The dynamics of organizational identity


  • Mary Jo Hatch McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia
  • Majken Schultz McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia



Organizational identity, Organizational image, Organizational culture, Organizational narcissism, Identity processes, Identity dynamics


While many organizational researchers make reference to Mead’s theory of social identity, none have explored how Mead’s ideas about the relationship between the “I” and the “me” might be extended to identity processes at the organizational level of analysis. In this paper we define organizational analogues for Mead’s “I” and “me” and explain how these two phases of organizational identity are related. In doing so we bring together existing theory concerning the links between organizational identities and images, with new theory concerning how reflection embeds identity in organizational culture and how identity expresses cultural understandings through symbols. We offer a model of organizational identity dynamics built on four processes linking organizational identity to culture and image. While the processes linking identity and image (mirroring and impressing) have been described in the literature before, the contribution of this paper lies in articulation of the processes linking identity and culture (reflecting and expressing), and of the interaction of all four processes working dynamically together to create, maintain and change organizational identity. We discuss the implications of our model in terms of two dysfunctions of organizational identity dynamics: narcissism and loss of culture.


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Como Citar

Hatch, M. J., & Schultz, M. (2005). The dynamics of organizational identity. Comunicação E Sociedade, 8, 115–139.



Comunicação estratégica nas organizações