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Unformatted text preview: Kelsey Porter COMM 2600 March 4, 2009 Chapter 5 (Cheney) Communicating Identity: Individually and Collectively • A growing number of organizations are concerned about the behavior of their employees and the way they represent the organizations, even after hours • Organizations in most sectors are preoccupied with their standing on a number of social, environmental, and ethical issues (Ex: 9/11 General Motors focused company’s commitment to US Patriotism) • The common denominator in all these situations is identity Defining Organizational Identity • Identity is closely related to the ways living systems make sense of themselves and their environments; identity is something every living system is doing – and must do – in order to maintain itself • Organizations require a sense of “self” to maintain coherence; it’s a matter of keeping track of who and what you are • We talk about identity when we want to refer to something special or unique that characterizes a social entity and sets it apart from its surroundings; identity is what makes it possible for us to recognize an individual or an organization as distinct • What does it mean when we talk about organizations? o View identity as the consistent thread that runs through an organization over time (the organization’s “core”). o More specifically, refer to organizational identity as the central, distinct, and enduring dimensions of an organization • What makes an organization special or unique ? How stable does it need to be in order for us to perceive and accept its identity? Is it realistic to say an organization has an identity? o Organizations are not really unique in and of themselves; refers to differenced between and among organizations – a fact that reminds us just how dependent an identity is on its surroundings o Stability with respect to organizational identity begs the question of what is means to be “stable.” Change, variation, and even conflict are inevitably part of organizational identity because it is shaped by multiple resources (social, political, psychological, material) o Most provocative formulation of identity comes from the late 19 th century German philosopher Freidrich Nietzsche (conceived of messages about who we are in terms of narrative) o Management scholars Blake Ashforth and Fred Mael define organizational identity as “unfolding and stylized narratives about the ‘soul’ or essence of the organization” o The dependence on external images makes organizational identity dynamic and mutable and adaptable to environmental changes o...
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2009 for the course COMM 2600 taught by Professor Sanea during the Spring '07 term at Colorado.
- Spring '07
- Organizational Communication