Troubled Organizational Identities!
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Troubled Organizational Identities!

Questions concerning the collective identities of businesses and organisations are a central problem in organisational theory. With postmodernist sociology's critique of the relationship between collective and individual identity in organisations, this problematic is fomulated anew. Simultaneously, the emergence of new theories about organisations and the relationship between the individual and the organisation imply a revitalization of the discussion concerning the identity of organisations.

Examples might be theories concerning value based management, corporate social responsibility, religion and spirituality in businesses, branding and innovation of identity, as well as other conceptions of corporate or organisational identity. This workshop invites papers focused on theory development as well as concrete case presentations of problematics concerning the collective identities of businesses and organisations.

Jacob Dahl Rendtorff: Towards Corporate citizenship: Collectivist and individualist concepts of corporate moral responsibility and identity

This paper examines different collectivist and individualist arguments for corporate moral responsibility and identity. Following a discussion of some possible economic, anti-essentialist, and individualist criticisms of the collectivist concept of corporate social responsibility, a third possible organizational view on corporate group responsibility and the moral agency of the firm is put forward. This view aims to overcome the opposition between collectivist and individualist views on corporate social responsibility and identity. The analysis aims to
clarify whether it is possible to ascribe moral agency to the corporation, or whether the firm should be considered as nothing more than a legal construct and economic device for efficient instrumental action. Accordingly, this paper is structured in the following parts: 1) collectivist arguments for corporate moral responsibility and identity; 2) individualist criticism of corporate moral responsibility identity; and 3) towards an institutional concept of corporate moral and social responsibility and identity of the good citizen corporation.


Jacob Dahl Rendtorff, Associate Professor, The Department of Communication, Business and Information Technologies, Roskilde University Center


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Revised 2012.01.15