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Impact of coherent versus multiple identities on knowledge integration

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  • Willem, A.
  • Scarbrough, H.
  • Buelens, M.

    ()
    (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School)

Abstract

This paper addresses the influence of two competing views of social identity on knowledge integration within organizations. One view sees social identity primarily as a coherent characteristic of organisations, which can leverage knowledge integration by developing loyalty, trust, shared values and implicit norms (Kogut and Zander, 1996). The opposing view considers social identification as multiple and fragmented (Albert, Ashforth and Dutton, 2000; Alvesson, 2000). This fragmented view emphasises the problematic nature of social identity for knowledge integration. The aim of this paper is to examine these competing accounts and to develop insight under what conditions coherent respectively multiple social identities are advantageous for knowledge integration by the comparative analysis of two polar case studies. Our case studies reveal the different effects of a coherent versus multiple identity on knowledge integration and the need for a coherent company-wide social identity to leverage knowledge integration between organizational units.

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File URL: http://www.vlerick.be/en/6836-VLK/version/default/part/AttachmentData/data/vlgms-wp-2007-28.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in its series Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series with number 2007-28.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 08 Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vlg:vlgwps:2007-28

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Keywords: case studies; knowledge integration; multiple identities; organization theory; organization-wide identity; social identity;

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  1. Maxine Robertson & Jacky Swan, 2003. "'Control - What Control?' Culture and Ambiguity Within a Knowledge Intensive Firm," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 831-858, 06.
  2. Szulanski, Gabriel, 2000. "The Process of Knowledge Transfer: A Diachronic Analysis of Stickiness," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 9-27, May.
  3. Argote, Linda & Ingram, Paul & Levine, John M. & Moreland, Richard L., 2000. "Knowledge Transfer in Organizations: Learning from the Experience of Others," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 1-8, May.
  4. Kane, Aimee A. & Argote, Linda & Levine, John M., 2005. "Knowledge transfer between groups via personnel rotation: Effects of social identity and knowledge quality," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 56-71, January.
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