Development of a structurational model of identification in the organization

Craig R. Scott, Steven Corman, George Cheney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

246 Scopus citations


In response to the growing interest in issues related to attachment in organizations, this paper develops a theory of identification in the workplace based on three key aspects of structuration theory. In this model, the identification process is treated as a duality involving identities that create and are created by identifications, which are themselves observed in social interactions with others. The structural component of this model is composed of several possible identities conceptualized primarily in terms of regions varying in size or position and tenure, possessing front and back regions, and displaying both unique and overlapping regions with one another. The existence of multiple identities implicates multiple corresponding "targets" of attachment and expressions of connection. Activity and activity foci are included in the model to help define the situation and thus account for identification with one target as opposed to or along with others at various times. In this situation-sensitive view, activity is presumed to "link" to a certain identity region (or set of overlapping regions) more so than to others. The essay closes by discussing some of the advantages of a structurational view of identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-336
Number of pages39
JournalCommunication Theory
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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