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Organizational Identity

The majority of scientific papers on the topic of organizational identity deal with its development. However, the question of the specific building blocks of an organizational identity has only rarely been the subject of research. In our research project, we want to deal with this research area. Our project is both qualitatively and quantitatively empirically oriented and is based on the data of all companies from two clusters, the watch industry clusters in the Black Forest and Glashütte, which comprise a total of 30 companies. Our research project is characterized by a high degree of novelty, as it will expand the previous research on organizational identity in two areas:

(1) We use a multi-level approach to analyze elements of the organizational identity, which includes the perspective of the employees, the organization and the level of the organizational field. In this way, our project enables a unique understanding of elements that define organizational identity. Following the previous findings on the research of „scripted identities“, we investigate how the elements of organizational identity vary and are used differently, based on the levels of organizational members, the organization as an independent actor, and the organizational field. Additionally, we analyze how the organization deals with differences in identity elements between the three levels.

(2) We explicitly consider the role of the history of companies, clusters and the region, a field of research that has so far been insufficiently addressed in the context of organizational identity. Furthermore, by comparing companies and clusters in West and East Germany, we are able to examine the role of radical institutional change in organizational identity.

The expected results of our project will contribute to the formation of theory in organizational identity research and are relevant to practice, since the role of identity formation in the context of organizational existence and the establishment of clusters in regional economic systems plays an important role.

Supported by the DFG, 01st November 2018 to 31st October 2021

 

Contributions to conferences:

European Academy of Management 2020: "Is corruption imprinted? A study on preconditions of corruption in Central and Eastern European countries" by Thorsten Auer, Karin Knorr and Kirsten Thommes.

Academy of Management 2020: "Is corruption imprinted? A study on preconditions of corruption in Central and Eastern European countries" by Thorsten Auer, Karin Knorr and Kirsten Thommes.

European Group for Organizational Studies 2020: "The crafting of organizational identity: Similarities and differences between the organization and its members as rhetoricians of the past"  by Karin Knorr, Franziska Hein-Pensel, Simon Oertel and Kirsten Thommes.

European Group for Organizational Studies 2020: "Communication of emotions in craft-based firms – Identity construction between innovation and tradition" by Karin Knorr and Kirsten Thommes.

Crafting World-Leading Outputs from Qualitative Research Workshop 2020: “The crafting of organizational identity: Similarities and differences between the organization and its members as rhetoricians of the past” by Franziska Hein-Pensel, Karin Knorr, Simon Oertel and Kirsten Thommes.

Crafting World-Leading Outputs from Qualitative Research Workshop 2020: "How do concepts spread? The dissemination of Albert and Whetten’s approach to characterize organizational identity” by Franziska Hein-Pensel and Karin Knorr.

Tagung „Aus der Zeit gefallen? Die deutsche Uhrenindustrie im Bann der Krise“ 2020: "Wettbewerbsvorteil durch rhetorische Vergangenheitsinterpretation – die Rolle von Akteuren der organisationalen Umwelt" by Franziska Hein-Pensel, Karin Knorr, Simon Oertel and Kirsten Thommes.

European Group for Organizational Studies 2019: “Organizational identity crafting in new ventures: The role of rhetorical history” by Franziska Hein and Simon Oertel.

Publications


Open list in Research Information System

2018

Oertel, S., & Thommes, K. (2018). History as a source of organizational identity creation. Organization Studies, 39(12), 1709–1731. https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840618800112

We analysed the self-representation of twelve watchmaking firms located in a cluster in East Germany to understand how they apply rhetorical history to craft their identity. The findings show that there are common elements of rhetorical history that help organizations craft their identity, but there are also differences based on each firm’s historical background. While some firms specifically relate their identity to their own history, others mainly employ cluster-level history, while still others may even self-construct fictional historical roots. By discussing these findings, we contribute to a better understanding of how an organization’s identity is crafted and how history is utilized in such identity creation.


    Open list in Research Information System

     

     

    News about the DFG project

    October 2019: Presenting results of the DFG-Project

    Prof. Dr. Kirsten Thommes gave a presentation on the topic of "Coopetition", which is part of the research in the DFG project, at the 12th Personnel Forum "New Ways in Recruiting - Transformation, Cooperation, Networking" of owl maschinenbau e.V.. The focus of the personnel forum was on professional input and exchange on current recruiting issues. Prof. Dr. Thommes gave a lecture on the possibilities of cooperation in competitive labor markets and discussed industry-specific solutions with representatives from small and medium-sized companies as well as large corporations.

    A follow-up report of the HR Forum with some impressions can be found on the following website: https://www.owl-maschinenbau.de/nachberichte/rueckblick-personalforum-2019/

     

    September 2019: Project meeting in Glashütte

    In September 2019 the project team met in Glashütte. The team around Dr. Simon Oertel and Franziska Hein from the TU Ilmenau and Prof. Dr. Kirsten Thommes and Karin Knorr from the University of Paderborn conducted interviews with first companies. Furthermore, the watch museum was visited and the team had the opportunity to talk to the director of the museum. 

    July 2019: Visit of a workshop in Regensburg

    On 11th and 12th July 2019, the PhD students Karin Knorr and Thorsten Auer (University of Paderborn) attended a development workshop in Regensburg. The topic of the workshop was "Business Ethics in the Post-Communist Societies of Central and Eastern Europe".

     

    June 2019: Interviews in Pforzheim

    This month the PhD students Franziska Hein from the TU Ilmenau and Karin Knorr from the University of Paderborn met within the framework of the DFG project in Pforzheim to conduct interviews with company managers, employees and former employees of the watch industry.

     

    May 2019: Paper accepted for EGOS

    A paper developed within the framework of the DFG research project will be presented at the conference of the European Group for Organization Studies in Edinburgh, Scotland, by project members of the TU Ilmenau.

     

    May 2019: Reports on the DFG project

    In recent weeks, various newspapers and journals have reported on the chair’s DFG project. The articles can be called here and here.

     

    April 2019: Project meeting in Pforzheim

    In the period from 15th April 2019 to 18th April 2019 the project team met in Pforzheim. The team around Dr. Simon Oertel und Franziska Hein from the TU Ilmenau and Prof. Dr. Kirsten Thommes and Karin Knorr from the University of Paderborn used the time to collect data for the project. Therefore, interviews with stakeholders and a watch company were conducted. These will be evaluated in the course of the project and compared with information from the cluster in East Germany. Other items on the agenda included a visit to the Technical Museum and the city archive.

     

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