Corporate identity vs. corporate image in the eyes of professionals: an interview-based study

Słowa kluczowe

corporate identity
corporate image
corporate reputation
perception of corporate identity

Jak cytować

Wąsikiewicz-Firlej, E. (2019). Corporate identity vs. corporate image in the eyes of professionals: an interview-based study. Scripta Neophilologica Posnaniensia, (18), 109–125.


Contrary to subsequent studies focused on the construction of corporate identity, this article aims to examine the stakeholder’s perception of corporate identity projected to the public through language and visual manifestations on corporate “About us” pages. A qualitative, data-driven approach has been taken in the study. The results, based on data collected from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with twenty professionals, demonstrate the interviewees’ deep scepticism towards corporate narrations, which are interpreted as persuasive and serving corporate ends. Thus, online projections of corporate identities do always match actual images held by stakeholders. The interviewees have emerged as critical readers of corporate communications and active constructors of corporate image.


Abratt, R. 1989. “A new approach to the corporate image management process”. Journal of Marketing Management 5 (1). 63-76.

Alexander, R.J. 2009. Framing discourse on the environment. A critical discourse approach. London: Routledge.

Balmer, J.M.T. 1995. “Corporate branding and connoisseurship”. Journal of General Management 21 (1). 24-46.

Balmer, J.M.T. and S.A. Greyser. 2003. Revealing the corporation: perspectives on identity, image, reputation, corporate branding, and corporate-level marketing. London: Routledge.

Barnett, M.L., Jermier, J.M. and B.A. Lafferty. 2006. “Corporate reputation: the definitional landscape”. Corporate Reputation Review 9 (1). 26-38.

Beaugrande de, R. 1999. “Discourse studies and ideology: on ‘liberalism’ and ‘liberalisation’ in three large corpora of English”. Discourse Studies 1 (3). 259-295.

Bernstein, D. 1985. Company image and reality. A critique of corporate communications. Eastbourne: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Boardman, M. 2005. The language of websites. London: Routledge.

Boje, D. 1991. “The storytelling organization: a study of story performance in an office-supply firm”. Administrative Science Quarterly 36 (1). 106-126.

Breeze, R. 2013. Corporate discourse. London: Bloomsbury.

Brown, T.J., Dacin, P.A., Pratt, M.G. and D.A. Whetten. 2006. “Identity, intended image, construed image, and reputation: an interdisciplinary framework and suggested terminology”. Journal of Academy of Marketing Science 34 (2). 99-106.

Carroll, C.E. 2013. “Corporate reputation and the multiple disciplinary perspectives of communication”. In: Carroll, C.E. (ed.). The handbook of communication and corporate reputation. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. 1-10.

Casań-Pitarch, R. 2015. “The genre ‘about us’: a case study of banks’ corporate webpages”. International Journal of Language Studies 9 (2). 69-96.

Cheney, G., Christensen, L.T., Zorn, T.E. Jr. and S. Ganesh. 2004. Organizational communication in an age of globalisation. Issues, reflections, practices. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press.

Christensen, L.T. and G. Cheney. 2000. “Self-absorption and self-seduction in the corporate identity game”. In: Schultz, M., Hatch, M.J. and M.H. Larsen. (eds.). The expressive organization. Linking identity, reputation and the corporate brand. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 246-270.

Chun, R. 2005. “Corporate reputation: meaning and measurement”. International Journal of Management

Reviews 7 (2). 91-109.

Cornelissen, J. P. 2008. Corporate communication: a guide to theory and practice. London: Sage.

Cornelissen, J.P., Haslam, S.A. and J.M.T Balmer. 2007. “Social identity, organizational identity and corporate identity: Towards an integrated understanding of processes, patternings and products”. British Journal of Management 18. 1-16.

Dowling, G.R. 1993. “Managing your company image into a corporate asset”. Long Range Planning 26 (2). 101-109.

Fill, A. 1998. “Ecolinguistics – state of the art 1998”. Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik 23 (1). 3-16.

Fombrun, C. and V. Rindova. 2000. “The road to transparency: reputation management at Royal Dutch/Shell”. In: Schultz, M. and M.J. Hatch. (eds.). The expressive organization. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 97-112.

Fombrun, C.J. 1996. Reputation: realizing value from corporate image. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Garzone, G. and S. Sarangi. 2007. “Discourse, ideology and specialized communication: a critical integration”. In: Garzone, G. and S. Sarangi. (eds.). Discourse, ideology and specialized communication. Bern: Peter Lang. 9-36.

Gilpin, D. 2010. “Organizational image construction in a fragmented online media environment”. Journal of Public Relations Research 22 (3). 265-287.

Goodman, M. B. 1998. Corporate communications for executives. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Gotsi, M. and A.M. Wilson. 2001. “Corporate reputation: Seeking a definition”. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 6 (1). 24-30.

Gotti, M. 2003. Specialized discourse. Linguistic features and changing conventions. Bern: Peter Lang.

Gotti, M. 2008. Investigating specialized discourse. Bern: Peter Lang.

Gray, E. and J. Balmer. 1998. “Managing corporate image and corporate reputation”. Long Range Planning 31 (5). 695-702.

Gunnarson, B.L. 2009. Professional discourse. London/New York: Continuum.

Hatch, M.J. and M. Schultz. 2000. “Scaling the tower of Babel: Relational differences between identity, image and culture in organizations”. In: Schultz, M., Hatch, M.J. and M.H. Larsen. (eds.). The expressive organization: linking identity, reputations, and corporate brand. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 11-35.

Hatch, M.J. and M. Schultz. 2001. “Are the strategic stars aligned for your corporate brand?”. Harvard Business Review 79 (2). 128-135.

Hatch, M.J. and M. Schultz. 2002. “The dynamics of organizational identity”. Human Relations 55. 989-1018.

Heinze, N. and Q. Hu. 2006. “The evolution of corporate web presence: a longitudinal study of large American companies”. International Journal of Information Management 26 (4). 313-325.

Hodge, R. and G. Kress. 1993. Language as ideology (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.

Ind, N. 1990. The corporate image. London: Kogan Page.

Kong, K. 2014. Professional discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lam, C. 2009. “The essence of ‘About Us’ page with 12 captivating showcases”. Retrieved from: [Accessed 11 February, 2015].

Larsen, M.H. 2000. “Managing corporate story”. In: Schultz, M., Hatch, M.J. and M.H. Larsen. (eds.). The expressive organization. Linking identity, reputation and the corporate brand. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 196-207.

Lemke, J.L. 1995. Textual politics, discourse and social dynamics. London: Taylor and Francis.

Markwick, N. and Ch. Fill. 1997. “Towards a framework for managing corporate identity”. European Journal of Marketing 31 (5-6). 396-409.

Melewar, T.C. 2003. “Determinants of the corporate identity construct: a review of the literature”. Journal of Marketing Communications 9. 195-220.

Melewar, T.C., Karaosmanoglu, E. and D. Paterson. 2005. “Corporate identity: concept, components and contribution”. Journal of General Management 3 (1). 59-81.

Olins, W. 1989. Corporate identity: Making business strategy and Hudson.

Pollach, I. 2005. “Corporate self-presentation on the WWW: strategies for enhancing usability, credibility and utility”. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 10 (4). 285-301.

Shepherd, M. and C. Watters. 1998. “The evolution of cybergenres”. In: Sprague, R. (ed.). Proceedings from the XXXI Hawaii International Conference on System Science. Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society. 97-109.

Simoes, C., Dibb, S. and R.P. Fisk. 2005. “Managing corporate identity: an internal perspective”. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 33. 153-168.

Tan, M. 2013. Corporate governance and banking in China. London: Routledge.

van der Heijden, H. and T. Verhagen. 2004. “Online storage image: Conceptual foundations and empirical measurement”. Information and Management 41 (5). 609-617.

van Duyne, D.K., Landay, J.A. and J.I. Hong. 2007. The design of sites. Patterns for creating winning web sites (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

van Riel, C.B.M. and C.J. Fombrum. 2007. Essentials of corporate communications. New York, NY: Routledge.

Vos, M. and H. Schoemaker. 2006. Monitoring public perception of organizations. Amsterdam: Boom Onderwijs.

Wąsikiewicz-Firlej, E. 2017. On (de)constructing corporate identity: an ecolinguistic approach. Poznań: Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM.

Wilkins, S. and J. Huisman. 2014. “Corporate images’ impact on consumers’ product choices: The case of multinational foreign subsidiaries”. Journal of Business Research 67 (10). 2224-2230.

Winter, S.J., Saunders, C. and P. Hart. 2003. “Electronic window dressing: impression management with websites”. European Journal of Information Systems 12. 309-322.

Wood, E. 2004. “Corporate identity”. In: Theaker, A. (ed.). The public relations handbook. London/New York: Routledge. 95-114.

Wood, E. and I. Somerville. 2016. “Public relations and corporate identity”. In: Theaker, A. (ed.). The public relations handbook. London/New York: Routledge. 144-171.

Yus, F. 2011. Cyberpragmatics. Internet-mediated communication in context. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.