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Transforming organizational identity under institutional change

Hongwei He (Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)
Yehuda Baruch (Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 14 October 2009




The objective of this paper is to report a case study investigating how organizational identity evolves during institutional change within a UK building society.


The paper employs an inductive case study, which is appropriate for examining such change processes. It builds on grounded theory, considered appropriate for such an explanatory research.


The paper finds that: institutional change, especially regulation and practice changes, serves as the trigger to increasing salience of identity issues, i.e. identity ambiguity, legitimacy crisis and perceived identity obsolescence; leadership, organizational culture and strategic exercises are salient apparatuses to tackle identity problems caused by external pressure; and a new identity is formed as a result of the managerial interventions, characterised by the rediscovery of historical roots, modernization and dualism.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides an account of identity change, given a broader business environment change context within which the organization operates. Utilizing qualitative study of one case may be taken as a limitation.


The theoretical contribution reflected in the findings has implications for the interfaces between identity and institutional environment and organizational culture.



He, H. and Baruch, Y. (2009), "Transforming organizational identity under institutional change", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 22 No. 6, pp. 575-599.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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