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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In the Conclusion of the Handbook, we acknowledge the diversity of perspectives represented in its various chapters, but at the same time outline converging patterns and trace some paths for moving forward. We observe how the “definitional war” that affected the field in its early years seems to have finally settled around a core set of often-complimentary perspectives (e.g. social actor, social constructionist, institutional, discursive, etc.) that investigate different research questions. Scholars also seem to be shifting their attention to the way that organizational identity—as a “work in progress” rather than a stable state—is constantly constructed and reconstructed and is thus permanently “becoming.” This focus on time and process not only opens interesting avenues for the study of change and stability in organizational identity, but also carries important ontological and methodological implications about the study of identities. We also observe how the adoption of new perspectives (e.g. institutional, political) may improve our understanding of the nature and causes of plurality and complexity in organizational identities, and may highlight important multilevel linkages between individuals, organizations, and external forces. Finally, we note a variety of contemporary trends affecting organizations and speculate on how they may impact the very nature of identity in and of organizations.

Keywords: organizational identity, social actor perspective, social constructivist perspective, identity process, identity change, identity plurality, multilevel identities, critical management, identification

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