In this paper, we present a longitudinal study of organizational responses to environmental changes that induce members to question aspects of their organization's identity. Our findings highlight the role of organizational culture as a source of cues supporting “sensemaking” action carried out by leaders as they reevaluate their conceptualization of their organization, and as a platform for “sensegiving” actions aimed at affecting internal perceptions. Building on evidence from our research, we develop a theoretical framework for understanding how the interplay of construed images and organizational culture shapes changes in institutional claims and shared understandings about the identity of an organization.

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