Identity dynamics and the emergence of new organizational arrangements: A multi-level study

Dosi, Clio (2014) Identity dynamics and the emergence of new organizational arrangements: A multi-level study, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in General management, 26 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6538.
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Organizational and institutional scholars have advocated the need to examine how processes originating at an individual level can change organizations or even create new organizational arrangements able to affect institutional dynamics (Chreim et al., 2007; Powell & Colyvas, 2008; Smets et al., 2012). Conversely, research on identity work has mainly investigated the different ways individuals can modify the boundaries of their work in actual occupations, thus paying particular attention to ‘internal’ self-crafting (e.g. Wrzesniewski & Dutton, 2001). Drawing from literatures on possible and alternative self and on positive organizational scholarship (e.g., Obodaru, 2012; Roberts & Dutton, 2009), my argument is that individuals’ identity work can go well beyond the boundaries of internal self-crafting to the creation of new organizational arrangements. In this contribution I analyze, through multiple case studies, healthcare professionals who spontaneously participated in the creation of new organizational arrangements, namely health structures called Community Hospitals. The contribution develops this form of identity work by building a grounded model. My findings disclose the process that leads from the search for the enactment of different self-concepts to positive identities, through the creation of a new organizational arrangement. I contend that this is a particularly complex form of collective identity work because it requires, to be successful, concerted actions of several internal, external and institutional actors, and it also requires balanced tensions that – at the same time - enable individuals’ aspirations and organizational equilibrium. I name this process organizational collective crafting. Moreover I inquire the role of context in supporting the triggering power of those unrealized selves. I contribute to the comprehension of the consequences of self-comparisons, organizational identity variance, and positive identity. The study bears important insights on how identity work originating from individuals can influence organizational outcomes and larger social systems.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Dosi, Clio
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze economiche e statistiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
new organizations; identity work; collective crafting; positive identity; institutional change; organizational identity variance
Data di discussione
6 Giugno 2014

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