Constructing and Sustaining Counter-institutional Identities

Academy of Management Journal, Forthcoming

University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper

Posted: 6 Dec 2019

See all articles by Samia Chreim

Samia Chreim

University of Ottawa

Ann Langley

HEC Montreal

Trish Reay

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

Mariline Comeau-Vallee

Independent

Jo-Louise Huq

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

Date Written: June 20, 2019

Abstract

How do individuals and collectives construct and sustain identities that run counter to dominant institutions? We develop the notion of counter-institutional identity as involving individual and collective constructions of ‘who we are’ that are in strong opposition to dominant values and principles in the field, diverge from roles that are established through socialization and training, and involve practices that are proudly construed in direct contrast to field norms. We draw on findings from a comparative case study of Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams to theorize about the identity work of groups and individuals that enables and constrains counter-institutional identity constructions. We develop a cross-level process model of encapsulation in which authoritative texts (or prescriptive documents) play a role in sanctioning and enhancing counter-institutional identities. The model shows how rigorous positioning against ‘who we are not’ (an “identity foil”) through practices of oppositional identity work are combined with practices of relational identity work that reinforce counter-institutional identities by positively valuing ‘who we are’ as superior to the foil. These practices are crucial to understanding how and why counter-institutional identities are created and sustained.

Keywords: research methods, qualitative orientation, case, topic areas, organization and management theory, identity, managerial and organizational cognition, interpretive processes

Suggested Citation

Chreim, Samia and Langley, Ann and Reay, Trish and Comeau-Vallee, Mariline and Huq, Jo-Louise, Constructing and Sustaining Counter-institutional Identities (June 20, 2019). Academy of Management Journal, Forthcoming, University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3499056

Samia Chreim

University of Ottawa ( email )

2292 Edwin Crescent
Ottawa, Ontario K2C 1H7
Canada

Ann Langley

HEC Montreal ( email )

Trish Reay (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada
780-492-4246 (Phone)
780-492-3325 (Fax)

Jo-Louise Huq

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
97
PlumX Metrics