity, organizational image, corporate image, organizational culture, and corporate culture have assumed different meanings to different scholars and researchers.
Organizational imageTo distinguish organizational image from organizational identity, Hatch and Schultz defined image as a perspective held by external stakeholders who view the organization as a€?othera€? to themselves and interpret the organization based not only on the organization itself but on multiple sources. In other words, as members consciously reflect on an organizationa€™s identity, their shared understandings become internalized and part of a tacit culture whose taken-for-granted assumptions are manifested through the symbols and artifacts that members construct to express a€?who we are.a€? And as those expressions of a€?who we area€? leave impressions on outsiders to create the organizationa€™s external image, the image becomes the organizationa€™s own looking-glass self by which the organization consider how it is generally perceived and accordingly adjusts and (re)negotiates its identity. At worst, your messages may have become so auto-communicative, and thus your system so closed, that you are only talking to yourself. A postmodern ontology a€?de-centersa€? the very notion of identity by seeing organizations and individuals not as autonomous units but as sites of contestation between multiple discourses. Since Albert and Whetten introduced their thesis in 1985, subsequent scholars have explored how organizations can have multiple identities and how organizational identities can change. To avoid unethical communication, leaders and managers must be aware of their potential for auto-communication. How would you compare the formation of its identity to the way a person forms his or her identity? In a moment we will look at the psychological components that Asforth and Mael ascribed to organizational identification.
Moreover, too much homogeneity in a workforce can lead to groupthink and deny organizations the diverse mix of employees and viewpoints that boosts creativity and leads to better decisions.
For individuals, the tension between organizational identity and diversity is sometimes called the work-life conflict.
And critical scholars might analyze how management cultivates an organizational identity that legitimates its own interests and, by making those interests seem the natural order of things, brings workers under its control and domination. Thus, a second way that an organization creates and maintains a boundary is by developing a sense of a€?who we area€? that distinguishes it from other organizations.
Identity management theory: Communication competition in intercultural episodes and relationships. Organizational impression management as a reciprocal influence process: The neglected role of the organizational audience. With people spending more time and eating more meals in fast food establishments, all of the major chains are cultivating identities akin to comfortable sit-down restaurants with quality menus. But first, let us review the issue from the corporate side rather than the individual side. Roger Adair contrasted the Disgruntled follower and the Disengaged follower, with the excited and motivated Doer and the self-sacrificing Disciple.Adair, R. In other words, your identification with a social group (such as an organization) is a mental picture rather than a set of actions or feelings. Among all these different chains, their corporate identities have been respectively conveyed through the symbols of a clown, a king, a redhead, a colonel, a cow, and a dog. At work you want to be a valued a€?team playera€? who helps to achieve organizational goals, and yet you also want to retain your own identity. If a discrepancy is detected between self-perception and other-perception, and if action is believed to be warranted, then organization members must ask: How should we change our identity (the way we think about ourselves) to sustain a new image? Hiring, of course, leads to organizational entry and assimilation, the next phase of socialization. From this standpoint, then, one basic organizing function of an organization is to continually organize an identity that distinguishes it from the environment of other organizations.
Writing at about the same time as Cooley, George Herbert Mead likewise described how speech is the means by which each person develops a unique sense of self.Mead, G. And how should we change our image (the way outsiders perceive us) to sustain a new corporate identity?
According to this definition, then, the fast food chains described in the opening scenario of this chapter have formed identities that bring together their central characters as retail restaurants operated through a franchise business model, their individual claims to distinction vis-A -vis the other chains, and their consistency in sticking with their respective identities.
The changes are projected to outsiders, external impressions of the organization are altered, and the adaptive processa€”shown in Figure 8.5 belowa€”reboots (and continually recurs) all over again. Table 8.4 "Distinguishing Organizational Identification" below puts these ideas into perspective by suggesting how an employee of the (hypothetical) Better Burgers franchise might express affinity with her organization.
Albert and Whetten did not suggest leaders a€?decidea€? the identities of their organizations.
Scaling the Tower of Babel: Relational differences between identity, image, and culture in organizations. As such, argued Gioia, Schultz and Corley, organizational identity is best seen as unstable and mutable rather than enduring. Rather, identity formation is an interactive process in which outsiders voice perceptions of an organization, so that the organizationa€™s definition of itself is influenced as it considers this feedback and reflects on how it fits into its environment.Ibid, pg. Albert and his colleagues argued that the dismantling of bureaucratic structures increases the need for cognitive structuresa€”that is, identitiesa€”which give organizations a rudder to steer by. He reasoned that if each human lived alone then there would be no need for a a€?self.a€? The need arises from the fact that humans live in societies.
The impact of group affinities (family, gender, ethnic, cultural) and intergroup encounters on identity is explored by Stella Ting-Toomeya€™s Identity Negotiation Theory.Ting-Toomey, S.
But Gioia, Schultz, and Corley challenged the notion that organizational identity is enduringa€”which, together with centrality and distinctiveness, is one of the three dimensions contained in Albert and Whettena€™s original definition. The latter theory envisions mass communication as a two-way process in which media usersa€™ choices influence media producers, even as media producersa€™ messages influence users who choose to consumer their programming.
To convey its identity to the world, however, the organization must first establish its own firm sense of who a€?wea€? are. Similarly, public relations theory views a€?PRa€? not as one-way and asymmetrical, but as a two-way symmetrical process by which an organization and its stakeholders mutually resolve conflicts.Hunt, J. And because a€?wea€? means everyone, then organizational identity is not just a corporate matter to be decided by management. Robert Presthus divided followers into Upwardly Mobiles who revel in an organizationa€™s system, Indifferents who go along, and Ambivalents who resist.Presthus, R. To carry off its corporate image, individual organization membersa€”from executives to employeesa€”must buy into and identify with the organization. At the time, most social psychologists believed a group identity was generated through competition with other groups; Tajfael and Turner contended that a group identity can emerge when members feel like insiders.
Mead held that each person negotiates a sense of self by imagining what others think of him or her and then negotiating a self that will be accepted by others. SIT thus provided an insight that, through Ashford and Maela€™s application, aided in further developing the concept of organizational identity.
During preentryDuring the preentry segment of organizational entry, when you have been offered a job but not yet begun, messages from your employer and the formation of initial impressions (on both sides) continue your organizational socialization.
Their proposal is grounded in the notion, described at the outset of this chapter, of organizational identity as a dialectic phenomenon in which internal sense-making about a€?who we area€? interacts dynamically with the perceptions of external stakeholders. The notion that the events of your life folded in a logical progression and can be told as a sequential narrative is really a conceit; events happen randomly so that, in fact, you must impose a a€?plota€? upon them.
Then during formal entryDuring the period of your initial formal entry into an organization, socialization continues as managers and coworkers help you a€?get on boarda€? and as you try to make sense of how you fit in. Robert Kelley proposed a typology of Alienated, Passive, Conformist, and Exemplary followersa€”the latter combining active engaged in an organization with independent thought and judgment for achieving organizational goals.Kelley, R. And yet, just as in a play, your a€?audiencea€? participates by suspending its disbelief in order to benefit from larger truths. So to play the game, save face with others and feel good about yourself, you must have coherent and satisfying life story to tell.Goffman, E. The power of followership: How to create leaders that people want to follow and followers who lead themselves. Finally, the phase of organizational disengagement and exit occurs as you leave your employment. Through the first two phases in which you are recruited and hired, and then initiated and assimilated, organizations use many methods to a€?get you on boarda€? and foster strong identification: new employee orientation programs, training programs, mentoring programs, information giving, and more. A common thread that runs through all of these typologies is the assumption that followers should identify strongly enough with an organization to perform their duties with motivation and commit their independent thought and judgment to the service and benefit of the group.
If we extend these ideas to organizations, we can grasp how development of an organizational identity is a process of communicatively (and continually) negotiating (and adjusting) an organizational a€?selfa€? by telling a coherent story that the organizationa€™s members and publics will accept.
The communication theory of identity: Development, theoretical perspective, and future directions. Interest in exploring the formation of individual and group identities through communication arose in the 1980s and has remained strong. Not surprisingly, this movement also stimulated scholarly interest in theorizing the dynamics of organizational identity.



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