European Identity: An Analysis of Brexit’s Implications for the Organisational Identity of the European Union

Jake Andrew Ulf Christoffersen Gill

Student thesis: Master thesis


Purpose: This thesis serves to gain an understanding of what implications the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union means in terms of the organisational identity of the European Union. More specifically, the purpose of this thesis is to understand the changes in core values, the method of communication of organisational identity to external stakeholders, and the role of artefact and product on the organisational identity of the European Union.
Methodology: This thesis uses an external approach to the European Union. It draws upon secondary qualitative sources such as newspaper articles, official press releases, and website material to gain an understanding of what has happened to the European Union as a result of Brexit. The thesis also applies three separate theories on the gathered material both before and after Brexit to help isolate Brexit as the main difference. The three-theory approach was designed to help gain broader insight into what could have changed in other aspects of the European Union.
Findings: Following the application of the concept of core values, the core values of the European Union remain unaffected by the United Kingdom’s departure. The theoretical approach of communication of the organisational identity placed the European Union in the high clarity and high intent quadrant of figure 1. Though there had been some extraordinary communication on Brexit day, January 31, 2020, the post Brexit communication method remained unchanged. Lastly, through the investigation of the role of artefacts and product in organisational identity, the single market, free movement of people, and the euro were chosen to try and understand their symbolic and categorising values for the European Union. These results also remained similar between the before and after Brexit scenarios.
Conclusion: Due to the results of the analysis of this thesis and the discussion of contributing factors, alongside potential scenarios and external circumstances, and contrary to the initial beliefs of the author, the conclusion of the thesis is that the European Union’s organisational identity was, at this stage in time, unaffected by the depart of the United Kingdom and this may due to the uncertainty surrounding the future relationship between the two entities.
Relevance: This thesis holds relevance for organisational studies. More specifically this thesis would allow investigation of companies that are breaking up into two or more organisations. Furthermore, the scope and framework could be altered to be relevant for studies of mergers and acquisitions.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages73