Nested identities and identification in higher education institutions—the role of organizational and academic identities
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Academic staff hold multiple identities by relating to the organization and to their profession. Merging higher education institutions involves organizational changes which may impact identities of academic staff. This paper studies potential impacts on staff perceptions of their organizational and academic identities through a 2-year in-depth study of a merger between a large university and three university colleges in Norway. We find that academics have multiple nested identities and engage in identification at different levels. While they may identify with the new organization, they may simultaneously experience tensions and pressures on their academic identity, or they may have strong academic identity and low identification with the new organization. Moreover, space to develop local accommodations in the new organization and access to symbolic resources plays significant roles in the identification processes.