How can we make a living from who we are? Identity-strategy negotiations in creative professional service firms

Marina Bos-De Vos, Kristina Lauche, Leentje Volker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientific


How do organizational members handle tensions between identity and strategy in their strategizing processes? Identity-strategy struggles are particularly salient in creative professional service firms as these firms have to reconcile the often-competing value systems that they are based upon. Creative professionals continuously negotiate the values and beliefs of the different groups they belong to with their organizations’ professional and commercial goals. Yet, there has been little empirical research on their strategizing, possible inherent identity-strategy tensions and consequences for the organization. This research examines how identity work and strategy work of creative professionals are interrelated based on observational data from strategy sessions at 17 architectural firms. We found that practitioners continuously frame the arena of strategic options based on their professional identity, thereby strengthening organizational identity. The research contributes to the body of literature on strategy-as-practice by articulating how professional aspects of identity enable and constrain practitioners to shape and be shaped by their strategic actions and decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication33rd EGOS Colloquium, Copenhagen, Denmark (EGOS 2017)
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event33rd EGOS Colloquium: The Good Organization - Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 6 Jul 20178 Jul 2017


Conference33rd EGOS Colloquium


  • Architectural firms
  • identity work
  • strategy-as-practice
  • strategy work
  • value creation


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