The processes by which organizational members learn to change is intimately intertwined with their assumptions about who they are as an organization. Indeed recent research has found organizational identity to be a critical though relatively under-recognized factor that not only influences what is learned, but more importantly how members learn to respond to strategic change imperatives (Nag, Corley, and Gioia, 2003, 2007). In this chapter we consider the nature of the learning–identity interrelationship and attempt to draw out some of the consequent implications for both concepts, as well as implications for theorists and researchers who study both phenomena.
Although an overused catchphrase in today’s society, the notion that ‘change is everywhere; change is everything’ still holds powerful sway over the modern organization. Because of fast-paced market changes confronting most industries, ever-accelerating technology cycles, insatiable desires for up-to-the-minute business news, and gyrating capital markets, as well as capricious terrorism, organizations are faced with tumultuous environmental relationships that require constant mindfulness and adaptability. Change is, in fact, everywhere in organizations and, to some extent, everything as well, in the sense that organizational well-being and even survival depend on organizational adaptability (Tsoukas and Chia, 2002).
Our research has discovered new ways in which organizational identity relates to transformational ...