Responding to identity threats by using defensive tactics: Understanding tension persistence through self-reinforcing processes
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
Ninth International Symposium on Process Organization Studies
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
Interactions between various subunits with contradicting goals and different collective identities within and across organizations can create tensions that hamper organizational effectiveness. In our study, we analyze how tensions persist over time despite of increasing goal congruence. In order to analyze this counterintuitive phenomenon we draw on longitudinal case study data of an IT tool development project that has been conducted by an Austrian public authority in cooperation with an external IT firm. Based on data analysis of 25 qualitative interviews and internal documents exploring the project over the course of 3 years, our findings highlight the double-edged role of defensive behavior as both protection against past threats as well as trigger of new threats. Hence, our findings connect research on organizational identity and defensive mechanisms by showing how expectations become continuously reinforced.