The University Identity: Communication of Identity Themes

Tuba Bozaykut Bük(1*), Şirin Atakan- Duman(2), Ayşın Paşamehmetoğlu(3),

(1) Department of Management, School of Business and Management Sciences, Istanbul Medipol University, Turkey
(2) Department of Management, School of Business and Management Sciences, Istanbul Medipol University, Turkey
(3) Department of Management, School of Business and Management Sciences, Istanbul Medipol University, Turkey
(*) Corresponding Author


 Earlier research has brought organizational identity to the fore as an institutional response to the developments in higher education field. Following literature, this study aims to examine the organizational identity of universities through an analysis of themes communicated at their websites. The study findings reveal that participant universities communicate five common identity themes institutionalized by higher education field. Among these themes, social values presented to the society for belongingness and capacity for enriching main university functions are found out to be most communicated themes. The findings also show that each university communicates distinct themes that still fall under these five common themes. Therefore, the study presents that distinct themes symbolizing the uniqueness claim of the university identity emerge within the pre-determined theme categories in the field.


Organizational identity, University identity, Organizational communication, Websites , Content analysis

Full Text:



Albert, Stuart, and David A. Whetten. 1985. Organizational identity. Research in Organizational Behavior 7: 263-295.

Aldrich, Howard E., and C. Marlene Fiol. 1994. Fools rush in? The institutional context of industry creation. Academy of Management Review 19: 645-670.

Alvesson, Mats, and Laura Empson. 2008. The construction of organizational identity: comparative case studies of consulting firms. Scandinavian Journal of Management 24(1): 1-16.

Ashforth, Blake E., and Barrie W. Gibbs. 1990. The double-edge of organizational legitimation. Organization Science 1(2): 177-194.

Aurelia, T.S., 2017. Reflections on the possibility of using statistical analysis science and innovation in the republic of moldova. International Business and Accounting Research Journal, 1(1), pp.9-17.

Aust, Philip Jerold. 2004. Communicated values as indicators of organizational identity: a method for organizational assessment and its application in a case study. Communication Studies 55(4): 515-534.

Balmer, John MT, and Alan Wilson. 1998. Corporate identity: there is more to it than meets the eye. International Studies of Management and Organization 28(3): 12–31.

Berger, Peter, and Thomas Luckmann. 1966. The social construction of knowledge: a treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Soho: Open Road Media.

Bostdorff, Denise M., and Steven L. Vibbert. 1994. Values advocacy: Enhancing organizational images, deflecting public criticism, and grounding future arguments. Public Relations Review 20(2): 141-158.

Brickson, Shelley L. 2005. Organizational identity orientation: forging a link between organizational identity and organizations' relations with stakeholders. Administrative Science Quarterly 50(4): 576-609.

Brown, Andrew D., and Michael Humphreys. 2002. Nostalgia and the narrativization of identity: a Turkish case study. British Journal of Management 13: 141-159.

Clark, Burton R. 1972. The organizational saga in higher education. Administrative Science Quarterly 178-184.

Clark, Shawn M., Dennis A. Gioia, Dave J. Ketchen and J.B. Thomas. 2010. Transitional identity as a facilitator of organizational identity change during a merger. Administrative Science Quarterly 55(3): 397–438.

Clegg, Stewart R., Martin Kornberger, and Carl Rhodes. 2007. Desperately seeking legitimacy: organizational identity and emerging industries. Organization Studies 28(4): 495-513.

Coffey, Amanda, and Paul Atkinson. 1996. Making Sense of Qualitative Data: Complementary Research Strategies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Cornelissen, Joep P., S. Alexander Haslam, and John MT Balmer. 2007. Social identity, organizational identity and corporate identity: towards an integrated understanding of processes, patternings and products. British Journal of Management 18(1): 1-16.

Coupland, Christine, and Andrew D. Brown. 2004. Constructing organizational identities on the web: A case study of Royal Dutch/Shell. Journal Of Management Studies 41(8): 1325-1347.

Curtis, Tamilla, Russell Abratt, and William Minor. 2009. Corporate brand management in higher education: the case of ERAU. Journal of Product and Brand Management 18(6): 404-413.

Czarniawska, Barbara, and Rolf Wolff.1998. Constructing new identities in established organization fields. International Studies of Management and Organization 28: 32–56.

Dowling, John, and Jeffrey Pfeffer. 1975. Organizational legitimacy: Social values and organizational behaviour. Pacific Sociological Review 122-136.

Dutton, Jane E., and Janet M. Dukerich. 1991. Keeping an eye on the mirror: image and identity in organizational adaptation. Academy of Management Journal 34(3): 517–554.

Dutton, Jane E., Janet M. Dukerich, and Celia V. Harquail. 1994. Organizational images and member identification. Administrative Science Quarterly 239-263.

Esrock, Stuart L., and Greg B. Leichty. 2000. Organization of corporate web pages: publics and functions. Public Relations Review 26(3): 327-344.

Ettredge, Michael, Vernon J. Richardson, and Susan Scholz. 2001. The presentation of financial information at corporate Web sites. International Journal of Accounting Information Systems 2(3): 149-168.

Fiol, C. Marlene. 2002. Capitalizing on paradox: The role of language in transforming organizational identities. Organization Science 13(6): 653-666.

Gallego-Alvarez, Isabel, Luis Rodríguez-Domínguez, and Isabel-María García-Sánchez. 2011. Information disclosed online by Spanish universities: content and explanatory factors. Online Information Review 35(3): 360-385.

Gioia, Dennis A., and James B. Thomas. 1996. Identity image and issue interpretation: sense making during strategic change in academia. Administrative Science Quarterly 370-403.

Gioia, Dennis A., K.N. Price, Andrew L. Hamilton, and James B. Thomas. 2010. Forging an identity: An insider-outsider study of processes involved in the formation of organizational identity. Administrative Science Quarterly 55(1): 1-46.

Heath, Robert L., and Michael Ryan.1989. Public relations’ role in defining corporate social responsibility. Journal of Mass Media Ethics 4(1): 21-38.

Hedblom, Daniel, Brent R. Hickman, and John A. List. 2016. Toward an Understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility: Theory and Field Experimental Evidence, (accessed 28.12. 2016).

Huang-Horowitz, Nell C., and Karen Freberg. 2016. Bridging organizational identity and reputation messages online: a conceptual model. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 21(2): 195-212.

Humphreys, Michael, and Andrew D. Brown. 2002. Narratives of organizational identity and identification: a case study of hegemony and resistance. Organization Studies 23(3): 421–447.

Kiow, T.S., Salleh, M.F.M. and Kassim, A.A.B.M., 2017. The determinants of individual taxpayers’ tax compliance behaviour in peninsular malaysia. International Business and Accounting Research Journal, 1(1).

Kosmützky, Anna, and Georg Krücken. 2015. Sameness and difference. International Studies of Management and Organization 45(2): 137-149.

Krippendorf, Klaus. 2004. Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology. London: Sage.

Laredo, Philippe. 2007. Revisiting the third mission of universities: toward a renewed categorization of university activities?. Higher Education Policy 20(4): 441-456.

Lowrie, Anthony. (2007). Branding higher education: equivalence and difference in developing identity. Journal of Business Research 60: 990 – 999.

MacDonald, Ginger Phillips. 2013. Theorizing university identity development: multiple perspectives and common goals. Higher Education 65(2): 153-166.

Marshall, Catherine, and Gretchen B. Rossman. 1989. Designing Qualitative Research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Martin, Joanne, Martha S. Feldman, Mary J.Hatch, and Sim B. Sitkin. 1983. The uniqueness paradox in organizational stories. Administrative Science Quarterly 28(3):438-453.

McKenzie, Sierra, and Alyson E. King. 2016. A community college with ivory tower pretensions: Perceptions of a new university. The Canadian Journal of Higher Education 46(1): 156.

Mead, George Herbert. 1934. Mind, Self and Society. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Moufahim, Mona, Patrick Reedy, and Michael Humphreys. 2015. The Vlaams Belang : the rhetoric of organizational identity. Organization Studies 36 (1): 91-111.

Nag, Rajiv, Kevin G. Corley, and Dennis A. Gioia. 2007. The intersection of organizational identity, knowledge, and practice: Attempting strategic change via knowledge grafting. Academy of Management Journal 50(4): 821–847.

Natalia, P. and Aurelia, T.S., 2017. The Main Directions of The Scientific Reform in Republic of Moldova. International Business and Accounting Research Journal, 1(1), pp.44-54.

O’Kane, Conor, Vincent Mangematin, W. Geoghegan, and Ciara Fitzgerald. 2015. University technology transfer offices: the search for identity to build legitimacy. Research Policy 44(2): 421-437.

Ponte, Enrique Bonsón, Tomás Escobar Rodríguez, and Francisco Flores Muñoz. 2008. Navigation quality as a key value for the webpage of a financial entity. Online Information Review 32(5): 623-34.

Postmes, Tom. 2003. ‘A social identity approach to communication in organizations’. In Haslam, S.A., Van Knippenberg, D., Platow, M.J., Ellemers N. (Eds.), Social Identity at Work: Developing Theory for Organizational Practice Philadelphia, PA:Psychology Press, 81-98.

Ravasi, Davide, and Majken Schultz. 2006. Responding to organizational identity threats: exploring the role of organizational culture. Academy of Management Journal 49(3): 433–458.

Rhodes, Carl, and Andrew D. Brown. 2005. Narrative, organizations and research. International Journal of Management Reviews 7(3): 167-188.

Schultz, Majken, Mary J. Hatch, and M.H. Larsen. 2000. The Expressive Organization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Scott, Craig R. 2007. Communication and social identity theory: existing and potential connections in organizational identification research. Communication Studies 58(2):123-138.

Sillince, John AA, and Andrew D. Brown. 2009. Multiple organizational identities and legitimacy: the rhetoric of police websites. Human Relations 62(12):1829-1856.

Simoes, Claudia, Jaywant Singh, and Marcelo G. Perin. 2015. Corporate brand expressions in business-to-business companies' websites: evidence from Brazil and India. Industrial Marketing Management 51: 59-68.

Söylemez, A.O., 2017. Volatılıty Spıllovers from The Internatıonal Capıtal Inflows to Economıc Growth in Turkey. International Business and Accounting Research Journal, 1(1), pp.18-25.

Steiner, Lars, Agneta C. Sundström, and Kaisu Sammalisto. 2013. An analytical model for university identity and reputation strategy work. Higher Education 65(4): 401-415.

Stensaker, Bjørn, and Jorunn Dahl Norgård. 2001. Innovation and isomorphism: a case-study of university identity struggle 1969–1999. Higher Education. 42(4), 473-492.

Stensaker, Bjørn. 2015. Organizational identity as a concept for understanding university dynamics. Higher Education 69(1): 103-115.

Stone, Philip J., Dexter C. Dunphy, and Marshall S. Smith and D.M. Ogilvie. 1966. The general inquirer: a computer approach to content analysis. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Suchman, Mark C. 1995. Managing legitimacy: strategic and institutional approaches. Academy of Management Review 20:571-610.

Sundaramurthy, Chamu, and Glen E. Kreiner. 2008. Governing by managing identity boundaries: the case of family businesses. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. 32(3): 415-436.

Välimaa, Jussi. 1998. Culture and identity in higher education research. Higher Education 36(2): 119-138.

Van den Bosch, Annette LM, Menno DT De Jong, and Wim JL Elving. 2005. How corporate visual identity supports reputation. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 10(2): 108–116.

Van Rekom, Johan. 1997. Deriving an operational measure of corporate identity. European Journal of Marketing 31(5/6): 410-422.

Van Riel, Cees Bm and John M. Balmer 1997. Corporate identity: the concept, its measurement and management. European Journal of Marketing 31(5/6): 340-355.

Whetten, David A., and Alison Mackey. 2002. A social actor conception of organizational identity and its implications for the study of organizational reputation. Business and Society 41(4): 393-414.

Yüksel, S., 2017. The impacts of research and development expenses on export and economic growth. International Business and Accounting Research Journal, 1(1), pp.1-8.

Article Metrics

Abstract : 482 times
PDF : 257 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.