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Becoming Through Doing: How Experimental Spaces Enable Organizational Identity Work

Abstract : This qualitative study of a magazine publishing incumbent shows how organizational identity work can be triggered when organizational members engage in business model experimentation within the bounded social setting of experimental space. The study adds to the understanding of the strategy-identity nexus by expanding on the view of business models as cognitive tools to business models as tools for becoming and by understanding the role of experimental spaces as holding environments for organizational identity work. We show how an experimental space engages organizational members in experimental practices (e.g., cognitive, material, and experiential). As firms experiment with “what they do”, organizational members progressively confront the existing organizational identity in the following ways: they engage in practices of organizational identity work by coping with the loss of the old identity, they play with possible organizational identities, and they allow new organizational identity aspirations to emerge. In these ways, experimental spaces act as an organizational identity work space that eventually enables organizational identity change. We identify two mechanisms (i.e., grounding and releasing) by which an organizational identity work space emerges and leads to the establishment of a renewed organizational identity.
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Submitted on : Friday, November 22, 2019 - 2:16:29 PM
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Neva Bojovic, Valérie Sabatier, Emmanuel Coblence. Becoming Through Doing: How Experimental Spaces Enable Organizational Identity Work. Strategic Organization, SAGE Publications (UK and US), In press, ⟨10.1177/1476127019864673⟩. ⟨halshs-02376220⟩



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