Using history in the creation of organizational identity

Zundel, M., Holt, R. ORCID: 0000-0003-0610-4049 and Popp, A., 2016. Using history in the creation of organizational identity. Management & Organizational History, 11 (2), pp. 211-235. ISSN 1744-9359

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Organizations frequently draw on history as a resource, for instance when attempting to establish or maintain identity claims. However, little has been done to review the advantages and problems of such use of history and it is not clear how using history impacts on the appreciation of history itself and, ultimately, on the insights that may be gained when engaging with the past. To begin to address these questions we distinguish two related uses of history as a resource for organizational identity: as a means of committing external audiences and, as a way of finding inward commitment. We theorize these two uses by drawing on speech act theory to develop a taxonomy of uses of history and to elaborate the opportunities and challenges that come when historical narratives are fashioned in the service of identity. We conclude with a further insight gained from speech act theory that suggests an engagement with history that requires sensitivity to prevailing conventions at the moment of these historical acts. We argue that appreciation of asynchronous historical conditions and contexts affords new insights through the difference these pose to current and instrumental concerns that otherwise guide the fashioning and interpretation of historical 'facts.'

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Management & Organizational History
Creators: Zundel, M., Holt, R. and Popp, A.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date: 15 January 2016
Volume: 11
Number: 2
ISSN: 1744-9359
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 05 Sep 2017 09:33
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2017 13:49

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