Reactions to organizational identity threats in times of change: illustrations from the german police

Gabriele Jacobs, J Christe-Zeyse, AE (Anne) Keegan, L Polos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Change projects can affect core features of an organization's identity, because changes made to the managerial practices of an organization can result in misalignments with existing organizational culture. Such misalignments produce threats to organizational identity generating uncertainty and evoking distrust among members of the organization. Faced with projects that introduce changes to managerial practices, people engage in search-and-adjustment processes in order to confirm that organizational identity is intact, producing second-order changes, the pathways of which cannot be predicted and might also undermine the intentions of change leaders. Using case-study evidence, we show how change projects in the German police force produced violations of cultural norms that were central to the continuity and stability of the police. We argue that the change enthusiasm of organizations be tempered given the potentially negative outcomes for individual employees faced with excessive change, and also because of the threats to organizational identity that can result from inherently unpredictable change processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-261
Number of pages17
JournalCorporate Reputation Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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