Before Identity: The Emergence of New Organizational Forms

C. Marlene Fiol and Elaine Romanelli
Organization Science, May/June 2012 vol. 23 no. 3 597-611

The evolution of new organizational forms has attracted growing theoretical and empirical attention, but little research has considered the microsocial processes that promote the emergence of groups of quasi-similar organizations that sometimes evolve into new organizational forms. Drawing from social psychological and sociological theories of identity formation, we explain processes of individual identification and collective identity development that precede and promote the formation of similar clusters, which audiences can then recognize and distinguish from established organizational populations and other emerging similarity clusters.