Collective identity construction in international collaborations

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Abstract

This paper explores the dynamic processes of collective identity formation among the participating organizational members in inter-organizational collaborations that cross national boundaries. A longitudinal, qualitative multi-case study research approach was adopted in the empirical investigation of collective identity in three international business collaborations that involve a Sino-British strategic partnership, a Sino-Australian and a Sino-Polish joint venture. Based on the analyses of the data collected from in-depth interviews, participant observation and archival materials, a theoretical framework of collective identity (re)formation is developed. It suggests that two inseparable elements (states and processes) constitute a cyclic and enduring process of collective identity formation through partners’ orchestrating discursive resources involving a common sense of ‘we-ness’. The shifts between various states are driven by partners’ processes of negotiation, integration, solidification and reformation of collective identity. A deconstruction process may also emerge, giving rise to the termination of the collaborative relationship. The research presented in this article advances the understanding of collective identity formation in the field of organizational identity by extending the discursive perspective of collective identity into the context of inter-organizational collaborations that cross national borders. This research also provides further empirical evidence on the active role played by organizational members in the use of cultural narratives as strategic resources to express their identity beliefs, which differs from the deterministic view of culture in shaping organizational members’ behaviors.
LanguageEnglish
Number of pages57
JournalJournal of General Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Sep 2019

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Research
Hospital-Physician Joint Ventures
Negotiating
Observation
Interviews
Collective identity
Identity construction
Inter-organizational collaboration
Cross-national

Keywords

  • international collaboration
  • collective identity
  • identity work
  • collective identity work
  • inter-organizational relationships
  • collaborative advantage

Cite this

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title = "Collective identity construction in international collaborations",
abstract = "This paper explores the dynamic processes of collective identity formation among the participating organizational members in inter-organizational collaborations that cross national boundaries. A longitudinal, qualitative multi-case study research approach was adopted in the empirical investigation of collective identity in three international business collaborations that involve a Sino-British strategic partnership, a Sino-Australian and a Sino-Polish joint venture. Based on the analyses of the data collected from in-depth interviews, participant observation and archival materials, a theoretical framework of collective identity (re)formation is developed. It suggests that two inseparable elements (states and processes) constitute a cyclic and enduring process of collective identity formation through partners’ orchestrating discursive resources involving a common sense of ‘we-ness’. The shifts between various states are driven by partners’ processes of negotiation, integration, solidification and reformation of collective identity. A deconstruction process may also emerge, giving rise to the termination of the collaborative relationship. The research presented in this article advances the understanding of collective identity formation in the field of organizational identity by extending the discursive perspective of collective identity into the context of inter-organizational collaborations that cross national borders. This research also provides further empirical evidence on the active role played by organizational members in the use of cultural narratives as strategic resources to express their identity beliefs, which differs from the deterministic view of culture in shaping organizational members’ behaviors.",
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author = "Ying Zhang and Chris Huxham",
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journal = "Journal of General Management",
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AB - This paper explores the dynamic processes of collective identity formation among the participating organizational members in inter-organizational collaborations that cross national boundaries. A longitudinal, qualitative multi-case study research approach was adopted in the empirical investigation of collective identity in three international business collaborations that involve a Sino-British strategic partnership, a Sino-Australian and a Sino-Polish joint venture. Based on the analyses of the data collected from in-depth interviews, participant observation and archival materials, a theoretical framework of collective identity (re)formation is developed. It suggests that two inseparable elements (states and processes) constitute a cyclic and enduring process of collective identity formation through partners’ orchestrating discursive resources involving a common sense of ‘we-ness’. The shifts between various states are driven by partners’ processes of negotiation, integration, solidification and reformation of collective identity. A deconstruction process may also emerge, giving rise to the termination of the collaborative relationship. The research presented in this article advances the understanding of collective identity formation in the field of organizational identity by extending the discursive perspective of collective identity into the context of inter-organizational collaborations that cross national borders. This research also provides further empirical evidence on the active role played by organizational members in the use of cultural narratives as strategic resources to express their identity beliefs, which differs from the deterministic view of culture in shaping organizational members’ behaviors.

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