Legacy Organizational Identity

Legacy organizational identity represents a shared claim by former organizational members that defines “who we were as an organization.” It perpetuates the lasting meaning of defunct organizations by projecting the central and distinctive characteristics that composed their identities from the past to the present. Commonalities and distinctions are visible between identities of intact organizations and legacy identities of defunct organizations. First, both draw on core identity elements that represent an organization’s central character. Through legacy identities, these elements persist beyond an episode of organizational demise. Second, organizational leaders serve an important role in interpreting and shaping them. Finally, both provide scripts for social interaction and guiding behavior by projecting a “way of life.” Much like organizational identities of active organizations, legacy organizational identities serve as ...

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