Conference Presentation | 2008 - 2008

Organizational Identity as an Anchor for Adaptation: An Emerging Market Perspective

by Andres Hatum, Luciana Silvestri and Roberto Vassolo


There is little doubt that organizational identity—that which is central, distinctive, and enduring about an organization—mediates in adaptive processes. Exactly how this mediation takes place, and whether it is favorable or unfavorable to adaptation, must still be fully established. We add to the literature on identity and adaptation by exploring the relationship between these two constructs in family firms operating in an emerging economy. Based on measures of strength of identity, we examine how identity affects the adaptive processes of issue identification, strategic impulse definition, and implementation, where we look at pace of adjustment. We find that strong-identity organizations are able to foresee relevant changes in their industries, define adequate strategic responses, and implement them in an evolutionary (i.e., smooth) manner. Conversely, loose-identity organizations misread industry trends, incur in strategic paralysis, and must eventually enforce revolutionary (i.e., violent) changes in order to ensure survival.

Keywords: Identity; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Family Business; Strategy; Emerging Markets;


Hatum, Andres, Luciana Silvestri, and Roberto Vassolo. "Organizational Identity as an Anchor for Adaptation: An Emerging Market Perspective." Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 2008.