Narrating organisational identity: Staff positions in a fast-growing Danish airport

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Organisational identity may be understood as the result of communication processes, e.g. in the form of narratives and stories, that continuously intertwine and compete for the right to define the organisation (Boje, 1995; Humle & Frandsen, 2017). This understanding forms the background of the paper, which asks how the construction of organisational identity takes place in actual organisations. To answer this, the paper analyses the narrative struggles in a local Danish airport whose collective identity was challenged following organisational changes. Combining positioning theory (Davies & Harré, 1990, 1999) with close linguistic analysis, data from a staff focus group interview are analysed, showing that through stories and narratives, top-management and staff members construct several positions along a cline that, on the one hand, lead to struggles over the right to define the organisational master narrative and, on the other, make it possible to achieve consensus across organisational levels and divisions. Furthermore, the paper argues for analysing participants’ linguistic choices in detail to come closer to how participants do positioning work.


Boje, D. (1995). Stories of the storytelling organization: A postmodern analysis of Disney as “Tamara-land”. Academy of Management Journal, 38(4), 997-1035.
Davies, B., & Harré, R. (1990). Positioning: The discursive construction of selves. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 20(1), 43-63.
Davies, B., & Harré, R. (1999). Positioning and personhood. In R. Harré, & L. Van Langenhove (Eds.), Positioning theory (pp. 32-52). Wiley-Blackwell.
Humle, D. M., & Frandsen, S. (2017). Organizational identity negotiations through dominant and counter-narratives. In S. Frandsen, T. Kuhn, & M. W. Lundholt (Eds.), Counter-narratives and organization (pp. 105-128). Routledge.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventCADAAD2022 - Università degli Studi di Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy
Duration: 6 Jul 20228 Jul 2022


LocationUniversità degli Studi di Bergamo
Internet address

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