(Un)Mind the Gap: How Organizational Actors Cope with an Identity–strategy Misalignment

Matthias Wenzel, Joep Cornelissen, Jochen Koch, Michael Hartmann, Madeleine Rauch

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In this article, we explore how organizational actors cope with a perceived misalignment between their organization’s identity and strategy. Based on an inductive, interpretive case study at a public broadcasting organization, we identify three cognitive tactics through which organizational members cope with an identity–strategy misalignment: contextualization, abstraction, and fatalism. Furthermore, we show that the enactment of these cognitive coping tactics coincides with specific strategy-related tasks that prioritize different aspects of an organization’s identity and, therefore, invokes different conceptions of the identity–strategy misalignment. Based on these findings, we develop a framework that conceptualizes how organizational members cope with an identity–strategy misalignment. We end the article by discussing the implications of our study for further research on the linkages between organizational identity and strategy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStrategic Organization
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)212-244
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 24. June 2019


  • Cognitive tactics
  • Coping
  • Misalignment
  • Organizational identity
  • Strategy

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