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2018/2019  KAN-CSOLO2029U  Strategy and Identity

English Title
Strategy and Identity

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Autumn, First Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Majken Schultz - Department of Organization (IOA)
Main academic disciplines
  • Management
  • Organization
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 21-06-2018

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Discuss how identity provides a foundation for strategy and how it influences opportunities for organizations to achieve competitive advantage
  • Discuss how strategic processes may influence the construction of a new organizational identity and the organizational commitment to identity
  • Relate theories on strategy and identity to each other, and apply them in order to analyze issues of relevance to strategy, identity and organizational processes
  • Explain the dynamics of different processes of change and how they relate to continuity
  • Critically reflect on implications of the theories of organizing change for strategy and identity
  • Account for how theories in both courses can be used to understand the dynamics of organizational change and continuity and implications for managing and working in organizations
  • Explain the roles of narrative, action and commitment to organizing change, strategy and organizational identity
  • Explain how analytical and philosophical foundations connect to theories and methodologies for studying organizational change.
Course prerequisites
Strategy and Identity can only be taken together with Organizing Change as the two courses have a common exam.
The course shares exams with
Course content and structure

The aim of this course is to introduce strategy and how it intersects with organizational identity. The course provides a brief overview of different perspectives in the field of strategy and then makes a move to theories that focus on strategy as a process. In a similar fashion the course provides a brief overview of recent developments in the conceptualization of organizational identity and the move towards process based views on identity and identity change. This implies that rather than seeing strategy and identity as fixed entities, a process view sees them as being in the making. Identity, for example, is the answer to the question “who are we becoming”, whereas strategy will be conceived in terms of how it emerges and becomes consolidated in the organization. A process view facilitates analysis and discussions of ‘how’ organizational identity influences the unfolding of strategies across time – and how the emergence of new strategies may lead to a new identity. The course has temporal emphasis, which enables past, present and future to be analysed, such as how organizational actors may leverage their past in the development of strategies for the future. The course also shows how actors make use of strategic narratives and how they engage external stakeholders in the co-creation of new strategies.

The multiple intersections between strategy and identity will be examined in relation to both methods for doing empirical research and implications for management practice. In particular, the course will explore situations of change and encourage students to debate the management of change and continuity in organizations opportunities and limitations of current theorizing on strategy and identity in relation to change.


Overlap with the course Organizing Change
This course of Strategy and Identity (SI) overlaps with Organizing Change (OC) in several ways.  
Both courses focus on theories and conceptual frameworks that elaborate the processes underpinning strategy, identity and organizing hereby stressing the active role of organizational actors. While SI focuses on how actors set the direction for the trajectory of the organization, OC focuses on the various mechanisms in maintaining and transforming organizations. Taken together the two courses will explain how strategies and identities are open to change and how organizing processes serve to hold them together. Finally, both courses will draw upon abductive methods as the foundation for the joint shared student projects.

Description of the teaching methods
Dialogue based lectures, discussion of how the relations between strategy and identity are practiced and managed in organizations on case studies, visiting practitioners and student observations. The course comprises a joint workshop with Organizing Change and a joint summary class.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feed-back will be given to the group presentations in the class and during office hours.

Student workload
Teaching 33 hours
Preparation/reading/group work 123 hours
Exam 50 hours
Expected literature

The course readings will be about 800 pages, some of which are rather extensive and some of which are more light readings. The readings include, among others:

Hatch, M.J, and Schultz, M. 2008. Taking Brand Initiative. How Companies Can Align Strategy, Culture, and Identity Through Corporate Branding, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass., 288 p. (Book)


Kaplan, S. & Orlikowski, W: (2014) Beyond forecasting: Creating new strategic narratives. Sloan Management Review, 56/1: 23-28.

Kaplan S. & Orlikowski, W. (2013) Temporal Work in Strategy Making. Organization Science, 24(4): 965-995.

Mintzberg, H. (1987) The strategy concept I: Five Ps for strategy. California Management Review, 30(1), 11–24.

Ravasi, D. & Philips, N. (2011) Strategies of alignment: Organizational Identity Management and Strategic Change at Bang & Olufsen. Strategic Organization, 9/2: 103-135


Schultz, M. & Hernes, T. (2013) A Temporal Perspective on Organizational Identity. Organization Science, 24/1: 1-21.

Whittington, R. (1996). Strategy as practice. Long range planning, 29(5), 731-735.

Last updated on 21-06-2018