This investigation of the fundamental character of organizational identity and identification with an organization is arranged in the form of a provocative discussion between key scholars. The book focuses on three different paradigmatic views of identity: functionalist, interpretive and postmodern. Similarities and distinctions among these ways of understanding are explored, and numerous theoretical and practical insights are gained. The book concludes with a discussion of the relevance of identity as a construct in organizational study, and observations on conversation and theory building.
Chapter 1: The Definition and Metadefinition of Identity
The Definition and Metadefinition of Identity
To introduce is to mediate an encounter between strangers, to diminish threat, render intelligible, suggest common purpose, and promise rewards. All new work bears what Harold Bloom has called the anxiety of influence: It must distance itself from the past so as not to be engulfed or demoralized by the insights of work that has gone before it. There is also a deep fear of revisiting or repeating a topic, particularly if, in the eyes of some, it has been exhausted. (Is identity culture? Is identification commitment?) On one hand, a topic must be new, or else it is not news—but it cannot be so new as to be unintelligible or irrelevant, and certainly, ...