Publication Date


Document Type





Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Organizational Behavior and Theory

Publication Title

Strategic Organization


We investigate how collective identity formation processes interplay with collaboration practices in an inter-organizational partnership promoting regional innovation. We found that initial collaboration challenges are dealt with by setting up an early “swift identity” which is associated with material artifacts to increase its strength and stability (“swift identity reification”). However, as the partnership evolves, the reified identity becomes misaligned with partners’ underdeveloped collaboration practices. To ensure realignment, new attempts at reification are performed, as partners buy time for learning how to collaborate. Our findings contribute to extant identity research by proposing alternative (i.e. “swift” and “reified”) mechanisms of identity formation in contexts characterized by both heterogeneity challenges and integration imperatives. They also integrate the debate about the role of identity formation in the evolution of interorganizational partnerships. For both literatures, we highlight the important role of materiality.


collective identity, identity formation, interorganizational collaboration, materiality, strategic partnership


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edit version of an article published in Strategic Organization, Volume 18, Issue 1, 2019. The final authenticated version is available online at:

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