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The Soul of the Corporation

How to Manage the Identity of Your Company

Hamid Bouchikhi and John R Kimberly

“As Emerson said that an institution is the extended shadow of a person, Bouchikhi and Kimberly fluidly blend the personal and enterprise-wide perspectives of professional identity to yield both powerful insights and priceless practical tools. Most management books look at the decision maker or at the decision making context. This important book embraces both while eschewing the cliches of corporate culture guidebooks. Anchored in decades of research, compelling current business sagas, and familiar everyday challenges, The Soul of the Corporation uniquely conveys the inextricably intertwined nature of the symbolic and substantive roles of leadership.”

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean, Lester Crown Professor of Management, Yale School of Management, and coauthor of Firing Back: How Great Leaders Rebound from Career Disasters

“In a world of continuous flux and accelerating change, one’s sense of identity becomes more crucial than ever for companies, no less than individuals. In The Soul of the Corporation, Bouchikhi and Kimberly take us on a journey into the psychological world of corporate identity and explore the importance of companies knowing who they are, both in relation to their inner-workings and the outside world. This trailblazing book will prove invaluable to management in their quest to define the essence of their corporate identity.”

Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, author of The End of WorkThe Age of Access, and The Hydrogen Economy

“Identity is one of the most fundamental yet least understood determinants of organizational outcomes. Bouchikhi and Kimberly s book provides a fresh and provocative point of view of the determinants of organizational identity as well as research-based insights on how to shift identity over time. This book will be important to both scholars of organizational evolution as well as managers involved in leading change.”

Michael Tushman, Paul R. Lawrence Class of 1942 Professor of Business at the Harvard Business School

“A strong Identity is a major asset for a firm, as this book so convincingly illustrates. To manage the Identity (the I*Dimension) is perhaps the most critical top leadership function today. The authors show us how to do this a must read!”

Dr. Peter Lorange, IMD President, The Nestle Professor

Understand, Control, and Leverage Your Company’s #1 Asset: Its Unique Identity

We live in a new Age of Identity, in which your employees, customers, investors, and
other stakeholders care about who you really are. More than ever, your company’s identity will shape the results it can achieve. The Soul of the Corporation will help you clearly understand your company’s identity, and then take control of it and leverage it for long-term adaptation and success.

Drawing on real-life stories from the world’s most prominent companies, the authors show how identity can be an extraordinarily valuable asset and how, if not properly managed, it can become a huge liability. Discover how your firm s identity is related to and different from its organizational culture, brand positioning, and reputation. Learn how to diagnose and manage the often unconscious shared beliefs that constitute your company s soul how to face the enormous identity challenges that arise in mergers, alliances, spin-offs, and the creation of new brands and above all, how to lead and inspire in this new Age of Identity.

Master your company’s I*Dimension 

New tools for leveraging identity for competitive advantage 

Manage the tensions that shape your company’s identity

Convergent vs. divergent, internal vs. external, designed vs. emergent, sameness vs. uniqueness 

Overcome the dark, dysfunctional side of identity

Minimize narcissism, conflict, drift, and fragmentation 

Protect what s precious, change what needs to change

Managing identity through M&As, spin-offs, alliances, and unrelenting change

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About the Authors

Hamid Bouchikhi

Dr. Hamid Bouchikhi is a professor of management and entrepreneurship at ESSEC, a leading European business school based in France. He is interested primarily in the human side of organizations and draws heavily on the social sciences. A native of Morocco who has crossed many geographical and mental borders and collaborated with firms from many parts of the world, Dr. Bouchikhi has developed a sharp awareness of identity and its influence on the conduct of business. Dr. Bouchikhi’s current research topics are in organization theory, corpor ... More

John R Kimberly

Dr. John R. Kimberly is the Henry Bower Professor and Professor of Management, Health Care Systems, and Sociology at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Visiting Professor at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. He is also Executive Director of Wharton’s Global Alliance with INSEAD. Dr. Kimberly has served as organizational consultant in several organizations in the public and private sectors: the Directorate for Science, Technology, and Industry, and the Directorate for Scientific Affairs of the Organization for Economic ... More

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