Desperately seeking legitimacy: Organizational identity and emerging industries

Stewart R. Clegg*, Carl Rhodes, Martin Kornberger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Citations (Scopus)


In this article we examine the process of organizational identity formation in emerging industries. We argue that organizational identity is best understood in terms of the relationship between temporal difference (i.e. the performance of a stable identity over time) and spatial difference (i.e. by locating organizational identity in relation to other firms, both similar and different). It is the relationship between these two forms of difference that enables the construction of a legitimate sense of organizational identity. Our discussion is illustrated using empirical material from a study of the emerging industry of business coaching in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-513
Number of pages19
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • Business coaching
  • Emerging industries
  • Industry formation
  • Organizational identity


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