No longer second-class citizens: Redefining organizational identity as a response to digitalization in accounting shared services

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New technologies can become an identity-challenging threat for organizations. While there is a growing literature on how new technologies challenge fundamental questions of organizational existence such as 'who are we?', 'what do we do?', and 'what do we want to be?', this literature has largely overlooked how new technologies can become drivers of organizational identity change. In this article, we investigate the impact of digitalization, especially Robotic Process Automation, on organizational identity. Drawing on the analysis of shared service centers in Asia and Eastern Europe, we explored how these organizations respond to identity-challenging technologies. While traditionally, work in shared services has been characterized by a combination of standardization, controlling the labor process, and deskilling, we found in this study that shared service organizations are responding to the digital challenges by moving up the value chain to more complex, knowledge-intensive work. As a result, shared service organizations in our study began to redefine their organizational identity by, among others, professionalizing their workforce.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Professions and Organization
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)115-138
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 23.02.2022