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Olivia Kiriakidou and Lynne J. Millward
Interest in corporate identity, both as a management issue and as an academic discipline, has grown significantly over the last decade. However, one of the major problems in this area of research is the lack of consensus as to basic conceptualization and definition of corporate identity (Balmer and Wilkinson, 1991). Corporate identity seems to be a general purpose concept that serves as an alibi for a variety of activities such as designing a new logo, interior decoration, salesforce training, all the way up to changing the corporate culture (van Rekom, 1997). Corporate identity is perceived by most authors as the organization's presentation to its various stakeholders and the means by which it distinguishes itself from other similar organizations (Markwick and Fill, 1997). The application of this concept is limited insofar as it focuses principally on what the organization wants to become in visual terms, on its desired identity. This perspective ignores the operational reality of the organization, its actual identity. The desired organizational identity usually refers to the management vision and the corporate mission of the organization which lies in the heads of organizational decision makers (Balmer and Soenen, 1999). The actual identity, on the other hand, refers to what the organization is (Balmer, 1995), reflecting the value orientation of the organization (van Rekom, 1997) which frames the mind-sets and behaviors of organizational members. The actual organizational identity is of particular relevance when considering the need to merge both internal and external aspects of modern organizations. The heightened emphasis on networking, customer service and the emphasis on total corporate communications, has created a situation whereby the management of external relations is now an integral part of the daily activity of nearly all organizational members (Hatch and Schultz, 1997). The increasing visibility of insiders to outsiders means that employees are under pressure to interface with the customer as representatives of the organization in the way they think, feel and behave. This requires that they sign on to the organizational paradigm. Furthermore, it
This paper has been funded by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation: The Greek Section of Scholarships and Research.
The authors Olivia Kiriakidou and Lynne J. Millward are at the School of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, UK. Keywords Corporate identity, Employee attitudes, Internal communications Abstract Examines the impact of corporate identity management on the employees' attitudes towards the organization, as well as their willingness to accept its premises in the way they conduct organizational business. Argues that this knowledge is critical to our understanding of how external relations can be systematically managed via the employee. Presents a framework which outlines the perceived actual-ideal identity fit seen as critical to the way in which corporate identity is interpreted and enacted by employees. Case study material is provided from within a telecommunications company, to illustrate that the effective management of corporate identity requires that it is perceived to be consistent with, and representative of, actual organizational reality. Electronic access The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at http://www.emerald-library.com
Corporate Communications: An International Journal Volume 5 . Number 1 . 2000 . pp. 49±58 # MCB University Press . ISSN 1356-3289
an umbrella term referring to considerations of how and in what form organizations might present themselves in ways which optimize external relations and which have implications for business performance. The purpose of this paper is to examine potential discrepancies between the actual and the ideal identity of the organization as perceived by employees. Rather. It refers to the set of beliefs a member holds about the existing character of the organization (Albert and Whetten. Organizational identity is the set of constructs organizational members use to describe what is central. Thus. This brings us to the concept of organizational identity. 1997) within the organization. 1997). Dutton and Dukerich. Millward Corporate Communications: An International Journal Volume 5 . Corporate identity: internal reality Recent research (Balmer. In the view of Ashforth and Mael (1996).Corporate identity: external reality or internal fit? Olivia Kiriakidou and Lynne J. 1991). 1989. 1985. 1995) recognizes that corporate identity is more than just an organizational symbol or mark of recognition. that is. without consideration of the social psychological reality of the organization or its everyday modus operandi (Millward. the term corporate identity has been equated for a long time with graphic design. It has also been used with reference to making the organization's visual identity more fashionable within the contemporary marketplace. symbols. Within this artefactual approach. 1995. in the way it is lived and breathed by employees. Unlike corporate strategy and even culture. promoting the idea that implementing a new visual identity can be an effective means of changing organizational strategy. to create a favorable basis for customer and stakeholder within an increasingly competitive economic environment. Corporate identity: external fit The notion of corporate identity addresses the question ``Who are we?''. 1999). Despite this. the issue of identity goes to the core of what something is. how it thinks. Here we argue that organizational identity claims may be much more effective if they have an empirical basis (van Rekom. as well as on their willingness to accept and act on the organization's premises. enduring and distinctive about their . The answer to this question has the potential to motivate and shape (and be shaped by) strategic choice and action. the development of corporate identity starts from the vision and aims of the top management board and reflects the organization's identity which the management board wish to acquire. 1991. as interpreted and enacted by employees in the way they go about their work (see also Abratt. corporate identity has been understood 50 merely at the artefactual level (i. our findings have major implications for corporate identity management as a means for achieving competitive advantage. 1997. Balmer and Wilkinson. However. What makes the notion of identity so important in the corporate context is that it attaches meaning to an object. As such. the concept of corporate identity has been used primarily as a marketing tool. This desired identity is communicated mainly through streamlining organizational symbolism and corporate communications on an external basis in order to achieve a favorable market image and to promote competitive advantage. van Riel and Balmer. 49±58 is implied that the internal reality and the desired management vision and corporate mission need to be harmonized in the most efficient and effective way. 2000 . It advocates a definition of corporate identity as the visible expression of what an organization is. culture and communications (van Rekom. 1991). 1997). Number 1 . corporate identity denotes the characteristic way in which an organization goes about its business. Our evidence highlights the need for an integration of internal with the external reality of an organization. Hatch and Schultz. This approach assumes that corporate identity does not sit comfortably within one discipline and that a multidisciplinary stance should therefore be adopted (Balmer. what fundamentally defines that entity. Thomas and Gioia. statements of philosophy and annual reports). and to determine whether gaps in employees' perceptions have an impact on their attitudes towards the organization. To this end. feels. 1995). the desired identity of the organization (Balmer and Soenen. behaves and interfaces with the external world via its employees. such corporate aims may not be genuine expressions of the company's actual identity.e. the quest to answer "Who are we?" is a quest for meaning and justification.
efforts to manage corporate identity should reflect the organizational identity of the company (members' beliefs about its existing character). the expression as manifest in the behavior and communication of the organization. 1997) and thus embedded in organizational culture (Fiol and Huff. satisfaction and performance (Bowen et al. 2000 . Here we ask: ``To what extent is the actualideal identity fit (as it is perceived by the employees in a particular organization) associated with longevity with an organization. 1998). which can invoke images that contradict the idealized corporate statement presented to the outside world. Here we define culture as the corporate values that are held by staff and management and their concrete manifestation in organizational symbolism and behaviour. determining the effectiveness of corporate identity as a means of corporate communication (van Rekom. To characterize an organisation's identity in terms of its central values requires first that the range of relevant values be identified. the management of corporate identity can gain advantage from a thorough understanding of an organization's actual identity by determining the gaps that exist between the desired and the actual organizational identity. company performance and corporate behavior. van Rekom. as a result.. Corporate identity is then the tangible representation of the organizational identity. The assessment of perceived corporate identity One way to assess corporate identity quantitatively is to focus on the central values that may be important to an organization's identity. Therefore. they may dissociate themselves from their employing organization and even oppose its attempts to achieve it (Higgins. Summarizing. we argue that it is important in any effort to manage corporate identity that the actual identity of the organization is taken into consideration. we propose that it is critical to look at the degree of fit between the actual and ideal characteristics of the organisation's identity. 1992). in most cases. members may discard identity-related external and internal statements that denote purely rhetoric rather than reality (Rindova and Schultz. but very little empirical research on this has been done. Organizational identity is grounded in local meanings and organizational symbols (Hatch and Schultz. This means that the visible expression of an organization's identity reflects the values actually held by organizational members and not only the desired and idealized efforts of the management board. 49±58 organization (Albert and Whetten.Corporate identity: external reality or internal fit? Olivia Kiriakidou and Lynne J. they may draw on their experiences. 1997). The inconsistency between the two identities causes an identity gap. A number of authors have implied that the values held by personnel within the organization are at the heart of an organization's identity formation process (Abratt. Millward Corporate Communications: An International Journal Volume 5 . Culture plays an important role in the development and enactment of corporate identity. 1985) and it acts as a powerful schematic filter (Reger et al. the type and quality of its products and services. 1987). Practice has shown that. organizational members may believe the ideal is unattainable and. 1989). defined as the discrepancy between the perception of the actual and the desired identity. In order for organizational members to relate to the expression of their organization's identity. In this way. Those values reflect the organization's identity. Like Balmer and Soenen (1999). satisfaction and personal commitment to organizational goals and values?'' We expected to find that high levels . which frame the way that the organization operates. Number 1 . Previous research has suggested that actualideal identity fit increases commitment. the corporate vision and mission of the organization tend to ignore present cultural values. 1997). In this context. Here we argue that organizational identity is at the core of an organization's corporate identity. and then that an assessment be made of how much consensus there is among organizational members about those values. If such contradictions exist. 1991. 1997). When the identity gap is too wide. a broader conceptualization of an organization's identity is suggested that incorporates both internally held values and external expressions of these values. including employees' attitudes (van Rekom. 1994) through which members interpret information about their organization. 51 We argue further that the congruency between an organization's actual corporate identity and its ideal identity is a crucial factor..
Figure 1 shows the values that were derived from the thematic analysis. The research was undertaken in a business unit ``telecommunication services'' (pseudonyms to protect the confidentiality of the organization) of a large organization offering telecommunication and electronic products and services to businesses and customers. which allowed for numerical comparisons of the perceived actual and projected/ideal corporate identity and enabled a direct comparison between the different groups within the organization. of what the organization wants to be as perceived by its leaders and the top management board. 2000 . A two-stage approach involving both qualitative and quantitative means of data collection was undertaken. 49±58 of fit would be positively associated with those outcomes. Millward Corporate Communications: An International Journal Volume 5 . a questionnaire survey was used to obtain data. representing a response rate of 54. The documents were analyzed using thematic content analysis. We believed that these kind of documents. This was followed by a quantitative stage (Stage 2). Number 1 . 15 participants presented missing data on a number of items and were dropped from the data file. Questionnaires comprised a front page with an introduction explaining the objectives of the study. The official documents were also examined for information to discover what the organization said about itself that could be translated into officially sanctioned cultural values.Corporate identity: external reality or internal fit? Olivia Kiriakidou and Lynne J. to interpret similarities and differences between the insider and official knowledge.2 per cent. to develop and use analysis techniques. providing the organization's official line. and to assess similarities and differences between and within groups. to discover and articulate insider-confirmed operative organizational values. 52 Method Sample The questionnaire was distributed to all employees within the Telecommunications Group of the organisation. the voluntary nature of respondent participation. The research was designed to determine how internal stakeholders perceived the operational reality as well as the projected image of the company. This . In addition. the following objectives were evolved: to discover and articulate corporate knowledge as implied or espoused in official and unofficial organizational documents. Figure 1 Company profile of the actual organisational descriptors as perceived by employees The current investigation To address the research question. and a guarantee of complete anonymity and confidentiality. An initial exploratory stage involving document analysis (Stage 1) allowed for the identification of basic corporate descriptors and values from the perspective of the official organization and the top management board. would give us a clear idea of the organization's ideal identity. A total of 331 participants returned the questionnaire. enabling a test for the relationship between fit and work related outcomes.
sd = 1.75. A comparison of the most and least important organizational descriptors is illustrated in Figure 1.15. and a detailed literature review.4 per cent were working for the research and development department.50) and satisfaction with the organization (mean = 3.5 per cent) and 229 males (72. A total of 77 (48. assessed role clarity (mean = 4. the average age being between 36-45 years old. Fit was operationalised as the sum of the differences between responses to corresponding items on the two questionnaires. hierarchical level. type of contract and organizational tenure. 27. Respondents worked for the following departments: 36. role conflict (mean = 4.01). By far the majority of the sample N = 206 (65.47).19). where a high score on the scale is indicative of low commitment to organizational goals (mean = 4. Millward Corporate Communications: An International Journal Volume 5 .72. Results Overall company profile By considering the means and standard deviations of the perceptions of the actual attributes of the organization. Other variables A number of single item scales were extracted from the organizational culture inventory (Cooke and Lafferty.5 per cent of the respondents for the administrative department. Number of years in the current organization ranged from 1 to 32 years (mode = 1 year. while type of contract had four (1 = permanent. fit (mean = 3.3 per cent) described it as ``temporary''. and 16. sd = 1. N = 10 (3. 3 = managers. 7 = extremely representative) how representative each statement was of the way their current organization operated.7 per cent) of respondents described their employment contract as ``permanent''.1 per cent for the marketing department. a number of other variables were measured: 53 Organisational goal commitment Commitment to organizational goals was assessed using the self-report measure developed by Hollenbeck et al. Number 1 . The response scale was a seven-point Likert scale anchored by strongly disagree to strongly agree. sd = 1. 3 = fixed-term. Hierarchical level had five categories (1 = non-supervisory. to (5) to a very great extent. Coefficient alpha for this scale was 0. The sample comprised 87 females (27. 5 = top managers). whilst 81 (51. 17.91. 1 = not at all representative. 2000 .6 per cent) were managers. Intention to leave Intentions of leaving the organization were assessed by a four-item scale adapted from Angle and Perry (1981) as discussed by Muchinsky and Tuttle (1979) (mean = 2. Fit was assessed using two versions of the questionnaire: ``actual'' and ``ideal''.20. The second version asked respondents to indicate (again using a seven-point Likert-type scale) how representative each statement was of the ideal characteristics of their employing organization (how the organization would like to be). (1989).17.2 per cent) were non-supervisory employees.2 per cent) were section managers and N = 4 (1.5 per cent for the engineering department..70). To test the hypothesis that the perceived actual-ideal identity fit is related to work outcomes. age. mean = 13. sd = 1.49) and willingness to recommend the organization to someone as a good place to work (mean = 4. 2 = temporary.10). sd = 1. 1989). It comprised 32 descriptors of the focal organisation as presented in the organizational documents. The scales.Corporate identity: external reality or internal fit? Olivia Kiriakidou and Lynne J. while N = 31 (9. anchored by (1) not at all. Measures The research instrument that assessed components of corporate identity was developed on the basis of an extended thematic content analysis of official and unofficial documents provided by the focal company. Biographical data A number of single questions were used to gather information about employees' departmental membership. sd = 1. 2 = team leaders.8 per cent) were team leaders.65.34.41 years). 1989).3 per cent) were top managers. 4 = part-time).5 per cent) between 19 and 57 years old. N = 65 (20. 4 = section managers. it is possible to determine how employees perceive the organization's actual identity. sd = 1. For the present study only the four items that had shown the highest factor loading were used (Hollenbeck et al. The overall combination of these elements can be . gender. The first one asked participants to indicate (using a seven-point Likert-type scale. 49±58 resulted in a final sample size of 316.
92). p< 0. providing support for the existence of multiple sub-corporate identities.66).74. or near significant differences.97). quality (5.01).01) However. p< 0.37. regarding the perceived actual corporate identity: (1) The marketing department perceive that the most representative descriptors of the organization which differentiate them significantly from all the other three groups are: market focus F = 52. 54 . communication (±2.01).97). innovation (F = 13.67).18.76).37).01). 49±58 used to indicate the attributes which characterize the operational reality of the company. p< 0. adaptability (5.06.01).01).18).83. responsiveness (5. The ideal organizational index shows more Figure 2 Company profile of the ideal organisational descriptors as perceived by employees emphasis on market focus (mean = 5. research and development (F = 54.Corporate identity: external reality or internal fit? Olivia Kiriakidou and Lynne J. continuous improvement (5.76). and employee fulfillment (±2.61. More specifically.66) and long-term perspective (5.74. training (F = 69. flexibility (±2.74). (2) The R&D department is significantly differentiated from all the other departments on the following descriptors: superior products (F = 25.01). long-term perspective (F = 16. results orientation (5.90.40.01). stability (±2. employee fulfillment (5. Duncan multiple range tests were performed to investigate the difference in the perceptions of actual and ideal identity between pairs of groups. p< 0. customer satisfaction (F = 15. long-term perspective (±2.67). and costeffectiveness (F = 86. These tests indicated that in most of the cases.43.92) and excessive control (5.97). customer satisfaction (5.01). performance excellence (5. profit orientation (5. Those are: expectations for performance excellence (mean = 5.54).68).149.01).48. p< 0. 2000 . Millward Corporate Communications: An International Journal Volume 5 . p< 0.18).57. p< 0. p< 0. p< 0. p< 0.98). between the perceived actual and ideal organizational characteristics were obtained on the following factors: responsiveness (mean difference = ±3. cost-effectiveness (5.28). Number 1 . However. what the company is. Figure 2 clearly shows that the organization is perceived as projecting a completely different set of characteristics that would like to be regarded as its most important and distinguishing features.01). p< 0. stability (5.98).16. they perceive that the least representative characteristics of the organization are control (F = 4.01).43.01).45. clear guiding philosophy (±2.25). quality of products and services (5.68).01). but also bureaucratic mechanisms (5. p< 0. p< 0. p< 0. The most significant differences.96).77). risk-taking (F = 9. p< 0.89). trust (F = 9. p< 0. p< 0. emphasis on profit (F = 22. employee focus (F = 6. different departments perceive the actual characteristics of the organization in a very different way. bureaucratic character (2. teamwork (F = 10.01) and costeffectiveness (F = 86.78).01).01).23).37). flexibility (F = 11. superior products (5. technical expertise (5. flexibility (5. organizational growth (F = 12. innovation (5.72).98.
9a 3.23d Engineering/Cust 4.b 3.54b.b 2.08a 2.05a 3.c 2.27a.77a.16a.13b 6.b 3.06a 3.96b 5.23a 2.18b 4.76b 5.81b.95a 5.8b 3.75a 2.77b R&D 4.58a 4. Table II shows the correlations between actual-ideal fit and a set of outcome and control variables.75a 2.06a 3a 5.b 5.31a.94b. person-environment fit).19c 3.29a 4.81a 3. as well as role clarity.49.56b.07a 3a 3.89a 3.15b 2.c 5. Millward Corporate Communications: An International Journal Volume 5 .16b 5.69c 5.43b 4.68a 5.b 5.49a.24c 6.b 4.98a 3. They believe that the least characteristic descriptors of the company are market focus (F = 52. < 0.68b 6.08b 5.71a.b 3.05b 3.02a 3.69a.01a.96b 3.81a.b 5.b 3.b 4.99a 3.96a 4.13a 4.b 4.72b 5.b 5.4a 5.61.68a.01).69a.Corporate identity: external reality or internal fit? Olivia Kiriakidou and Lynne J. The important question that needs to be answered is whether actual-ideal fit is systematically related to relevant organizational outcomes such as goal commitment.51a. satisfaction.52a 5.09b 5.c 3.29b 4.38a.9a.92a 3.12a.b 6.91c 2.9a 5. we also operationalised fit in this manner.16c 6.33a 3.01).52b 3.77a 6. turnover.b 5. with an orientation to customer service.75b.49a 5.31a.75a Administrative 3.84b 6.b 2. The sum of the squared differences between the individuals' perceptions of the actual and ideal characteristics of the organization across the entire set of 32 items measures actualideal fit.c 5.61a 3.11c 4.25a. 49±58 (3) The third department that perceives the actual characteristics of the company in quite a different and especially mediocre way is the engineering department.b 3.c 2.b 3. and employee fulfillment (F = 14.91b 3. < 0.b 6.17a.9b.01).56a 3.4c Note: Means with common subscripts are not significant at the p < 0.37a.8a 4.06a 3.14a.37.69a.b 3a 3.66b 3.17a 5.73a 5. stability (F = 5.b 5.b 4.92a 2.b 4.37a 3. Actual-ideal fit and outcomes Because difference-scores have been widely used to represent the gap between desired and actual states (i.b 3.e. Number 1 .44a.4a.67b 2.83c 5.75a 2.01a 6.11c 2.c 3a 3.31a 5.56a 2. Table I Results of company descriptors for the sum of employees Descriptor/Dept Market focus Organizational growth Superior products Alliances Customer satisfaction Environmental awareness Results Teamwork Communication Improvement Quality Profit Innovation Control Trust Adaptability Stability Expertise Competition Responsibility Risk-taking Fulfillment Long-term R&D Training Responsiveness Flexibility Bureaucratic Philosophy Excellent performance Cost-effective Marketing 5.03a 3.51c 4.89a. <0. fit and recommendation.85b 5.8a 3.7a.08b.6b 5.05 level 55 .4a 3.82b 4.52a 1.c 3.66a 3.b 3.21c 2.91a 3.47c 5.b 2.b 5.77a 2.68a 5.18d 5. 2000 .92a 3. All the analyses are presented in Table I.16a.
actual-ideal fit is not significantly correlated with intention to leave (r = 0.75 4. < 0.322** Satisfaction ±0.000 Mean Sum total gaps Goal commitment Intention to leave Expectation to grow Role clarity Fit Satisfaction Recommendation 137. were more willing to commit to organizational goals.31. p < 0.5 143.000 0.254** 0. role clarity (t = ±2.379 Sig.145* 0. p < 0.06. the marketing department perceive significantly less discrepancy than any of the other three groups.211** ±0.7 143.352** 0.107 1.449** ±0.05 ).07 4.458. n. a median split was performed on the actual-ideal fit variable and mean differences between those who fit and those who did not were examined using t tests.5 4.587 ±1.01).05).000 ±0. were more satisfied with the organization.121.157** 0.126. p < 0.497** 0. Millward Corporate Communications: An International Journal Volume 5 .7 1.07 1.0 2 3 t-score Goal commitment Intention to leave Expectation to grow Role clarity Fit Satisfaction Recommendation 2.14 2.58. n. were more clear about their roles within the organization and were less willing to leave than those who fit less well than average. Those who fit were significantly different from those who did not fit on goal commitment (t = 2. p < 0.196** ±0.430** 1.487** ±0.126* ±0.03. Respondents who fit Table III T-tests based on the median score ± differences between actualideal and outcomes better.115* Goal commitment 0.121* ±0.115.157** 0.009 0.247** Role clarity ±0. p < 0.186** 0.254** ±0.10 1.06 0.115* ±0.627 1.464** 0. on average.470 ±2.834 0. (F = 10. p < 0. (2-tailed) 0. analyses of variance were performed to determine differences among employees in each department and at each hierarchical level.Corporate identity: external reality or internal fit? Olivia Kiriakidou and Lynne J.211** ±0.34 3.210 2. satisfaction with the organization (r = ±0.000 0. role clarity (r = ±0.19 Sum total gaps 1.157** ±0. However.121* ±0. and expectation to grow (r = ±0.247** Expectation to grow ±0.48 1.62.s.05). 49±58 Table II Correlations between variables relating to actual-ideal fit Std deviation 29.05) (Table III).007 1.388** 0. whereas the engineering/customer service department perceived the most degree Table IV Results of the total number of gaps per departmental membership Department Marketing R&D Administrative Engineering/ Customer 1 124.487** ±0.110* ±0.47 1. Specifically.05 level 56 .388** Of central interest are the correlations between actual-ideal fit and commitment to the goals of the organization (r = ±0.05). and fit (r = ±0. intention to leave (t = 2.322** 0.01) where a high score on this scale means low degree of commitment to the organizational goals. p < 0. p < 0.430** Recommendation ±0.501** Intention to leave 0.50 1.254** 1.254** ±0.01 for the department membership and F = 3.1 143.s. p < 0.01 1.23.180** 0.247** 0.496 0.).064 ±0.69 Note: Means with common subscripts are not significant at the p < 0.501** 0.170** 0.05). in order to depict the practical effects of fitting versus not fitting the organization.464** ±0.110* ±0.170** 0.315 2.143 0.000 0.01 for the hierarchical level).000 0.449** ±0.17 Fit ±0.91 3.157** 0.247** 0.5 148.497** 1.50 3.145* 1. p < 0.064 ±0.234** 0. 2000 .186** 0.000 0.03 0. Duncan multiple range tests were performed to investigate the difference between groups on the actual-ideal gap scale.49.000 0.21. Number 1 .) Furthermore.126* ±0. These tests indicated that different departments within the same organization perceive the relationship between the actual and ideal organizational identity in a different way.218.107 ±0.01).234** 1.1 143.352** 0.196** 1. as depicted in Table IV. recommendation (r = ±0. and satisfaction (t =±2.180** 0. Finally.
processes and outcomes of their corporate identity change programs.A. Organizational members in separate divisions or functional departments may have distinct suborganizational identity beliefs that are internalized in different levels and degrees. in June 1999. 63-76.L. it cannot be guaranteed by presenting employees with vision statements and corporate plans that are significantly discrepant with the operational reality of the organization and its current cultural system of Table V Results of the total number of gaps per hierarchical level Hierarchical level Top manager Section manager Team leader Manager Lower-level employee 1 113. (Eds). ``Organizational identity''. and Mael. pp. "Organizational identity and strategy as a context for the Note: Means with common subscripts are not significant at the p < 0.5 values and beliefs. (1996). 2000 . However. and Perry. F. It would appear that too many projects are vision driven and aim to communicate or nurture a single corporate identity based on the vision and aims of the top management. H. and this involves revealing the sub-identities which make up the organization as an entity. it has been shown that different departments perceive both the actual and the ideal organizational characteristics in a very different way. Such efforts need to understand the organization's actual corporate identity and give greater attention to its cultural underpinnings. C. Discussion The findings demonstrate that in the current study there are clear discrepancies between employee perceptions of the actual and the ideal identity of their organization. University of Strathclyde.E.2 2 125. Vol. They demonstrate the importance of understanding how corporate identity is perceived.1 123. 63-76. D. 1-14. Millward Corporate Communications: An International Journal Volume 5 . corporate identity efforts need to reassess the rationale. Greenwich. Ashforth. JAI Press.5 138. There has to be a link that mediates the relationship between the individual and corporate collective.5 138. Research in Organizational Behavior. (This article is based on a conference presentation given at the International Centre for Corporate Identity Studies (ICCIS) First Symposium. ``An empirical assessment of organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness''. and thus in the way employees conduct their external relations. and Whetten.05 level 57 . in Cummings. pp. 5 No. Finally. 26.2 140. Employees who perceive that there is a high level of discrepancy between the actual and ideal identity of the organization are significantly less willing to commit and.Corporate identity: external reality or internal fit? Olivia Kiriakidou and Lynne J. Analysis of interpretive themes and questionnaire data reveal an organization that is perceived by its own members to project a completely different set of attributes than those that actually characterize the organization. The above research could be of great interest as it shows how organizational signals are being received and represented internally. (1985). Finally. CT. J. Of perhaps more practical importance is the association between actual-ideal fit and commitment to organizational goals. The above findings have strong practical implications. Vol. held at the Department of Marketing. 7. We argue that organizational identification and commitment to what the organization is and does cannot be secured by presenting employees with monolithic graphic solutions.) References Abratt. entitled "Corporate Identity: Crossing the Rubicon''. 1. interpreted and enacted at the ground level. (1989). Number 1 . Furthermore. and Staw. such a limited commitment could threaten organizational performance. As far as hierarchical level is concerned.5 125. Furthermore. Journal of Marketing Management. Albert.L. pp. ``A new approach to the corporate image management process''. R. it seems that top managers and section managers perceive the least number of discrepancies compared to team leaders. realize the organizational goals. Administrative Science Quarterly. managers and lower-level employees (Table V).1 123. Vol.M. as a result. S. which in fact is the optimum goal of any corporate identity programme. B. supporting the existence of subcorporate identities. 49±58 of discrepancy. B.C. (1981). Angle. it points to the critical importance of a research-based approach to corporate-identity management.
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