Social Identity, Organizational Identity and Corporate Identity: Towards an Integrated Understanding of Processes, Patternings and Products



This paper provides an overview of previous work that has explored issues of social, organizational and corporate identity. Differences in the form and focus of research into these three topics are noted. Social identity work generally examines issues of cognitive process and structure; organizational identity research tends to address the patterning of shared meanings; studies of corporate identity tend to focus on products that communicate a specific image. Nonetheless, across these areas there is general consensus that collective identities are (a) made viable by their positivity and distinctiveness, (b) fluid, (c) a basis for shared perceptions and action, (d) strategically created and managed, (e) qualitatively different from individual identities and (f) the basis for material outcomes and products. This paper calls for greater cross-fertilization of the three identity literatures and discusses requirements for the integration of micro- and macro-level analyses.