dumping your organizational identity

Dissertation topic for up and coming orgheads: Facebook’s complete dominance over the field of friendship based social networking creates an interesting opportunity for the study of organizational identity. Usually, when a firm comes to completely rule an industry, a few firms pick up the scraps and the rest just go under.

But there is another, less explored path. Losers can change their identity. Social networking is a great example. Friendster just gave up its original business model and is now marketed as a gaming web site. MySpace also abandoned its role as a serious player in social networking and reverted to its original goal of serving musicians that reach out to their fans.

Here’s some questions I would ask: 1. What % of loser firms change identity? 2. What conditions enable identity change in firms? 3. What conditions enable successful identity change, in the sense that the firm now accomplishes its goal because of its new identity? My hunch is that corporate culture is going to be a big factor. To pull this off, you’ll need  a group of people who can be managed in a way that they won’t bail on the org as it redefines, or have management that won’t just sell the firm for spare parts rather than find a new home for it. Please use the comments to prove/disprove the hypothesis.

Words for sale: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz

Written by fabiorojas

November 15, 2013 at 12:11 am

3 Responses

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  1. Not sure what this says about the hypotheses, but couldn’t Apple be another example? Switching from PCs to post-PC devices (phones, music playes, iPads, etc) as a result of Microsoft’s dominance in PC operating systems.



    November 15, 2013 at 7:15 pm

  2. Very true. We often forget that Apple lost a lot of ground in its first incarnation – great start, but beat by MS and all the Windows clones.



    November 15, 2013 at 7:20 pm

  3. an important lesson might be learnt from how the ACA contractors managed to salvage their identity through merger even though under-delivering consistently on past federal contracts.



    November 17, 2013 at 9:12 am

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