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Organizational Identity

Organizational identity is defined as members’ shared understanding of their organization’s subjective self-view—that is, the commonly understood answer to the question “Who are we?”—as a collective entity. Organizational identity is essentially analogous to individual identity and so could be seen as the “personality” or “character” of the organization. It is expressed as social claims about an organization—“This is who we are”—which are backed by social facts, or generally recognized notions of what the organization is and is about, and embodied in social understandings, that is, members’ efforts to make sense of their experiences with the organization. The concept traces its roots to a foundational essay by Stuart Albert and David Whetten, who proposed that an organization’s identity is that which is central, distinctive, and enduring. ...

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