Lessons in Fluidity: Anonymous and the Communicative Formation of Organizational Identity

University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper No. 335

43 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2013  

Leonhard Dobusch

Department of Organization and Learning

Dennis Schoeneborn

University of Zurich - Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Information Technology; Copenhagen Business School - Department of Intercultural Communication and Management

Date Written: June 20, 2013

Abstract

Most research on organizational identity tends to take an essentialist perspective, differentiating between an identity construed internally by members of the organization and an image construed by external actors. However, the duality of identity and image struggles with capturing more fluid, open, or partial organizational arrangements, where it is difficult to uphold this distinction. Looking at the case of the hacker collective Anonymous as an extreme example of organization, this paper proposes to adopt a communication-centered perspective in order to better understand the formation of organizational identity. Drawing on the emerging “communicative constitution of organizations” (CCO) framework, we transcend both an essentialist and a member-centered view by arguing that organizational identity is achieved through communicative events that demarcate the boundaries between actions attributed either to the organization or to the organizational environment.

Keywords: Anonymous, communication as constitutive of organizations (CCO), organizational communication, organizational identity, organization theory, partial organizations

Suggested Citation

Dobusch, Leonhard and Schoeneborn, Dennis, Lessons in Fluidity: Anonymous and the Communicative Formation of Organizational Identity (June 20, 2013). University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper No. 335. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2283155 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2283155

Leonhard Dobusch (Contact Author)

Department of Organization and Learning ( email )

Universitätsstraße 15
Innsbruck, Innsbruck 6020
Austria

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uibk.ac.at/iol/index.html.en

Dennis Schoeneborn

University of Zurich - Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Information Technology ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zürich, 8032
Switzerland

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Intercultural Communication and Management ( email )

Porcelænshaven 18A
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

Paper statistics

Downloads
141
Rank
266,948
Abstract Views
562