Original Research

Exploring the identity and "sense of identity" of organisations

C L Van Tonder
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 32, No 3 | a433 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v32i3.433 | © 2006 C L Van Tonder | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 April 2006 | Published: 23 April 2006

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C L Van Tonder, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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During the past two decades a steady increase in scholarly contributions in the area of organisation identity have been observed – to the point that the phenomenon is now the subject of a sustainable discourse in several disciplines. Many theoretical and conceptual dilemmas however remain, largely as a result of the low incidence of empirical research in the area. This study reports the results of an exploratory investigation that adapted Schley and Wagenfield’s (1979) concept of identity for use in an organisational setting. Interviews were conducted with 152 top managers representing 10 companies. The results indicate that organisational responses to the question “who am I?�? elicit distinctive organisational self-descriptions and some awareness of identity issues.


Organisation; Organisation identity; Sense of identity


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