Sub-theme 09: (SWG) Identity in Art, Design and Organization
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Ariane Berthoin Antal
Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), Germany
Steven Scott Taylor
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA
Call for Papers
Identity work is central to art, to design, and to organizations. The construction, maintenance, change, and communication
of individual and collective identity play out when these worlds meet. Artists and designers working with organizational problems
"sense" the organization and place their own identity into relationship with it. Here identity is a fundamentally aesthetic
phenomenon – it is felt, embodied, and can be worked with via presentational forms.
Scholars of individual identity
look at how it becomes constructed and deconstructed, how individuals claim identity for themselves and have identities thrust
upon them, and the complex negotiation between the two. Interactions with artists and designers can affect the identity of
individuals in organizations, too. The managers who invite artists into their organization reveal a part of their identity
as cultural beings that may enhance their image, or put it at risk as elitist. The collaboration of artists and designers
with members of organizations creates situations in which employees reconsider and sometimes expand their identity at work
Intermediary organizations bridge between the worlds of the arts and design on the one hand, and
the world of organizations on the other. They often fulfill an identity-buffering function, allowing the members of each world
to maintain their distinct identities while working together. Identity is sometimes treated as a central, distinctive and
enduring feature of organizations (e.g. Albert & Whetten, 1985), or seen as a process of becoming between culture, identity,
and image (e.g. Hatch & Schultz, 2002). Then, there are critics who deconstruct identity management efforts, forming a
third approach (e.g. Alvesson & Wilmott, 2002). In all three approaches, art and design can be seen as ways in which organizations
explore, develop, and communicate identity, but little research has been conducted to draw out these ideas.
is much to do for ADO! We envisage addressing identity at the nexus of art-design-and-organizations through many lenses and
examples. Among the questions contributors may want to explore are:
- How can we conceptualize the work that
artists/designers do around organizational identities?
- How do artists/designers open space/minds and processes
for altering how aspects of organizational identity are treated?
- To what extent do artists/designers approach
contradiction, paradox, and complexity differently than people outside their worlds?
- What roles do boundary objects
and intermediary organizations play in the process of identity work between artists/designers and members of host/client organizations?
- What is the role of identity in the art, design, and management professions?
- How do artists/designers' identities
work for and against them when interacting with clients/organizations?
- How do artists and designers differ in
addressing an organization's identity?
- What relationships do artists/designers have with the works they create
and the organizations they engage with in non-Western cultures?
- How does organizational identity theory address
and complement art/design practices aimed at helping companies formulate, change or express their corporate identities?
- Does branding theory open windows on working with clients using art/design methods to inform organizational identity processes?
Interested? If so, please submit a short paper about what you are doing in this area. In the tradition of
the ADO sub-theme, we welcome creative contributions, and plan to design the conference days for conversation, development,
Albert, Stuart & David Whetten (1985): 'Organizational identity.'
Research in Organizational Behavior, 7, 263–295.
Alvesson, Mats & Hugh Willmott (2002): 'Identity regulation
as organizational control: producing the appropriate individual.' Journal of Management Studies, 39 (5), 619–644.
Hatch, Mary Jo & Majken Schultz (2002): 'The dynamics of organizational identity.' Human Relations, 55 (8),
Stefan Meisiek is Associate Professor of Leadership at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, and Visiting Professor at Universidade Nova de
Lisboa, Portugal. His research interests focus on design/arts-based approaches to ideation, problem solving, and organizing.
He is developing the Studio@CBS (www.cbs.dk/studio) for group-centered, problem-based, and experiential management education.
Ariane Berthoin Antal leads the program on 'Artistic interventions in organizations' in the research unit on 'Cultural Sources of Newness' at the
Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), Germany. She also serves as Distinguished Research Professor at Audencia Nantes
School of Management (France), and as Honorary Professor of Organizational Development and Intercultural Management at the
Technical University Berlin.
Steven Scott Taylor is Associate Professor in the School of Business at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, USA. His research
focuses on the aesthetics of organizational action and reflective practice. Recently his academic work has focused on theorizing
the use of arts-based process within organizations and conceptualizing management as craft. He is the author of "Leadership
Craft, Leadership Art", and is the editor of the journal 'Organizational Aesthetics'. Steven is also a playwright whose work
has been performed in many countries.