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The Vlaams Belang: the rhetoric of organizational identity

Moufahim, Mona; Reedy, Patrick; Humphreys, Michael


Mona Moufahim

Michael Humphreys


In this paper we combine work on rhetorical strategies with that of organizational identity theory. We highlight the relationship between organizational identity and the deployment of discursive resources at the societal level by organizations seeking to influence such identities. We analyse the way in which an extreme right political organization, the Vlaams Belang, has used rhetorical framing and strategies to construct a collective identity. This framing is aimed at persuading potential supporters of the organization to identify themselves with it. We argue that these frames derive their characteristic form and power from broader social and political processes that are given insufficient attention in published work on identity in organizations. We discuss the implications of our study for organizational theory, particularly the political and ethical questions raised by the use of potentially manipulative strategies. We conclude with a discussion of the ethical problems that arise when an organization’s managers attempt to direct identity formation by exploiting a persistent desire for stability and continuity in a world where it becomes ever more elusive.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2015-01
Journal Organization studies
Print ISSN 0170-8406
Electronic ISSN 1741-3044
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 1
Pages 91-111
Institution Citation Moufahim, M., Reedy, P., & Humphreys, M. (2015). The Vlaams Belang: the rhetoric of organizational identity. Organization Studies, 36(1), 91-111.
Keywords Extreme right politics, Organization identity, Rhetoric, Rhetorical strategies
Publisher URL
Additional Information Author's accepted manuscript of article published in: Organization studies, 2015, v.36, issue 1


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