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Materiality and the Enduring Aspects of Organisational Identities

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Submitted to the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management ; This article contributes to the emerging body of work in organisational theory that seeks to include materiality in conceptualising processes of organizing (e.g. Law, 1994; Doolin, 2003; Czarniawska and Gustavsson, 2004; Dale, 2005). Using the four largest multinational oil companies’ green transition towards renewable energies as a case the article integrates material aspects into the theory on the narration of organisational identities. Following Czarniawska (1997) the concept of organisational identity is viewed as an evolving organisational narrative. Following Law (1994) this organisational narrative is then conceptualised as a socio-technical narrative. The article describes how oil related technologies and their accompanying symbolic meaning and technical oil related standards can be conceptualised as part of the enduring aspects in oil companies’ organisational identities. The article concludes to that end that both social and material aspects add to the endurance of organisational identities. Key words. Identity narration; materiality; greening of oil companies; climate change.

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Lise Becker

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