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2011/2012  KAN-SOL_OS41  Managing Organizational Identity

English Title
Managing Organizational Identity

Course Information

Language English
Point 7,5 ECTS (225 SAT)
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course Period Autumn
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study Board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course Coordinator
  • Majken Schultz - Department of Organization
Majken Schultz
Main Category of the Course
  • Organization
Last updated on 29 maj 2012
Learning Objectives
Learning objectives for the joint exam in Business Strategy and Managing Organizational Identity.
At the exam the student should be:
- familiar with various theories related to business strategy
- able to relate these theories to each other.
- able to use them to understand and analyse business strategy.
- familiar with theories relevant to the management of organizational identity
- capable of discussing how and why organizational identity facilitate assimilation and differentiation among internal and external stakeholders
- capable of examining how identity provides a foundation for strategy and how it offers the opportunity for organizations to achieve competitive advantage
- able to research how the conceptual complexity of identity is translated into managerial practices in different organizations.
Managing Organizational Identity:
Assessment Oral with Written Assignment
Marking Scale 7-step scale
Censorship Internal examiners
Exam Period Autumn Term
Aids Please, see the detailed regulations below
Duration 20 Minutes
Individual oral exam based on a group project (4-5 students, max. 15 standard pages).The duration of the individual oral exam is 20 minutes (including assessment). The assessment is a total evaluation of the project and the individual oral exam.
Submission of the project to the secretariat is regarded as examination registration and must take place in October. The regular exam will take place in November. The make-up/re-exam takes place in January/ February. If a student is ill during the oral exam, he/she will be able to re-use the project at the make-up exam. If the student was ill during the writing of the project and did not contribute to the project, the make-up/re-exam project can be written individually or in groups (provided the other students are taking the make-up/re-exam). If the student did not pass the regular exam a new or revised project, confer advice from the examiner at the regular exam, must be handed in to a new deadline specified by the line secretariat.
The exam will be an oral exam based on a project – preferably related to the concrete analytical projects performed during the course.
Examination takes place in conjunction with the course in Business Strategy and is based on a project (written reports with oral examination).

Course Content

Aim of the course
In Managing Organizational Identity students engage in the cross-disciplinary study of organizational identity and its implications for management practice with a special focus on corporate branding. The course provides a foundation for understanding identity as a phenomenon with relevance for both internal and external stakeholders and invites students to explore how the conceptual complexity of organizational identity is translated into managerial practices in different organizations.

Identity is important to organizations because it affects their competitiveness and ability to attract stakeholders. We will examine how organizations understand and define who they are and discuss why their identity is a source of belonging and differentiation for both internal and external stakeholders. The course will show how identity provides a foundation for strategy and why managing identities gives organizations a competitive advantage. The course draws on different perspectives on identity within organization studies and includes examination of theories offered by other disciplines, such as marketing and communication. Organizational identity is related to other concepts, such as image, organizational culture and corporate branding and is best conceptualized as dynamic. Students will examine the implications of organizational identity theories for doing empirical research as well as for management practice, using case studies and student observations. In particular, the course will explore the importance of identity for corporate strategy and branding practices, encouraging students to debate the opportunities and limitations of organizational identity management.

Overlap with Business Strategy
This course of business strategy overlaps naturally with OI in three ways:
In aiming to understand how organizational identity is explicated and used as an internal resource for management to develop certain policies and organizational architectures that stimulate local action.
In viewing identity as an asset and liability in terms of business renewal.
In that two of the three models of the OI course overlap with two of the schools of strategic management (Design Planning School, Cultural-institutional School), while the third school has minor overlap (post-modernism – Complex Responsive Processes).

Teaching Methods
Students will engage in the cross-disciplinary study of organizational identity and its implications for management practice based on both case studies and student observations. The course comprises two intensive workshops, where they will work in-depth with select cases.
Further Information
The Course can only be followed together with the course Business Strategy


The course readings will be about 650 pages, some of which are rather extensive.

Albert, S., & Whetten, D. A. (1985). Organizational identity. In L. L. Cummings & B. M. Staw (Eds.), Research in organizational behaviour, vol. 7: 263-295. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. (printed in hand out)
Dutton, J., & Dukerich, J. (1991). Keeping an eye on the mirror: Image and identity in organizational adaptation. Academy of Management Journal, 34: 517-554.
Gioia, D. A., and Chittipeddi, K. (1991). Sensemaking and sensegiving in strategic change initiation. Strategic Management Journal, 12: 443-448.
Hatch, M. J., & Schultz, M. 2008. Taking Brand Initiative: How Companies Can Align Strategy, Culture and Identity Through Corporate Branding. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Muniz, A.M. & O’Guinn, T.C. (2001) Brand Community. Journal of Consumer Research. Vol 27: 412 - 32.
Lerpold, L. Ravasi, D., van Rekom, J. and Soenin, G. (eds) (2007) Organizational Identity in Practice. London: Routledge

Suggested readings prior to course:
Schein, Edgar (2004) Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.
Greiner, L. “Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow”. Harvard Business Review, 1972, 50, 37–46.