Settle down or the struggle within? Exploring character and corporate responsibility in two financial enterprises

Timo Laurenzo Fiorito, Michel Ehrenhard, R.J. Hoff

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Based on in-depth, qualitative case studies of two Dutch financial enterprises, we explain how character develops as organizations adopt and diffuse corporate responsibility commitments within their boundaries. We found that commitments become articulated as a result of the organization’s problematic past, envisioned future, and as a result of pressure from internal subgroups. Because these commitments were made salient to managers, tensions became salient, leading to various forms of struggle. Three interrelated dynamics underlie this state of struggle, which we termed emerging dilemmas, experiencing identity ambiguity, and perceiving commitments as superficial. The enactment of three stabilizing practices, specifically, substantive integrative work, routinizing a collective conscience and leaders’ modelling behaviors, contributed to commitment affirmation or commitment violation, providing the opportunity for further anchoring these commitments in organizational character. As we build theory around these actions, we contribute to the scholarly understanding of how organizations may improve in embedding contradictory commitments within their boundaries and rejuvenate the study of organizations as distinct social actors through the concept of character.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event80th Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2020: Broadening Our Sight - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 7 Aug 202011 Aug 2020


Conference80th Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2020
Internet address


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