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Identity dynamics in international collaborations

Zhang, Y. (2009) Identity dynamics in international collaborations. In: 25th European Group for Organizational Studies Conference, Sub-theme 40: Leveraging cultural dynamics: The roles of international assignments and intercultural competence, 2009-07-04.

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This paper empirically explores the dynamic process of discursive identity construction in international collaborations (ICs). Identity is examined microscopically at the individual and collective level, by examining the discursive practice of multinational management teams assigned to ICs by their parent organizations. Drawing on qualitative data collected in the study of three Sino-foreign business collaborations, a framework is proposed on individual and collective identity construction in international collaborative contexts. This framework complements social identity theory in that it provides a processual view, showing how the social categorization of self and selves is enacted and how this can, in turn, give rise to the formation of in-group and out-group differentiations. It highlights the concepts of thinking and action, in reflective and instinctive modes, which capture the process of individual and collective members' utilization of various linguistic and cultural resources. Furthermore, this framework shows how these patterns of utilization stabilize and/or destabilize the relationships between the identity characters of individuals dependent upon the particularities of different times and contexts.