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date: 23 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Historically speaking, there have been a number of great debates in the organizational identity literature. Undoubtedly the most basic still is, “Is there such a thing as organizational identity?” This debate might best be characterized as an ontological debate. A second debate has to do with what can be known about the phenomenon. This epistemological debate has pitted various “camps” against each other. The three most prominent camps are the social actor, social construction, and institutional theory views on organizational identity. We suggest a conceptual pathway for reconciling these apparently competing views and furthering the research agenda for organizational identity. This chapter argues that despite the debated differences among these views, each largely depicts identity as “entitative.” Our proposed reconciliation centers on a fourth “processual” view on identity, that is, identity-as-flow.

Keywords: social actor, social construction, institutional theory, entitative identity, processual identity, identity-as-flow

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