Presentation on theme: "1 Lecture 3 Identity: the Quintessence of an Organization."— Presentation transcript:
1 Lecture 3 Identity: the Quintessence of an Organization
2 Objectives Identity: why it’s a problematic but powerful concept Introducing nine streams of inquiry relating to identity Why identity is necessary and not contingent Identity through the lense of graphic design, organizational behavior and multidisciplinary perspectives “Model of the moment”: Model of the corporate identity-corporate communications management process (Balmer and Gray, 1999) page. 132
3 Identity: powerful but problematic: i Identity studies (in relation to organizations) attempt to address to profoundly important, but problematic, questions. “WHO ARE WE ?” (a particular concern of organizational behaviorists who focus on organizational identification) and… “WHAT ARE WE ?” (a particular concern of marketers and communicators)
4 Identity: powerful but problematic: ii Identity is powerful because the questions themselves are of such magnitude moreover….. The identity concept is applicable to industries, entire corporations, subsidiaries,countries, cities, professions etc in addition…… The discussion of corporate brands, corporate communications, corporate reputation etc because difficult unless reference is made to the identity concept in other words it is important to ascertain.. Who we are and what we are.
5 Identity: powerful but problematic: iii The identity concept is problematic because of its rich disciplinary and philosophical underpinnings. However, many perceive identity through a single disciplinary lens (graphic design, organizational behaviour, corporate communications etc)
6 As such identity means different things to different people. Some consider identity simply in terms of company logos, others in terms of staff affinity with the organization whilst, others in terms of creating favourable images via controlled corporate communications whilst others see it as broad umbrella construct subsuming all the above and is more akin to a new philosophical approach in revealing an organization. (see Balmer’s schools of thought page 35) Identity: powerful but problematic: iv
7 Identity: An aperture of nine The identity concept (in relation to organizations) has been examined in terms of: Disciplinary and national roots Schools of thought Philosophical Underpinnings Components Characteristics Management Analysis Structure and Hierarchy and its Relationship with other corporate-level concepts
8 Identity: An aperture of nine Example: (b) Schools of Thought p.35 In the mid 1990s seven schools of thought relating to identity were identified. These reflected the strategic, behavioral, communications and graphic design perspectives relating to identity. (the graphic design perspective comprised four distinct schools of thought which is indicative of the importance accorded to graphic design at the time)
9 Identity: An aperture of nine Example: (b) Schools of Thought p.35 It was concluded that the different emphasis: Mirrored the different disciplinary roots Was indicative of the different types of identity issues that confront organizations at different times which range from addressing fundamental identity questions such as “Who are we?” and “What are we?” and, at the other extreme, “Is our logo fashionable?” Moreover, it was concluded that identity studies was analogous to a mosaic: that the individual approaches were part of a much larger whole.
10 Identity: An aperture of nine Example: (d) Components p.38 In Europe there has been interest in identifying the key components that constitute an identity “the identity mix” Birkigt and Stadler’s identity mix comprises: Behavior, Communication and Symbolism Whilst influential, this mix has been criticised for being too narrow in scope. It has also been argued that a clear distinction needs to be made between the mix of elements constituting an identity and the additional mix of elements that require orchestration in terms of its management. The latter has given rise to the “identity management mix.”
11 Identity: necessary not contingent Necessary because it is concerned with an organization’s raison d’etre. Necessary because it relates to a organism that is constantly shifting and is embryonic. Identity issues often come to the fore in extremis: when organizations confront a strategic fork in the road (merger, acquisition etc)
12 Identity through a graphic design lenses: i The most pervasive of all identity perspectives. Enduring legacy: consider 19 th century railroad companies. Pioneering work of Bahrens (AEG) Olivetti (Olivetti) and Parkin and Johnston (London Underground) led to a realization that: Corporate communications should be consistent and should be managed and that
13 Visual identification is the most easily controlled and most pervasive forms of communication, moreover the aim of many changes of visual identity is to Distil the essence of the organization in a single logotype. Originally referred to “House Style” use is frequently made to corporate identity which has caused immense confusion with the multidisciplinary approaches to the area. Walter Margulies (US) is credited with coining the phrase “corporate identity” and this eclipsed the use of “house style” in Europe. Identity through a graphic design lenses: ii
14 Identity through an organizational behavior perspective In truth there are numerous perspectives, however, a dominant concern is in addressing the question, “Who are we ?”. The emphasis is firmly on organizational members and the degree to which they do/or do not identify with the corporation (identification). Reference is rarely made to corporate identity but, rather, to organizational identity. The originators of this distinct approach to identity studies are Albert and Whetten. This perspective has enjoyed wide hegemony in scholarly circles.
15 Identity through a multidisciplinary perspective This perspective has been apparent in the marketing literature from the “British” Commonwealth for some time. It is also to be found in the work of organizational behaviorists. Main proponents of this approach among academics have been Balmer, Hatch and Schultz whilst Wally Olins, coming from the world of practise has also advocated this approach. For the main BOTH identity questions are addressed, namely, “Who are we?” and “What are we?” The preferred concept is that of Corporate Identity (see Olins’s lecture of 1977 to London’s Royal Society of Arts, Manufacturers and Trades.
16 1. The Strategic School: Articulation of corporate mission and philosophy 2. The Strategic-Visual School: Effecting strategic change through visual means STRATEGIC FOCUS FOCUS: THE ORGANIZATION’S INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS CULTURAL FOCUS 3. The Behavioral School: Nurturing a distinct organizational cultural mix 7. The Design-as- Fashion School: Keeping visual elements fashionable 4. The Visual-Behavioral School: Communicating visually the organization’s distinct culture COMMUNICATIONS FOCUS FASHIONABILITY FOCUS 5. The Corporate-Communications School: Communicating the organization’s mission and philosophy through formal corporate communications policies 6. The Visual-Communications School: Communicating the organization’s mission and philosophy visually Integrative Diagram of the Hierarchy of Schools of Thought in Strategic Corporate-Identity Management Adapted from Balmer (1995)  (Based on an analysis of the literature) Feedback Identity: Schools of Thought
17 ……….model of the moment See: Balmer and Gray’s model of the corporate identity/corporate communciations management process p. 132 Consider the components, inflences and effects of an organization’s identity. Why or why not would you alter the model. Explain what you would alter.
18 A new model of the corporate identity - corporate communications process CORPORATE IDENTITY Secondary Communication STAKEHOLDERS Tertiary Communication STAKEHOLDERS through Feedback CORPORATE IMAGE AND CORPORATE REPUTATION Creates Primary Communication COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE Can lead to Exogenous Factors Feedback POLITICAL,ECONOMIC,ETHICAL,SOCIAL & TECHNICAL,ENVIRONMENTAL FORCES Corporate Identity (i) Values & Purposes (ii) Corporate Strategy (iii) Organisational Culture (iv) Organisational Structure Environmental Forces The five environmental categories have an impact on all parts of the process articulated above Primary Communication (i) Products & Services (ii) Market behavior (iii) behavior towards Employees (iv) Employee behavior to Other Stakeholders (v) Non-Market behavior Secondary Communication (i) Formal, Corporate & Communications (Advertising, PR, Graphic Design, Sales Promotions, etc). (ii) Visual Identification Systems Tertiary Communications (i) Word-of-mouth (ii) Media Interpretation and spin (iii) Competitors - Communication and ‘spin’ Stakeholders (i) Individuals (increasingly are seen to belong to multiple stakeholder groups both within and outwith the organisation. Traditionally, stakeholders are categories as belonging to one stakeholder group) (ii) Customers (iii) Distributors and retailers (iv) Suppliers (v) Joint-venture partners (vi) Financial Institutions and analysis (vii) Shareholders (viii) Government & Regulatory Agencies (ix) Social Action Organisations (x) General Public (xi) Employees Corporate Image (i) The immediate mental picture that individuals or individual stakeholder groups have of an organisation Corporate Reputation (i) Evolves over time as a result of consistent performance reinforced by the three types of communication shown above Competitive Advantage (i) The reputation of the company in the eyes of individuals and stakeholder groups will influence their willingness to either provide or withhold support for the company Exogenous Factors Perceptions of the organisation and therefore the strength of competitive advantage can be influenced by a number of factors including: (i) Country of Origin, Image and Reputation (ii) Industry Image and Reputation (iii) Image & Regulations of Alliances and Partnerships etc. Balmer & Gray (1999) ……….model of the moment
19 Summary Identity is important albeit problematic in nature. However, it can be classified as being” “necessary” rather than “contingent” The identity concept has been explored from numerous perspective There are a variety of approaches to identity studies with the graphic design, organizational behaviour and multidisciplinary approaches being of particular significance. Balmer and Gray’s model (1999) attempts to illustrate the components, influences, and importance of corporate identity to contemporary organizations.
20 Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the concept of identity, which is so germane to conceiving what it means to be human, also is central to the conceptualization of one of the most complex and fascinating of human creations, the work organization. Dennis A. Gioia