Identification in organizations: An examination of four fundamental questions

Blake Ashforth, Spencer H. Harrison, Kevin Corley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1694 Scopus citations


The literature on identification in organizations is surprisingly diverse and large. This article reviews the literature in terms of four fundamental questions. First, under "What is identification?," it outlines a continuum from narrow to broad formulations and differentiates situated identification from deep identification and organizational identification from organizational commitment. Second, in answer to "Why does identification matter?," it discusses individual and organizational outcomes as well as several links to mainstream organizational behavior topics. Third, regarding "How does identification occur?," it describes a process model that involves cycles of sensebreaking and sensegiving, enacting identity and sensemaking, and constructing identity narratives. Finally, under "One or many?," it discusses team, workgroup, and subunit; relational; occupational and career identifications; and how multiple identifications may conflict, converge, and combine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-374
Number of pages50
JournalJournal of Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Commitment
  • Identification
  • Identity
  • Narratives
  • Sensemaking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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