Corporate Reputation Review

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 101–119 | Cite as

Challenges for a Multiple Identity Organization: A Case Study of the Dutch Blood Supply Foundation

  • Robert HeckertEmail author
Original Article


An organization that gives several answers to the “who are you?” question is a multiple identity organization. When those identities are based on antithetic value systems, identification by organizational members may be complicated. In this case study the Dutch Blood Supply Foundation Sanquin serves as an example of a multiple identity organization. A mixed method approach is used to determine the multiplicity of organizational identity and thereby tries to enrich theory about identity and identification. Since identity is conceptualized as what organizational members find central, distinctive and enduring, the answer to the identity question is obtained by semi-structured interviews with employees and by a questionnaire. The Sanquin identities turn out to be the ones that are usually recognized in multi-identities: an ideological and a utilitarian identity. The multi-identity character of the organization hampers the identification of organizational members, but they still identify with the organization’s mission. The interview results provoke discussion about the enduring identity proposition. The utilitarian identity partly has displaced the ideological identity in a rather short period of time. Identity in a multiple identity is dynamic rather than enduring or continuous. Possible generalizations are discussed.


Multiple identity Identification Organizational change Identity change Value system 



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Copyright information

© Reputation Institute and Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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