Social Constructionism and the Justifications for Investigating the Meaning of Corporate Identity Through this Lens

53 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2008

See all articles by Olutayo Otubanjo, PhD

Olutayo Otubanjo, PhD

Brunel Busines School, Brunel University, London

T.C. Melewar

Brunel University London; Middlesex University - Business School

Nelarine Cornelius

University of Bradford - School of Management

Chris Hackley

University of London - Royal Holloway College

Date Written: November 11, 2008

Abstract

Purpose: This paper seeks to explain why work on the meaning of the concept of corporate identity, which has been dominantly approached from a positivistic tradition, could also be addressed from a social constructionist perspective.

Approach: This objective is accomplished through the development a conceptual framework, which pulls together seven ontological assumptions within social constructionism (i.e. 1-social order, direction, stability; 2-social interaction; 3-habitualisation; 4-institutionalisation; 5-historicity; 6-control; 7-communication) with discourses emerging from a social constructionist based corporate identity model.

Findings: Four ontological or social constructionist discourses (i.e. 1-social interaction, 2-habitualisation, 3-institutionalisation and 4-historicity) grounded solely on the making of meanings emerged from this study. These meaning based discourses were presented as the rationale for approaching work on the meaning of corporate identity.

Theoretical implication: Studies on the meaning of corporate identity and the concept of corporate identity in general have been criticised because it lacked a well defined epistemological foundation. Although, the attempt to fill this gap may appear to have come late, nevertheless, it marks the beginning of an effort to establish a philosophical foundation for approaching work on the meaning and concept of corporate identity.

Originality: Existing studies on the meaning and the concept of corporate identity in general is commonly approached from positivism or the positivistic tradition. The review of theoretical literature indicates that there is very little research advocating the pursuit of work on the meaning and concept of corporate identity from any other epistemological position. This study is therefore original because it advocates and promotes the pursuit of this subject from a social constructionist perspective.

Value: This study is valuable because it sensitises corporate identity and corporate marketing scholars (majority of who are positivists) to the social constructionist philosophy. More importantly, this study draws the attention of these scholars to the possibility of adopting the social constructionist philosophy as a plausible approach for addressing work on the meaning and the concept of corporate identity in general. In addition, this study is important because it is capable of providing a foundation for gaining deeper knowledge and robust intellectual insights into the true meaning of corporate identity, which is currently fraught by heated debate.

Keywords: Corporate identity, habitualisation, institutionalisation, ongoing, reality, social constructionist epistemology

Suggested Citation

Otubanjo, PhD, Olutayo and Melewar, T.C. and Cornelius, Nelarine and Hackley, Chris, Social Constructionism and the Justifications for Investigating the Meaning of Corporate Identity Through this Lens (November 11, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1299658 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1299658

Olutayo Otubanjo, PhD (Contact Author)

Brunel Busines School, Brunel University, London ( email )

Kingston Lane
Eastern Gateway Building
Uxbridge, Middlesex
United Kingdom

T.C. Melewar

Brunel University London ( email )

Kingston Lane
Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH
United Kingdom

Middlesex University - Business School ( email )

The Burroughs
London, NW4 4BT
United Kingdom

Nelarine Cornelius

University of Bradford - School of Management ( email )

Emm Lane
Bradford, West Yorkshire Bd9 4JL
United Kingdom

Chris Hackley

University of London - Royal Holloway College ( email )

Senate House
Malet Street
London, TW20 0EX
United Kingdom

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