The Vlaams Belang: The Rhetoric of Organizational Identity


Moufahim M, Reedy P & Humphreys M (2015) The Vlaams Belang: The Rhetoric of Organizational Identity. Organization Studies, 36 (1), pp. 91-111.

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.

extreme right politics; organization identity; rhetoric; rhetorical strategies

Organization Studies: Volume 36, Issue 1

Publication date01/01/2015
Publication date online09/10/2014
PublisherSAGE Publications