Purpose – Examining aspects of organizational identity, this paper revisits McLuhan's media theory in connection with W.R. Scott's insight that organizations themselves are the medium. The purpose of this paper is to consider the history of the Tokyo‐based urban developer/media organization Parco Co., Ltd, which emerged from a department store bankruptcy in 1969. Design/methodology/approach – Through exploring the process of how a bankrupted department store transformed into Parco, a harbinger of Japan's consumer culture, the identity of Parco is sought in connection to its marketing strategies and managerial discourses. Findings – Examining the identity of Parco provides two insights. First, there is a reflexive dynamism between an organizational identity and the organizational strategies. Parco exemplifies this concept as its strategies are defined and articulated by its organizational identity, which is in turn influenced by its organizational strategies. Second, Parco's organizational efficiency is found in its “organizational symbioticity”, a new construct which extends not only within but also beyond the firm. Practical implications – The Parco case provides an important lesson. The medium that acts as an entrepreneur on the cutting edge can also be the message. For a medium that is ubiquitous, the message is the content of the medium. This appears to be the reason why Parco continues to successfully redefine its identities and strategies. Originality/value – This paper uses the case study method to exemplify contemporary organizational identity and its marketing strategies. Furthermore, it demonstrates how an understanding of the social significance of the medium shapes consumer culture today.
Journal of Management History – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 12, 2010
Keywords: Corporate identity; Corporate strategy; Entrepreneurs; Business history; Japan
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