"Who are we now?": Group identity, boundaries, and the (re)organizing process

Paulsen, Neil (2003). "Who are we now?": Group identity, boundaries, and the (re)organizing process. In Paulsen, Neil and Hernes, Tor (Ed.), Managing Boundaries in Organizations: Multiple Perspectives (pp. 14-34) Basingstoke, Hampshire, U.K .: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Paulsen, Neil
Title of chapter "Who are we now?": Group identity, boundaries, and the (re)organizing process
Title of book Managing Boundaries in Organizations: Multiple Perspectives
Place of Publication Basingstoke, Hampshire, U.K .
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Publication Year 2003
Sub-type Other
ISBN 1-4039-0329-8
Editor Paulsen, Neil
Hernes, Tor
Chapter number 1
Start page 14
End page 34
Language eng
Subjects 350208 Organisational Planning and Management
Abstract/Summary Who am I? and Who are we? are questions that have occupied the minds of philosophers (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Descartes), sociologists, and psychologists (e.g. James, Mead, Goffman, and Erikson) for many centuries. Identity is central to a conception of what it means to be human. An individual's identity is based in part on the groups to which he or she belongs, and identification with these groups forms part of an individual's self-concept. Within organizational contexts, employees are members of a number of groups, all of which are potential targets of identification: the organization itself, divisions, departments, or work units, as well as management teams, project teams, professional groups, or other informal groups. In other words, organizations are structured both formally and informally such that individuals within them relate to one another in essentially an intergroup context. Organizational life is replete with change processes. As new structures and working arrangements are created, employees are often required to form new groups and teams, as well as different lines of authority. Such changes rearrange the existing order and the connections between units, and modify the ways in which each unit is differentiated from others. These processes define new boundaries, which alter how individuals and groups relate to each other in the organization. Individuals forge new identities with and within the organization as new groups form. During organizational change, employees and managers alike must constantly redefine and renegotiate group boundaries. Drawing from Social Identity Theory, this chapter presents the argument that managers of organizations undergoing change need to remain cognizant of the fact that change not only involves the restructuring or reorganization of work, but also involves the need for employees to renegotiate new ways of relating to, and feeling a part of, the organization. The chapter reports on studies that have investigated the impact of these dynamics on employee perceptions and outcomes.
Keyword Group identity
Organizational identity
Organisational identity
Social identity theory
Organizational change
Organisational change
Q-Index Code BX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

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Created: Thu, 25 May 2006, 10:00:00 EST by Neil Paulsen on behalf of The University of Queensland Library