Bring your lunch and join us for this brown bag session! This event is organized by the Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Strategic Management Area of Strategic Impact (ASI).
A favorable organizational reputation fuels stakeholder-firm identification, which has important benefits at both the organizational and individual level of analysis. However, recently scholars have begun to recognize a dark side of organizational identification, because identified stakeholders can perceive organizational change as a threat to the organization’s identity and their identification with the firm. To develop theory at the intersection of organizational identification and change, we conducted a historical media analysis of Anheuser-Busch (AB) – an iconic and prominent U.S. brewery. We coded a total of 3,114 media articles on AB that were published from 1946 to 2009. Our analysis reveals that AB stakeholders resisted organizational changes that were likely to hurt their organizational identification, and that AB regularly gave in to such resistance. Our findings contribute to the literature by introducing the identity handcuff, a two-step process model which demonstrates how identified stakeholders successfully inhibit organizational change. First, identified stakeholders oppose organizational identity threats that challenge their identification with the firm. Second, the organization regularly gives in to these stakeholder demands by reversing their decisions. We discuss implications of our findings for identification, reputation, and organizational change research.