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2014/2015  KAN-CCMVV3015U  Cultivating Powerful Identities

English Title
Cultivating Powerful Identities

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Roar Veiter Bovim - Department of Organization (IOA)
Roar Vejter Bovim (rvb.ioa@cbs.dk)
Administration: Mette Busk Ellekrog (mbe.ioa@cbs.dk)
Main academic disciplines
  • Business psychology
  • Management
  • Management of Information and Knowledge Management
  • Organization
Last updated on 10-04-2014
Learning objectives
At the end of the course, students should be able to:
  • Explain how identities drive organizational and financial performance.
  • Discuss and apply different strategies of measuring and analyzing identity.
  • Show how identities in practice can be cultivated and optimized for performance.
  • Discuss the connection and distinction between identity & identification, as well as other related concepts.
  • Understand and apply the central theories, concepts and perspectives covered in the course to practice-oriented situations.
Course prerequisites
Bachelor degree. Basic knowledge of organizational culture, organizational identity, and HRM is an advantage, but not a precondition for participation.
Cultivating Powerful Identities:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration 2 weeks to prepare
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period December/January
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure
Identities are often recognized as important. They function as sources of belonging and have been shown to enhance productivity, job satisfaction, cooperation, intentions to stay and knowledge sharing among others. Moreover, they provide a foundation for image, branding, reputation and strategy. For the top management, as well as the line manager and the HR consultant, therefore, in order to create well-functioning organizations and boost performance, it is crucial to establish a sense of ”Who are we?”, “What are we here for?” and “Where are we going?”.

In this course, the students will learn how leaders, managers and HR consultants, can cultivate and facilitate identities in organizations based on an in-depth understanding of identity formation dynamics. Readings and lectures emphasize that the formation of identities is a complex issue, involving internal and external stakeholders, efforts of management, as well as the everyday practices of organizational members. Applying a broad approach, we move beyond organizational identities, exploring the often strong identity that can emerge in the unit, project, team, and work group.

Participants will examine this topic using a cross-disciplinary approach and become familiar with theories inspired by sociology as well as social-psychology. Drawing on a broad framework, we translate theory into specific managerial practices, e.g. HR-strategy, selection and training practices, ways of organizing work, and leadership practices.

The course will cover topics related to identity such as:
  • Ways of evaluating identity and identification in the organization
  • Facilitating identity in R&D and knowledge-based organizations
  • Fostering identity in craft, engineering and service organizations
  • The role of organizational structure and design in optimizing identity
  • Managing cross-cutting and dual identities, e.g. in the matrix organization
  • Managing informal and network identities
  • Applying identity to current issues, e.g., acquisitions, mergers, re-structures
  • Designing and managing identity change
  • Organizational Identity Theory
  • The Social Identity Theory (SIT) and the Self-Categorization Theory (SCT)

This course's development of personal competences
This course stimulates the development of analytical skills as well as the ability to navigate through different, and sometimes incompatible, fields of research. At the same time, the participants will develop capabilities in the application and translation of theory into practice.
Teaching methods
The teaching will be interactive, include applications, discussions, and student presentations. Each week, we will study one or more cases from actual organizations, learning how concepts and models are related to practice. Participants will throughout the course be equipped with the competences and skills necessary for future managerial or HRM roles. To a great extent, we will work in groups, and the assigned group activities will require your full participation.
Further Information
Changes in course schedule may occur
Thursday 12.35-15.10, week 36-41, 43-47
Expected literature
Indicative literature in the course:
  • Albert, S. & Whetten, D. A. 1985. Organizational identity. In L. L. Cummings & B. M. Staw (eds.): Research in organizational behaviour, 7: 263-295. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
  • Ashforth, B. E., Harrison, S. H. & Corley, K. G. 2008. Identification in Organizations: An Examination of Four Fundamental Questions. Journal of Management, 34(3): 325-374.
  • Bartels, J., Pruyn, A., de Jong, M. & Joustra, I. 2007. Multiple organizational  identification levels and the impact of perceived external prestige and communication climate. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 28: 173-190.
  • Brunninge, O. 2007. Chapter 1: Scania’s bonneted trucks. In L. Lerpold, D. Ravasi, J. van Rekom & G. Soenen (eds.): Organizational Identity in Practice, pp. 19-34. London: Routledge.
  • Corley, K. G., Harquail, C. V., Pratt, M. G., Glynn, M. A., Fiol, C. M. & Hatch, M. J. 2006. Guiding Organizational Identity Through Aged Adolescence. Journal of Management Inquiry, 15(2): 85-99.
  • Gioia, D. A., Patvardhan, S. D., Hamilton, A. L. & Corley, K. G. 2013. Organizational Identity Formation and Change. Academy of Management Annals, 7(1): 123-193.
  • Gioia, D. A. & Thomas, J. B. 1996. Identity, Image, and Issue Interpretation: Sensemaking during Strategic Change in Academia. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41(3): 370-403.
  • Haslam, S. A. 2004. Chapter 2: The Social Identity Approach. In Psychology in Organizations, 2th edition, pp. 17-39. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
  • Millward, L. J. & Postmes, T. 2010. Who We Are Affects How We Do: The Financial Benefits of Organizational Identification. British Journal of Management, 21: 327-339.
  • Pratt, M. G. & Rafaeli, A. 1997. Organizational dress as a symbol of multilayered social identities. Academy of Management Journal, 40: 862-898.
  • Ravasi, D. & Schultz, M. 2006. Responding to Organizational Identity Threats: Exploring the Role of Organizational Culture. Academy of Management Journal, 46(3): 433-458.
Last updated on 10-04-2014