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Seminar: Stefan Arora-Jonsson & Marika Blomgren (Uppsala University) "The Three Loci of Organizational Identity Work: Prospective, Current and Former Members"

Stefan Arora-Jonsson & Marika Blomgren (Uppsala University) "The Three Loci of Organizational Identity Work: Prospective, Current and Former Members"

Abstract

Organizations work continuously to form, maintain and change their identities - identity work has this far been assumed to be carried out only with respect to the members of an organization. In this longitudinal study of identity formation, maintenance, and change we show that the identity work of some organizations has multiple loci. The Swedish secondary school that sought to form and maintain an identity of an ”excellent school" directed its identity work not only at its current staff and students, but also towards its prospective as well as former students. Multiple loci of identity work, we argue, is typical for an organization where the characteristics of the members are important to its identity. Ignoring the identity work directed at prospective members ignores its fundamental importance in setting the scope for any identity work that can be carried out with the members of an organization. Reconceptualizing identity work to also include efforts directed outside the organization, furthermore address the critique that the organizational identity literature is too narrow in its focus on the formal boundaries of organizations and it opens up for an understanding of the sometimes competitive interactions across the identity work of several organizations.

CELE Education Management Seminar

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