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Challenges for a Multiple Identity Organization: A Case Study of the Dutch Blood Supply Foundation

Robert Heckert ()

Corporate Reputation Review, 2019, vol. 22, issue 3, 101-119

Abstract: Abstract An organization that gives several answers to the “who are you?” question is a multiple identity organization. When those identities are based on antithetic value systems, identification by organizational members may be complicated. In this case study the Dutch Blood Supply Foundation Sanquin serves as an example of a multiple identity organization. A mixed method approach is used to determine the multiplicity of organizational identity and thereby tries to enrich theory about identity and identification. Since identity is conceptualized as what organizational members find central, distinctive and enduring, the answer to the identity question is obtained by semi-structured interviews with employees and by a questionnaire. The Sanquin identities turn out to be the ones that are usually recognized in multi-identities: an ideological and a utilitarian identity. The multi-identity character of the organization hampers the identification of organizational members, but they still identify with the organization’s mission. The interview results provoke discussion about the enduring identity proposition. The utilitarian identity partly has displaced the ideological identity in a rather short period of time. Identity in a multiple identity is dynamic rather than enduring or continuous. Possible generalizations are discussed.

Keywords: Multiple identity; Identification; Organizational change; Identity change; Value system (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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