Identity ambiguity and change in the wake of a corporate spin-off

Kevin G. Corley, Dennis A. Gioia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1434 Scopus citations


We report on the findings of an inductive, interpretive case study of organizational identity change in the spinoff of a Fortune 100 company's top-performing organizational unit into an independent organization. We examined the processes by which the labels and meanings associated with the organization's identity underwent changes during and after the spin-off, as well as how the organization responded to these changes. The emergent model of identity change revolved around a collective state of identity ambiguity, the details of which provide insight into processes whereby organizational identity change can occur. Additionally, our findings revealed previously unreported aspects of organizational change, including organization members' collective experience of "change overload" and the presence of temporal identity discrepancies in the emergence of the identity ambiguity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-208
Number of pages36
JournalAdministrative science quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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