Organizational Identity Negotiations through Dominant and Counter Narratives

Didde Humle, Sanne Frandsen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


In this paper, we see the organization as a polyphonic, storytelling community and study the role of dominant and counter narratives in organizational identity formation processes as a web of stories performed and negotiated by organizational members and external stakeholders. Based on a case study of a highly contested organization, E-rail, we examine ticket inspectors’ story work to demonstrate how counter-narratives make room for multiple – and sometimes even opposing - understandings of organizational identity to co-exist. Our analysis shows that ticket inspectors in their story work draw explicitly on the media’s as well as management’s dominating narratives in constructing counter-narratives and creating shared understandings of who they are and what they do. These multiple understandings of organizational identity make it possible for organizational members to perform and pursue different storylines, while simultaneously establishing and maintaining a sense of continuity and stability around their organization and work despite identity threats, ambiguities and contradictions inherent in their role.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventThe 13th International Studying Leadership Conference. ISLC 2014 - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 14 Dec 201416 Dec 2014
Conference number: 13


ConferenceThe 13th International Studying Leadership Conference. ISLC 2014
LocationCopenhagen Business School
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