Same but Different: Meta-Organization and Collective Identity Dynamics

  • Eric Michael Laviolette Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, TBS Education, Toulouse Cedex, France
  • Sébastien Arcand Department of Management, HEC Montréal, Montréal, Canada
  • L. Martin Cloutier Department of Analytics, Operation, and Information Technologies, Écoles des Sciences de la Gestion, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
  • Laurent Renard Department of Analytics, Operation, and Information Technologies, Écoles des Sciences de la Gestion, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
Keywords: Collective identity, Meta-organization, Identity dynamics, Legitimacy, In-depth case study


This article analyzes how a meta-organization (M-O) can shape a coherent collective identity over time. Previous foundational work on identity formation in M-Os has provided fragmented but insightful ideas on several activities that this process entails. However, we currently lack a dynamic, integrative, and empirically supported model that demonstrates how these activities interrelate to shape a coherent collective identity over time. Using an in-depth case study of an association of cider producers in Québec (Canada) over a 23-year period, we develop a model of collective identity dynamics, in which an M-O plays an orchestrator role that is both dual and continuous. On the one hand, an M-O balances the internal identity claims of its organizational members through alignment and differentiation. On the other hand, an M-O builds an externally coherent identity by assembling and positioning legitimacy among institutional actors. Our paper provides new insights into activities performed by an M-O during identity creation by analyzing whether this process includes both organizational and institutional actors, thereby reinforcing the intermediary nature of an M-O. Furthermore, it contributes to the collective identity dynamics literature by elaborating the stabilizing role of a bounded organization in collective identity dynamics at the interorganizational level.


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How to Cite
Laviolette E. M., Arcand S., Cloutier L. M., & Renard L. (2022). Same but Different: Meta-Organization and Collective Identity Dynamics. M@n@gement, 25(2), 45–59.