Lessons in Fluidity: Anonymous and the Communicative Formation of Organizational Identity

Leonhard Dobusch, Dennis Schoeneborn

    Research output: Working paperResearch


    Most research on organizational identity tends to take an essentialist perspective, differentiating between an identity construed internally by members of the organization and an image construed by external actors. However, the duality of identity and image struggles with capturing more fluid, open, or partial organizational arrangements, where it is difficult to uphold this distinction. Looking at the case of the hacker collective Anonymous as an extreme example of organization, this paper proposes to adopt a communication-centered perspective in order to better understand the formation of organizational identity. Drawing on the emerging “communicative constitution of organizations” (CCO) framework, we transcend both an essentialist and a member-centered view by arguing that organizational identity is achieved through communicative events that demarcate the boundaries between actions attributed either to the organization or to the organizational environment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationZürich
    PublisherDepartment of Business Administration, University of Zürich
    Number of pages43
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    SeriesUZH Business Working Paper


    • Anonymous
    • Communication as Constitutive of Organizations (CCO)
    • Organizational Communication
    • Organizational Identity
    • Organization Theory
    • Partial Organizations

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