The reconstruction of organizational identity: A case study of a Chinese university

Wufeng Tan, Purdue University


This dissertation examines organizational changes in a Chinese university in response to the educational and economic reforms in China. This study takes a social constructionist approach and uses Martin's (1992) three lens for cultural changes to examine how faculty members and administrators at the university reconstruct the university's identity to meet the changing expectations of various stakeholders. Through in-depth interviews with faculty members and administrators at the university, this study finds that reconstruction of organizational identity is a complex process that involves consensus, tension and ambiguity all at the same time. This study also finds that change in organizational identity may trigger change in professional identity and organization identification in cases where organizational identity and professional identity are closely tied to each other. In this case, the changes also generated strong emotional responses such as loss and fear that resulted in potentially emotional labor for its members.




Sypher, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Communication|Higher education

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