Narrating Organisational Identities by Way of Evolutionary Tales: Talking Shell from an Oil to an Energy Company

Lise Backer

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The article draws on publicly available data to analyse how, since the Rio Environmental Summit in 1992, the narration of the multinational oil company Shell have projected an evolution from an oil company identity to an identity also embracing renewable energies. In analysing the narrative battles over Shell's organisational identity the article contributes to the field of organisational identity theory. It does so by providing a rich description of the micro processes through which individual management actors seek by telling different evolutionary tales to get the larger corporate actor (organisational identity) to adapt to, or to manage, external social structures. The study to this end provides new insights into how different managers through talk can seek to advance or delay external stakeholders’ influences on relational organisational identities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Management
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • Narration of organisational identities
  • Greening of oil business

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