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Organizational Role Influences on Organizational Identity Construction Open Access

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This single case study examined the influence that organizational roles play in the process of organizational identity construction. Specifically, this study addressed the research question: How do the multiple roles of organizational members influence the construction of organizational identity in a healthcare organization following a merger within the last 2 years? While previous research has examined the importance that individual organizational members have in the identity construction process, little research has examined the importance of organizational roles in this process. A previous model of organizational identity construction (Hatch, 2010) and Katz and Khan’s (2003) conceptualization of organizations as systems of roles were used to develop the conceptual framework for this study. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, document collection and analysis, and artifact review and analysis. Methodological rigor was achieved through the use of data triangulation, reflexivity, respondent member checks, peer review, and an audit trail. These techniques were employed to ensure both validity and reliability. The site for this research study was a healthcare organization operating within two states in the continental United States that completed a merger within the previous 2 years. Three primary findings emerged from this research study. First, environmental factors, such as population health and regulatory agreements, can be used to establish organizational goals and influence individual role expectations and behaviors in the identity construction process. Second, individual interpretations of role expectations, like community involvement and volunteer work, influence the identity construction process. Finally, specific organizational roles converge to support unique identity claims as organizational members engage in their communities on behalf of the organization. This study contributes to both theory and practice, adding new components to the theoretical understanding of organizational identity construction, while offering practitioners new insights into the important function that organizational roles play in the construction of organizational identity.

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