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ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE COMMUNICATION, IDENTITY, IMAGE, AND
CULTURE: THE CASE OF CARE INTERNATIONAL
FAITH SOPHIE AMON
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS INT MASS COMMUNICATION
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Faith Sophie Amon
This document is dedicated to William (Randy) Baten who is with me always and
encourages me still.
I would like to acknowledge the University of Florida' s World Citizenship
Program, which provided me with the grant from which this study evolved. I would like
to also acknowledge Cooperative Assi stance for Relief Everywhere (CARE)
International; without their generous cooperation this study would not have been
possible. I gratefully acknowledge the kind assistance of Barbara Jackson, the director of
CARE International in Honduras, and the members of the country office staff. My
experience there taught me much more than is found in these pages. CARE International
USA, in Atlanta, graciously opened its doors to me for interviews, endured my presence
wandering the office halls and graciously answered my questions despite their busy
schedules. I would like to especially thank Jody Oldham, who fielded my calls when I
tried to narrow my interview sample, and each of the participants who willingly and
unselfishly gave of their time and knowledge to support my study.
I would like to thank my advisory committee (Dr. Juan Carlos Molleda, Dr.
Marilyn Roberts and Dr. Michael Leslie), whose guidance and support throughout this
proj ect was indispensable. Dr. Juan Carlos Molleda, who served as my chair, guided me
patiently throughout the data collecting and writing stages of this thesis. I thank him for
his time, and his unwavering confidence in me.
I would like to thank the department of publications in the University's Office of
News & Public Affairs (NAPA). As my co-workers and friends I thank everyone at
NAPA for encouraging me and allowing me to adapt my schedule when necessary. The
office and the people in it served as a refuge and an inspiration when I needed it most,
particularly when supplemented with chocolate cake.
I would like to thank Christopher Hardin for his love and encouragement
throughout all of my studies. I also thank my friends who assured, commiserated, and
encouraged always at the perfect moments.
Finally, no graduate student could survive without the unwavering support of her
family. I am grateful to my parents, Linda and Max Amon, for their love and support.
They have given me more than I could ever acknowledge; they taught me to be myself,
and most importantly to believe in who I am.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. .................... iv
AB STRAC T ................ .............. ix
1 ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE COMMUNICATION: THE CASE OF CARE
INTERNATIONAL ................. ...............1.................
Marketing the Nonprofit Sector............... ...............4.
Organizational Identity and Branding .............. ...............6.....
Organizational Communication and Change ................. ............. ......... .......7
Back ground ................. ...............9.......... ......
Theoretical Foundations .............. ...............10....
Structure of Thesis ........._.___..... .___ ...............12....
2 ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE COMMUNICATION............._ .........._ .....14
Introducti on ....__ .................. ...............14.......
Organizations Defined .........._._ ........... ...............14....
Change and Organizations ................. ...............16....... ......
Types of Change ....__ ................. .........._.........1
Revolutionary Change ....__ ................. .......__ .......... 2
Evolutionary Change ................. ...............20....... ......
Resistance to Change .........._.... .. .......... ...............21....
Communication and Organizational Change................ .... .............2
Incorporating Communication in Identity and Image Formation............... ...............25
Organizational Identity .............. ...............27....
Organizational Identification ....__ ................. .......__ .......... 3
Organizational Image............... ...............32.
Organizational Culture............... ...............33
Branding .............. ...............35....
Conclusion ................. ...............38....... ......
3 METHODOLOGY .............. ...............39....
Case Study Methodology............... ..............3
Research Questions............... ...............4
Methods ................ .... ...............42
Participant Observation .............. ...............43....
Interview s .............. ...............45....
The Research Site ................... ...............48..
CARE Intemnational USA ........._._. ....___. ...............48...
CARE Intemnational in Honduras .............. ...............50....
Lim stations ........._... ...... ..... ...............52....
4 FINDINGS ........._... ...... ..... ...............54....
Overview of CARE International's Branding Change ........._... ..... .._._._..........54
The New Brandmark. ........._...... .......... ..... .. .. .._.._.._ ....... .......5
Preliminary Data: Summary of CARE' s Internal and External Materials ........._.......56
Participant Observation Data ............ .....___ ...............57...
The Initial Stages ............ ..... .._ ...............57...
The Socialization Stage .............. .. ...............61...
The Brand Implementation in Honduras .............. ...............64....
Technical Issues............... ........ ..............6
Overview of the Logo Launch Event .........__ ....... ___ ... ....__.........6
Planning Stages of the Logo Launch Event. ................ ............ ........ .........66
Structured, In-depth Interview Data ...._.._.._ ..... .._._. ...._.._...........6
Overview of the CARE Image ........._.._.... ... ..._..._ ......._ ...........6
Overview of CARE International USA Positioning Assessment............._.._.. .....70
The New CARE Brandmark and Tagline............... ...............73
Environmental Influences and Themes .............. ...............75....
Key Actions/ Intemnal Challenges............... ...............7
5 INTERPRETATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS .............. ...............81....
Introducti on ................. .. ............ .. .... ...............8 1....
Organizational Identity and Identification............... .............8
Organizational Image and Branding ................. ...............85................
Organizational Culture................ ..... .. ...............8
Organizational Change In CARE International ................. ................ ......... .88
Observations of Brand Implementation and Technical Issues ................. ................90
Implications and Further Research ................ ...............92................
Conclusion ................ ...............93.................
A CARE INTERNATIONAL'S CURRENT LOGO WITH TAGLINE .......................95
B CARE INTERNATIONAL IN HONDURAS BROCHURE .............. ...................96
C EXAMPLES OF CARE INTERNATIONAL' S PREVIOUS LOGO USAGE.........98
D CARE INTERNATIONAL' S VISION AND MISSION STATEMENTS ................99
CARE International Vision Statement ................. ...............99................
CARE International Mission Statement .............. ...............99....
LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............100................
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................. ...............106......... ......
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE COMMUNICATION, IDENTITY, IMAGE, AND
CULTURE: THE CASE OF CARE INTERNATIONAL
Faith Sophie Amon
Chair: Juan Carlos Molleda
Maj or Department: Joumnalism and Communications
The Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) Intemnational, one
of the world' s largest private voluntary organizations (PVOs), recently set about
changing its global brand. Management executives within the organization reacted to
their changing environment and fundraising challenges with a focus on the organization's
corporate identity and image perception by both internal and external publics. The
process led the organization into an exploration of various aspects of organizational
change communication; internal and external public relations; organizational
relationships to image, identity, and identification; and considerations regarding CARE
International's organizational culture.
Organizational literature has, for some time, investigated the intricacies of change
implementation in organizations. In the case of CARE International, understanding the
successes and the challenges of undertaking a global branding change incorporates
insight from organizational studies as well as current management and business literature.
Research suggests that the communication of change interplays with several social
constructs within an organization's structure.
The implications of the present study offer to reevaluate the understanding of
branding of nonprofits as well as to analyze the communications strategy during times of
change. The findings and conclusions from this study serve both CARE as an
organization in an evaluation of the process and the nonprofit community at large as a
reorientation toward branding and organizational change strategies. Further, the study
attempts to extend organizational change, organizational identity and branding theories
into beneficial and applied terminology for the nonprofit sector.
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE COMMUNICATION: THE CASE OF CARE
Throughout the nonprofit sector, private voluntary organizations (PVOs) and non-
governmental organizations (NGOs) are primary actors serving in healthcare, shelter,
schooling, food, disaster relief, agriculture, development, and more. Over the last 60
years the nonprofit sector has increased from a little more than 12,000 organizations in
1940 to over 1.5 million organizations today (Boris, cited in Frumkin & Kim, 2001). In
1997, it was estimated that nonprofits employed more than 6 percent of the workforce in
the United States alone, over 6 million people (Mirvis & Hackett, 1983). That number
has grown steadily and on a global level it is now suggested that nearly 39.5 million
people worldwide hold full time employment in the nonprofit sector (OECD, 2003). Due
to the types of community interventions which characterize these organizations and the
inclusion of volunteer workers, the number of people whose lives are affected by the
work of these organizations in the United States and abroad almost certainly run into the
tens of millions (Mirvis & Hackett, 1983).
The economic situation of most nonprofits, on the other hand, does not show such
an impressive growth rate. Recent evidence has shown that the sector overall has not
SAccording to the IRS website (nonprofit, n.d, www.irs.gov.) there is no legal differentiation between the
terms not-for-profit, nonprofit and non-profit, although the literature uses all these terms interchangeably.
For the purposes of this paper the author will remain consistent with current literature using the term
SNonprofit sector refers broadly to "a sector between state and market, fulfilling both economic and social
missions, which pursues a general interest and whose final objective is not the redistribution of profit"
(Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development [OECD], 2003).
grown in the last 10 years in terms of funds raised or quantity of volunteers (Drucker,
1989; Schlegemilch, Love, & Diamantopoulos, 1997). The reasons for this stagnation is
several fold, as Chetkovich and Frumkin summarize: "Competition in the nonprofit world
has intensified in recent years due to increasing numbers of agencies seeking support,
shifting government funding, and the presence of for-profit organizations in the human
services" (2003, p. 564). Nonprofit organizations currently find themselves teetering
between margin and mission (Chetkovich & Frumkin, 2003). The recognition of the need
to become less reliant on government and other traditional charity sources and the need to
fulfill their missions as organizations have led nonprofits toward a reassessment of their
positions in the market (Froelich, 1999). "In order to meet these diverse expectations,
nonprofits currently struggle to nourish themselves in the marketplace without becoming
disenfranchised by behaving in ways indistinguishable from ordinary commerce"
(OCED, 2003, p. 63).
William Ryan (1999) relates the current state of the nonprofit sector this way:
"nonprofits are now forced to reexamine their reasons for existing in light of a market
that rewards discipline and performance and emphasizes organizational capacity rather
than for-profit or nonprofit status and mission" (p. 128). Nonprofit organizations are
faced with the necessity of changing their organizational conceptualizations, their
identification as organizations and even their roles as service agencies due to changing
economic and social environments. What is the significance of such organizational
changes in the nonprofit sector? What aspects of the nonprofit organizational model are
affected by these environmental changes? To begin to address these questions, one area
where significant conceptual changes are occurring in nonprofit organizations lies in the
fields of public relations, communication, and marketing.3
The Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) Intemnational, one
of the world' s largest PVOs, has met the challenges of this presumed organizational re-
identification head on. Management executives within the organization reacted to their
changing environment and fundraising challenges with a focus on the organization's
corporate identity and image perception by both internal and external publics. This focus
brought the organization to consider aspects of organizational change, internal and
external public relations, relationships to image and identity, and considerations
regarding CARE International's organizational culture. In 1991, Gallagher and Weinberg
noted that nonprofit organizations have only recently shifted their outlook concerning
areas of external relations, generally referred to as marketing. "As little as ten years ago"
they state, "nonprofit organizations regarded marketing with suspicion- no more. They
have now embraced marketing because it provides them with tangible benefits" (p. 27).
Attitudes toward marketing in the nonprofit sector may have begun to shift;
however, the complexities of the sector' s constituents belie the opportunity to accept
standard business practices or for-profit models as appropriate adaptations (Froelich,
1999). Frumkin and Kim (2001) note, "beyond the need to build legitimacy and donor
confidence, which may underlie the new bottom-line movement in the nonprofit sector,
there has been much talk about the growing sophistication of philanthropy as evidenced
in the expectation of donors that their contributions be well spent" (p. 267). Nonprofits
have never had such a need for strategic management in public relations and marketing
3 Public relations, communication and marketing are terms, which characteristically and for the purpose of
this study, all relate to an organization' s means of interactions with its various constituents.
components as well as clear communication of organizational changes on all levels of the
organization. Grunig, Grunig and Dozier (2002) purport that the value of public relations
and marketing in effective organizations is contingent upon the pursuit of good
relationships with internal and external publics, which may limit the ability of reaching
The purpose of this study is to explore the correlations between communication and
successful change in organizations, through examining CARE Intemnational's identity
change. This research differs from current literature in that the case study of CARE
International's identity change synthesizes current theoretical discourse in effective
organizational change as well as recent identity, image, culture and branding literature.
Whereas many organizations recognize issues of identity and image during the process of
change in another area of the organization, CARE set out to transform the PVO's
marketing/fundraising strategy and in tumn its identity and image, rather than these
aspects resonating during the process of change in other areas of the organization.
Marketing the Nonprofit Sector
Today, nonprofit organizations, particularly those working on a global level, are
becoming aware of the increasing need to position themselves within a broader
competitive market. Beyond marketing, nonprofit organizations have begun to monitor
commercial sector trends in communication, public relations, competitive positioning,
and management strategies. A growing number of nonprofit organizations have observed
some success in their adoptive marketing practices proving the power behind their
services (Gallagher & Weinberg, 1991). Yet, it is the international, corporate sector,
particularly transnational corporations (TNCs), that seem to dominate the academic
discourse regarding international management, public relations, and communications.
TNCs have long held prominence in communication strategies and effective global
influence. As Morley (2002) states:
At the corporate level we see public relations in action communicating corporate
messages to the worldwide financial markets, shaping corporate images, telling
"our side of the story" in times of crisis, and playing a key role in developing new
identities and positioning for companies formed in the wake of mergers,
acquisitions and takeovers. (p. xi)
These positions of global influence, however, are not limited to the business sector.
Global nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and PVOs have historically held space at the table
of international communication and development. Their presence is continually reflected
through international proj ects and programming and their undeniable influence with
contacts in governments and for-profit sectors worldwide (Chetkovich & Frumkin, 2003).
Today, international aid organizations find themselves reassessing their positions as
competition for international aid funding and top-of-mind presence in the minds of
donors becomes increasingly arduous. "The stage seems to be set for a new model of
philanthropic investing one combining business and values, investment and
philanthropy" (Williams, 2003, p. 111). International NGOs and PVOs face many of the
same transnational issues and interact with a similar array of companies, governments,
and industries as for-profit businesses working in the global market (Gallagher &
Weinberg, 1991). These international nonprofit organizations negotiate between publics,
collaborate with a variety of funding organizations and navigate multiple identities (i.e.,
mission based goals and financial sustainability through grants and donations) all of
which increase in complexity when spanning the globe (Ryan, 1999). The intensity of the
global marketplace has demanded evolutionary changes in the nonprofit sector, namely
the inclusion of business-like tactics in the competitive nature of fund procurement and
investment. In the United States, as the government increases the outsourcing of public
services, many for-profit companies are taking on traditionally nonprofit roles, such as
the management of public schools and hospitals and the distribution of welfare programs
(Ryan, 1999). Nonprofit organizations thus find themselves in competition with the for-
profit sector for services they traditionally provided without contest.
Organizational Identity and Branding
In all sectors, issues of top-of-mind recognition, awareness and comprehension of
products, and organizational identity quickly come to the forefront of any plan for
success in the global marketplace. Organizational identity is abundantly addressed in
organizational literature, most frequently aligning the term identity with culture within an
organization (Whetten & Godfrey, 1998). Or even more simply put the way that the
members of an organization perceive itself (Gioia & Thomas, 1996; Dukerich, Golden &
Shortell, 2002). It is in the combination of elements that organizational identity holds
new, more prominent significance. Identity, culture, and brand significance are currently
dominating organizational management literature. "Branding is reaching 'break though'
as a transformational strategic process" (Gossen & Gresham, 2002 p. 2). Literature on all
levels of organizational studies is pointing to branding as the panacea of marketing
differentiation. Nonprofits too have found that with the rapid rise in the number of
nonprofits seeking a piece of the limited charitable pie they must build upon their
relationships, stabilize and promote their brands (Frumkin & Kim, 2001). Indeed,
nonprofits are among the world's most well known brands; governments, universities,
and humanitarian agencies are weaved within a social structure in our global culture
Organizational Communication and Change
Nonprofit organizations are now addressing these specific attributes in the
reassessment of the needs of their organizations and the impacts on their beneficiaries.
This reassessment of needs points to a conceptualization of organizations as evolutionary
and intrinsically malleable, a conceptualization which inherently incorporates the need
for incremental, or sometimes revolutionary change. Effective organizational
management, therefore, includes a propensity for making changes in areas from product
design or production, organizational structure, job descriptions and role transition,
identity, culture, and information processes, among many others (Kanter, 1991). Yet,
management decisions to change and the resulting process of dissemination or
implementation are different courses of action. A change in one area of an organization
inevitability affects the stability of another area (Schein, 1985). As paraphrased from
Tourish and Hargie (1998), sound internal communications are paramount to the overall
efficiency and effectiveness of an organization. Such a statement becomes even more
salient in the case of an organization facing change. Organizational communication
strategies are further promoted in Grunigs' and Dozier' s recent book where through
interviews and surveys of a variety of organizations, they concluded that internal
symmetrical communications programs are crucial throughout the process of
organizational changes (Grunig et al, 2002).
Organizational change literature seldom addresses the nonprofit community;
however, valuable research about change communication is immediately applicable to
almost all organizations. This is obvious in the case of CARE International. After almost
60 years of global development work, addressing areas of humanitarian aid, disaster
relief, and education, among others, the PVO recognized the need for a clear definition of
their position in the global marketplace. Reviewing CARE Intemnational's recent change
in organizational conceptualization, identity, and work philosophy offers an opportunity
to reflect on the complexities of change communication in a transnational, nonprofit
organization and its congruencies to similar practice in the international business sector.
In this thesis, I examine the internal communication process in attempting an
organizational change, specifically in the case of identity change. It is an exploratory
study, reviewing current organizational change literature, expanding on the concepts of
organizational identity and branding, and examining CARE International's experience in
the process of global identity change. Three primary goals guide this research:
* To identify and describe organizational change in relation to organizational identity
* To explore the nuances of organizational identity and its correlations to image,
culture and branding through current literature;
* To develop a case study of CARE Intemnational and specifically its global identity
change as a constructive exercise focused on its communication processes.
This study attempts to sketch the process of change in CARE International by using
available corporate research and needs assessment conducted by the agency before the
global launch of its new corporate identity. Additionally, the review of documents,
participant observation information, and interview data are used to describe the
implementation of the change process, specifically internally in the country office of
Honduras. The data and personal experience of the research with the case has been
possible through a generous grant form the Coca Cola Foundation and the University of
Florida, which provided the researcher with an opportunity to participate and observe the
Honduran office during the initial steps in implementation of the organization' s new
global identity change. The study is supplemented with data collection in the form of
interviews from the organization's headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, which spearheaded
June of 2003 marked one year since the implementation of CARE (Cooperative
Agency for Relief Everywhere) International's new logo global launch. CARE, one of the
world's largest PVOs, spent 3 years developing a new, refreshed look to carry the
organization into the new millennium. Originally, the acronym: CARE represented
(Cooperative Agency for Remittances to Europe). Founded in 1945, CARE built a
reputation for delivering needed CARE packages@ (medical supplies and food stuffs)
from the United States to war-ravished Europe. CARE has since become generally
identified with its humanitarian activities, agroforestry projects, education and health
programs, as well as community organization-building in many of the poorest regions
across the globe. Today, CARE USA, with its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, is a part
of CARE Intemnational, a confederation of eleven CARE organizationS4 WOrking in 72
The process of re-branding led the organization though a j ourney of exploration in
its identity both internally and externally by various publics as well as a reorientation to
the nature of their "business" of international development work. The implications of this
transition are embodied in the internal publics of CARE who express the vision and
personify the mission of the organization. Thus, the study of CARE' s successes and
4 CARE International is an confederation of CARE organizations in 1 1 member countries:
Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Holland, Japan, Norway, and
the United States of America. The confederation is coordinated though a general secretary in
Brussels. Thailand and Brazil are under current proposal to be added to the alliance of member
complexities in such a substantial organizational change reveal lessons for any
organization attempting an identity change.
Throughout the process and still today CARE International has worked closely with
McCann Erickson, an international advertising agency based in New York. McCann
Erickson New York, its affiliated international offices and its partner organization:
FutureBrand, donated services in CARE's initial "brand inventory" research (assessing
CARE' s current positioning in the minds of donors), the design of a new logo, tagline,
creative products and in various aspects of the campaign to launch the new image. The
decision to develop a new logo, slogan, colors, and organizational communications
strategy is reflective of the organization' s fundamental change in understanding
international development work itself and is somewhat telling of the current shift of many
humanitarian organizations away from direct aid toward a new role as facilitators in
international development work.
CARE International's complex organizational structure as well as the
organization's relationship with its identity became prominent considerations when
addressing the need for change and its implementation process throughout the
Organizational studies have foundational understanding in two different but
intersecting theoretical domains, open systems theory; stemming from the field of
biological sciences, and organizational psychology; based in the field of management
(Burke, 2002; Schein, 1985). "The standard literature for organization theory based in
part on sociology and related disciplines emphasizes stabilization and not organization
change" (Burke, 2002, p. 43). Reflective of this perspective, organizational change theory
draws mainly from the theory of open systems. The conceptualization of open systems is
where the relationship between the organization and its environment can be examined
(Beer, 1980). "Following a definition of the environment and their strategy in it,
managers can specify the demands of the environment and its implications for the kind of
human outputs, people, structures, culture, organizational processes and behavior
required" (Beer, 1980, p. 101). Initially a biological term, systems theory and open
systems theories when applied to social systems find inconsistencies and many
researchers adopt, expand and critique the use of the term in social research arguing that
biological systems differ significantly from social systems (Brown, 1980; Burke, 2002).
Yet, social researchers have explored the complexities of the social system through
political systems, organizational systems, cultural systems, and environmental systems,
all with relation to behavior and social phenomena. Socially and scientifically, it is
recognized that the system of an organization is vulnerable to change. It was noted by
Schein (1996) that the field of organizational psychology is moving toward an integrated
view drawing from psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Organizational science
thus, has identified change as an inherent component of organizational survival (Shein,
1996; Hannan & Freeman, 1984). "Organizations are in continuous change, whether from
the subtle processes of environmental infusion, or by the intentional design of the
powerful within the organization or by the collective will of organizational participants
whose destiny is linked in some basic way to the changes" (Cummings, 1980, p. 6).
Identity as a element of change has recently been cited in organizational literature
in the areas of culture (an organization's identity in relation to its organizational culture )
5 For extensive discussion on organizational culture see Martin. J. (2002)
(Schein, 1996; Eisenberg & Riley, 2001; Martin, 2002), and on the level of external
marketing (the communication of an organization as an entity to its external publics)
(Cheney & Christensen, 2001; Dutton & Dukerich, 1991).
The compelling aspect of CARE International's6 Story is that the change was both
physical and conceptual, addressing internal publics and expectant of reactions from
external publics, and therefore the process of communication and understanding was
fundamentally complex. This study reflects the issues of management structure,
communications strategies, and change implementation by examining this recent case.
Currently, organizational change and organizational development research are
overwhelmingly quantitative studies (Schein, 1996). Few qualitative studies exist in the
field relating organizational change theories to specific qualitative data. CARE
International's complex organizational structure proved a quantitative analysis beyond
the scope of this study; however, due to the lack of similar qualitative information, this
case study offers a significant addition to the current theoretical discourse.
Structure of Thesis
This document will reflect upon the communication processes inherent in identity
change and discuss the relevant literature. The first part of this study reviews current
literature defining organizations, the significance of organizational change, and the
communication of change within organizations. A second section, within the second
chapter outlines some of the contemporary perceptions and reflections of organizational
identity in relation to image, culture, and recent branding philosophies. The third section
6 CARE Intemnational is interchangeably referred to as CARE or CARE Intemnational throughout this
document. The abbreviated version of CARE still refers to the Intemnational confederation of CARE
International. When addressing a specific country office the country is noted.
describes the present study and the methodologies employed. The findings based on the
researcher' s data collection are presented in Chapter Four. The final chapter offers an
analysis of the observations and interview data and a discussion toward the implications
for further research or exploration as well as a review of the lessons learned from the case
of CARE International.
The implications of this study offer to reevaluate the understanding of branding of
nonprofits as well as to analyze the communications strategy during times of change. The
ultimate aim of the thesis is to serve both CARE as an organization and the nonprofit
community at large as a reorientation toward branding and organizational change
strategies. Further, the study attempts to extend organizational change, organizational
identity and branding theories into beneficial and applied terminology for the nonprofit
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE COMMUNICATION
Changing something implies not just learning something new, but unlearning
something that is already there and possibly in the way. (Schein, 1980 p. 116)
As a general introduction to organizations and organizational behavior it is useful
to review the literature that discusses organizations themselves, how they are defined and
how those definitions affect the way that organizations function and approach change.
Also, relevant to the understanding of how organizational change conceptualizations
cross the divide between the nonprofit and for profit sectors, this chapter is constructed to
formulate the underpinnings of organizational change and the explore some of the social
constructs which affect change across sectors. This chapter will follow the theoretical
foundations from defining organizations to descriptions of organizational change and
then the implications of organizational identity, image and culture on the communication
As described in the previous chapter, conceptualizations of organizations have, by
necessity, begun to shift from a highly standardized closed system to one incorporating a
continual flow of internal and external responsiveness (Oxman & Smith, 2003). The
definition of an organization from this new perspective then reflects that of Everett
Rogers's description of a "social system". "A social system is a set of interrelated units
that are engaged in joint-problem solving to accomplish a common goal" (Rogers, 1995
p. 23). The significance of making change within an organization is reflective of how
conceptualization of organizations came about. In a chapter about theoretical foundations,
Any human organization is best understood as an open system. An organization can
be considered 'open' because of its dependency on and continual interaction with
the environment in which it resides. (2002, p. 43)
Thus, an organization is indeed a social system, or better described, a subsystem (Beer,
1980) placed within and interdependent upon a larger, multifaceted social system.
"Organizations are created to handle large-scale routine tasks though a pattern of
regularized human relationships" (Rogers, 1995, p. 375).
Organizational development theorists have discussed systems theory and open
systems for some time, specifically when applying theoretical knowledge to concepts of
planned change More recent organizational change theorists generally recognize
organizations as "living systems" (Burke, 2002). This expansion on the open systems
perspective draws in aspects of internal and external pressures placed on organizations,
such as the realities of group dynamics and human behaviors (Schein, 1980, p. 188),
and/or increased governmental regulations or changing economic situations (OECD,
2003). Thus, organizational change theorists define organizations nI irlhin their
environments and incorporate concepts of organizational structure, process, goals, and
the implications of these aspects over time. The possibility or inevitability of
organizational mortality is often then, the driving force behind change (Singh, House &
Tucker, 1986). "Acknowledging that every system has multiple functions and also exists
SPlanned change is terminology found in most organizational development research particularly in the
processes of diffusion of innovation. For a lengthy discussion about planned change and systems theory see
Cummings, T. G. (1980) ed. Systems Theory for Organizational Development, John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
within an environment that provides unpredictable inputs, a system's effectiveness can be
defined as its capacity to survive, adapt, maintain itself, and grow, regardless of the
particular function it fulfills," writes Schein (1980, p. 230).
As such, organizations begin to build a sense of 'who they are' both in terms of
how others see them and how the individuals who comprise the organization see the
organizations where they work (Cheney & Christensen, 2001). Defining organizations
becomes complex as internal and external dynamics constantly challenge how an
organization may define itself. The forces leading organizations toward change have
remained consistent even since Greiner' s 1967 article on patterns of organizational
change. He noted that computer technology, mass communications (resulting in higher
consumer awareness), new management knowledge, technological discoveries, new
world markets, social drives for equality, and increasing governmental regulations are all
aspects driving organizational change (1967, p. 120). Evidence reveals that all of these
aspects remain influential in organizational change today.
Change and Organizations
In a survey conducted by HarvardBusiness Review in 1990, managers in 25
countries on six different continents responded to the global marketplace with a
resounding message, "Change is indeed everywhere- regardless of country, culture or
corporation" (Kanter, 1991, p. 3). Organizational change in relation to the previous
descriptions of organizations themselves is often described as a process rather than an
identifiable entity (Schein, 1980; Burke, 2002; Kim, 2000). Steven Axely states that in
the profit or nonprofit sectors alike, "Ask managers to characterize the world they work
in, and many different images of organizational life emerge. But one theme will connect
most of the images: change" (Axley, 2000).
Theorists have chosen a variety of categorizations to describe the processes of
organizational change, its motivations and outcomes. There is, however, no definition
which covers all organizations and as of yet no theory which can adequately be applied to
all types of organizations and their individual circumstances (Schein, 1980). Research in
organizational change provides general motivations and broad theoretical perspectives,
which have been identified in an attempt to classify organizational situations and the
pursuit of change (Hannan & Freeman, 1977; Hannan & Freeman, 1984; Singh, House &
Management scholars have again borrowed concepts and metaphors from other
disciplines in order to understand change; these include the concepts of "punctuated
equilibrium, stages of growth, processes of decay and death, population ecology,
functional models of change and development, and chaos theory" (Van de Ven & Poole,
1995, p. 510). Early research on change is also evident in studies of diffusion of
innovations and planned change (see Rogers, 1995). Subsequent studies of organizational
change tackle various aspects and effects of change within organizations on individuals,
groups and larger arenas of influence (Martin, 2002; Burke, 2002). In a description of
organizational structure models developed by Kotter in 1978, Schein (1980) illustrates
the dynamic nature of organizations. Kotter' s figure describes the domino effect of
change in any one area of the model. For example, a decrease in demand (external)
affects the production, which may affect the manager' s relationship to the workers or
potentially the staff moral, etc. (Schein, 1980). Organizational development and
organizational change models advance open systems conceptualizations of organizations
with an emphasis on the "processes that occur in organizations over time as they face
internal and external events" [italics in original] (Schein, 1980, p. 212).
Change has been articulated throughout organizational, management and marketing
literature with various emphases. The motivations that lead organizations to pursue
change are as individual as the organizations themselves, though the driving external
forces may affect sectors or market niches at once. It is noted that the process of changes
occurs both incrementally and radically (Burke, 2002). Thus, evolving descriptions of
organizational changes are generally summarized to function in a mode of evolutionary
and/or revolutionary phases (Schein, 1980; Singh, House & Tucker, 1986; Van de Ven &
Poole, 1995; Burke, 2002).
Types of Change
The descriptions of organizational change perspectives span a relative array of
theoretical foundations and models. Types of change have been described in relation to
an organization's rate and control of transformation absorption, as described by Van de
Ven and Poole:
A prescribed mode of change channels the development of entities in a pre-
specified direction, typically of maintaining and incrementally adapting their forms
in a stable, predictable way. A constructive mode of change generates
unprecedented novel forms that, in retrospect, often are discontinuous and
unpredictable departures from the past. (Van de Ven & Poole, 1995, p. 522)
An organization pursuing change, or being pursued by it (external environmental
influences), finds that change to an organization is inevitable, continuous, and necessary
to its survival (Hannan & Freeman, 1984; Everett, 1990), and further that it is
intrinsically tied to the behavioral constructs of identity, image and culture. These
constructs, to a certain degree, define the lengths to which an organization can implement
change without distancing itself from its core constituents (Bouchikhi & Kimberly,
2003). Change is not something new; business literature is riddled with research,
suggestions and guidelines for organizations to follow when implementing change
(Grenier, 1967; Ettorre, 1996; Schein, 1999; Kim, 2000), weather it be structural,
regarding its size and age (Hannan & Freeman, 1984; Oxman & Smith, 2003;
Galaskiewicz & Bielefeld, 1998), strategic (Beer, Eisenstat & Specter, 1990),
technological, or cultural (Schein, 1999; Eisenberg & Riley, 2001). Current business
literature largely emphasizes the importance of leadership during change (Ettorre, 1996)
and communication (Axley, 2000).
Types of change also reflect the manner which an organization approaches change,
not simply the area within the organizational structure which is affected by it. An
emphasis on the actions of managers to achieve obj ectives for the organization is found
within theories of adaptation. Included in this approach are contingency theory, and
resource dependence theory (Galaskiewicz & Bielefeld, 1998). More holistic approaches
to change include the ecological exploration of change (Singh, House & Tucker, 1986;
Beer & Nohria, 2000). The ecological view incorporates concepts of environmental
driving forces and emphasizes the potential mortality of any organization. Aspects of this
approach have also been labeled selection models (Barnett & Carroll, 1995). Within the
ecological perspective, population ecology theory centers on the aspects of structural
inertia created in organizations due to internal populations (Singh, House & Tucker,
1986). In this vein, Hannan (1998) has presented the argument that the age of an
organization gives it viable security rather than immobility. Older organizations achieve
high reliability, and high accountability though reproducible organizational structures.
The ensuing structural inertia thus, creates an organization that is less vulnerable to the
instabilities of a new organization (Hannan, 1998). Older organizations have built a
process of confidence in its members, understanding and coordinating which may not
grow the organization but which shields it from internal (roles, populations) uncertainties
(Hannan & Freeman, 1984; Singh, House & Tucker, 1986).
Among these theoretical models, the approach, method, or mode, can also delineate
the kind of change taking place. The following is a description of two modes of change,
classified as revolutionary and evolutionary.
"Revolutionary change can be seen as a jolt (perturbation) to the system" (Burke,
2002). In another comparison to the biological sciences, Burke employs Stephen Jay
Gould's theory that change does not simply occur in a steady gradual way but rather by a
"punctuated equilibrium": "a steady state for a period of time, then a sudden (punctuated)
change, followed by equilibrium again" (Burke, 2002, p. 64). Revolutionary changes are
considered to be when deeply established structures are fundamentally transformed and
as a result the organization's identity is altered (Galaskiewicz & Bielefeld, 1998). A
change in organizational mission could be seen as a revolutionary change, where a
change in mission affects all other levels of an organization's function (Burke, 2002).
Adoption of new innovations, changes in effectiveness programs and organizational
structure can also illustrate elements of this change mode (Galaskiewicz & Bielefeld,
1998). Finally, it is noted that situations of crisis or contingency can be catalysts of
revolutionary change (Wurck, 2000).
Generally speaking, most organizational changes occur as the organization slowly
adapts and maintains itself. "Most organizational change consists of improvements;
incremental steps to fix a problem or change a part of the larger system" (Burke, 2002).
"The evolutionary model can be used to focus on processes of variation, selection and
retention among numerous organizational entities" (Van de Ven & Poole, 1995, p. 518).
Evolutionary change can be likened to that of Schein's early descriptions of an "adaptive
coping cycle" (Schein, 1980). While describing elements of effective organizational
health, Schein (1980) describes a process of adaptation, reflecting again on the dynamic
character of organizations themselves. The adaptive coping cycle is said to have five
stages, however, the stages may in fact occur simultaneously.
1. Sensing a change in some part of the internal or external environment.
2. Importing the relevant information about the change into those parts of the
organization that can act upon it, and digesting the implications of that information.
3. Changing production or conversion processes inside the organization according to
the information obtained while reducing or managing undesired side effects in
related systems, and stabilizing the change.
4. Exporting new products, services, and so on, which are more in line with the
originally perceived changes in the environment.
5. Obtaining feedback on the success of the change though further sensing of the state
of the external environment and the degree of integration of the internal
environment. (p. 233-234)
The adaptive coping cycle as proposed by Schein to a large degree summarizes the
process of organizational change. Inherit in the considerations of the cycle are of course
entire areas of independent research, among them: leadership roles of management
(Ettorre, 1996), the role of the change agent (Rogers, 1995), and the role of effective
communications (Axley, 2000).
Resistance to Change
Why do people and/or organizations resist change? Most studies point to the
adoption of a new perspective, innovation, structure, or other organizational changes as
elements, which create uncertainty. In a description of the difficulties in the Hield of
planned change and diffusion of innovations, Everett Rogers (1995) states: "The more
radical the innovation, indexed by the amount of knowledge that organization members
must acquire in order to adopt, the more uncertainty it creates and the more difficult its
implementation" (p. 397). Rogers goes on to reiterate Donald Gerwin's identification of
three different types of uncertainty that lead organizational members out of there comfort
zones: technical uncertainties, Einancial uncertainties, and social uncertainties (Rogers,
1995). Schein relates organizational behavior processes at work in organizations when he
referred to the management of change: "Human systems tend toward trying to maintain a
stable equilibrium. If change is to occur, some new forces must upset the equilibrium;
recognizing and managing these forces creates the motivation to change. Any change,
then, begins with some disconfirmation" (Schein, 1999, p. 117).
Reasons for employee resistance to change are sometimes obvious yet, as Kegan
and Lahey (2002) highlighted, it is often difficult and even maddening to attempt to
understand an employee's inability to implement change. Kegan and Lahey who work as
organizational psychologists point to an employee's "competing commitments" as
potential inhibitors to change. They explained that individuals hold competing images of
themselves in relation to their organization and often opportunities for change, even when
seemingly beneficial, forces an unconscious identity dilemma for the individual (see
Kegan & Lahey, 2002, p. 37-58).
Organizational members can also see change as having significant cost. Though
seemingly a pinnacle business decision maker, the impact of cost versus benefit analysis
does not necessarily motivate change when managers and employees alike resist
acknowledging the need (see Wruck, 2000). Schein attributed significant organizational
change resistance as imbedded in aspects of organizational culture, and that adopting a
new behavior, attitude, value, etc., involves unlearning old ways of doing or perceiving
things and learning something new. He called this potential reflection of resistance as
learning anxiety. Learning anxiety according to Schein (1999) is a combination of fears.
The fear that one' s lack of understanding the new skill or understanding will render them
temporarily incompetent, the fear that the adoption of new attitudes or values will create
a loss of identity or their role in the organization, the fear that internal social structures
will cause ostracism as one deviates from previous roles or beliefs, and finally the fear
that the learning process will be too long or difficult than deemed acceptable by the
organization (Schein, 1999).
On the other side, looking at external relationships, in a study about the National
Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) in Australia, Ray Edmondson (2002) noted that the
organization's attempt to change their name mattered deeply to the organization's
stakeholders. He notes that the organization's donors' identification with the organization
and their support to the organization gives them a perceived "moral ownership of the
institution and what it stands for" (p. 41). Thus, when the NFSA attempted to rename the
organization the stakeholders strongly resisted and felt the social uncertainties of no
longer knowing where they stood in relation to the organization (Edmondson, 2002).
Nonprofit organizations can well find themselves in these theoretical domains of
organizational change constructs. The nonprofit status of an organization does not
preclude it from the environmental and social elements, which advance change processes.
To a large degree, nonprofit organizations maintain a myriad of complexities due to their
more delicate placement within the niche areas of nonprofit work, their vulnerability to
public scrutiny and their internal cultural constructs.
Communication and Organizational Change
"Communication theory can be used to explain the production of social structures,
psychological states, member categories, knowledge, and so forth rather than being
conceptualized as simply one phenomenon among these others in organizations" (Hawes,
1974, p. 5). The communication lens then, might be seen as the underlying element in the
construction of organizational ontology. It has been suggested that due to the increasingly
blurring lines between internal and external communications current theories in
organizational literature are in need of reinterpretation (Gioia & Thomas, 1996; Hatch &
Shultz, 1997; Cheney & Christensen, 2001). Today's organizations are involved in much
more complex communications activities. "Internal groups now comprise part of the
general audience that the organization wishes to address... externally directed messages,
accordingly become an integral part of the organization' s operating discourse" (Cheney
& Christensen, 2001, p. 232).
The convergence of internal and external communications has stimulated much of
the literature regarding organizational identity, culture and image (Cheney & Christensen,
2001; Hatch & Shultz, 1997). However, it is generally during the process of change that
these elements become a focal concern. In the discourse of organizational change
processes, the boundaries between internal and external communication emerge as
interrelated (Cheney & Christensen, 2001).
Though managers generally cannot control the myriad of influences that instigate
the need for change within an organization, many researchers have noted that strong
communications can alleviate some of the insecurities and complexities associated with
change. "Many of the most important such steps we can take in our organizations center
around the interface between change and the people whose organizational lives will be
different as a result of change" (Axley, 2000, p. 19). An organization's communication
strategy throughout the process generally reflects the organizational structure and
communication culture, where formal communications (i.e., management
correspondence) may progress or hinder the process and how internal informal
communications (i.e., social networks, coffee break conversations) affect the
effectiveness of formal communication.
Incorporating Communication in Identity and Image Formation
In recognition of these boundary crossing constituents, organizations begin to focus
on the need to proj ect a holistic sense of "self' as an organization. Cheney and
Christensen (2001) note the
.. surprising extent to which the question of what the organization "is" or "stands
for" or "wants to be" cuts across and unifies many different goals and concerns. In
the corporate world, identity-related concerns have, in other words, become
organizational preoccupations, even when organizations are ostensibly talking
about something else. (p. 232)
Communication plays a significant role in an organization's determination of a
sense of self. Questions of organizational identity, image, and culture are all interpreted
though direct and indirect; formal and informal communications and play a critical part in
building organizational values which may influence organizational decision making.
The interplay of these organizational constructs has become the subj ect of a flurry
of current theory discourse across the fields of marketing and organizational studies
(Alvesson, 1990; Hatch & Shultz, 1997; Gioia, Shultz & Corley, 2000; Ravasi & Rekom
2003). Interestingly enough, elements of identity, image and culture have been both
credited as instrumental in an organization's ability to weather the uncertainty of change
(Dutton & Durekrich, 1991) and noted as an aspect, which constrains an organization
from adapting to change (Bouchikhi & Kimberly, 2003). Yet, recent interest has, if
anything, promoted significant dialogue regarding currently held notions of
organizational identity, organizational image and organizational culture and their
influence in organizations themselves (see Whetton & Godfrey, 1998). Hatch and Shultz
(1997) argue, "the categories of internal and external relations are collapsing together in
organizational practice" (p. 356). The result is a growing need to combine knowledge
from the disciplines of marketing, public relations, communications and organizational
CARE and other nonprofit organizations, not unlike the private sector, have
responsibilities to several distinct groups: the beneficiaries (those who receive the
services of the organization), the donors (those who fund the work of the organization-
could be individuals, public associations and private corporations, among others), and the
staff (those who perform the work and generally have a larger emotional investment)
(Humphries, 1999). In recognition of these varied constituents, the terms identity, image
and culture take on further complexities as each group internalizes the organizational
function from a different perspective. Identity, image and culture are based in individual
narratives, linking the motivations behind organizational identity to some combination of
geographical space, nationality, core business, product or technology niche or expertise,
organizational design, gender, values, strategy, or knowledge base among others
(Bouchikhi & Kimberly, 2003). "For example, Polaroid's identity has been intimately
tied to its core competence in instant film, by contrast, Hershey Foods' identity is closely
linked to its geographic location; and the identity of the Public Broadcasting Service
(PBS) is anchored in its commitment to commercial-free, quality programming for
mature audiences" (Bouchikhi & Kimberly, 2003). CARE International, when assessing
their organizational position in the global market, faced issues of identity on all levels
from assessing its values as an organization, to individual members' perspectives of
association with a changing vision and mission and finally to the meanings of the
organization' s proj ected images.
The remainder of this chapter reviews the current conceptualizations and meanings
behind the terms identity, image, and culture when related to organizational life. An
examination of the terminology and the social, even psychological constructs related to
organizations and their members, provides a foundation for discussion of their
implications and interrelations when an organization attempts change.
The idea of organizational identity has been recognized as a critical construct to
understanding organizational behavior both on an internal level in relation to
organizational cultural issues, as well as having significant impact on the management of
external issues and mission related concerns (Gioia & Thomas, 1996; Ravasi & Rekom,
2003). Who are we- as an organization? The question proposed by Albert and Whetten
(1985) has developed beyond what was once perceived to be exclusively a management
decision (Hatch & Shultz, 1997) to a multilevel notion (Gioia, Schultz & Corely, 2000)
providing insights to organizational, cooperative and individual behavior (Dukerich,
Golden & Shortell, 2002).
As problematic as it might be for theorists and researchers to identify a collective
organizational identity, and as much as the notion might be little more than a
comprehensive construction by upper-echelon executives, by a relatively small
subset of organization members, and/or by observing theorists and researchers, the
notion is nevertheless metaphorically and analytically revealing. Certainly, we can
observe that organizational leaders frequently invoke a collective identity as a
means of imputing or maintaining the sense of organizational coherence and
cooperativeness. (Gioia, 1998, p. 20)
While theorists continue to dialogue and debate about definitions or structural
orientations toward the conceptualization of organizational identity, the general point of
departure for organizational identity discourse has been built upon Albert and Whetten's
(1985) summary of organizational identity's essential features:
* What is taken by the members of an organization to be central to the organization's
* What makes an organization distinctive (in the members perception) to other
* What members perceive to be the enduring or continuing feature linking the
present and the past (and presumably the future) of the organization.
Albert and Whitten' s description proj ected an internally perceived lens on the issue
of identity, by focusing on the interpretations of the organizational members. From this
view, organizational identity is broadly described to be what the members "perceive, feel
and think about their organizations" (Hatch & Schultz, 1997, p. 357).
Organizational researchers have sought to expose organizational identity through
various studies of both the profit and nonprofit sectors. Dukerich, Golden & Shortell
(2002) explored Albert and Whitten' s proposed features of organizational identity in an
extensive survey of medical professionals' perceived identification with the health care
industry. The study related the presence of cooperative behavior with the attractiveness of
perceived identity and construed external image. Gioia and Thomas (1996) studied
university executives and identity in relation to academia and its conflicting constituents
specifically during times of change. This study related that top management members in
the university employed perceptions of identity and image in the sensemaking process,
the navigation of change, and in the interpretation of issues. Also, Dutton and Dukerich
(1991) reflected on organizational identity constructions in their case study of the Port
Authority of New York and New Jersey. Their research focused on the Port Authority's
issue management and how external issues evoked emotional responses by members of
the organization with regard to their internal interpretations of identity. "Although we did
not originally intend to make the organization's identity so central to the explanation of
how the organization adopted to the issue, individuals' senses of the organization' s
identity and image were metathemes that emerged from our data analysis" (Dutton &
Dukerich, 1991, p. 525).
Throughout these studies there is an underlying characteristic of identity that relates
to an organization's values as a commonly shared feature in issue interpretation and
decision making (Hatch & Schultz, 1999). Dutton and Dukerich (1991) noted that
identity molds how an organization might interpret and/or act on an issue. Members
monitor and evaluate the organization's actions "because others outside the organization
use these actions to make character judgments about it" (p. 520). Conceptualizations of
organizational identity give organizations an anchor to keep them steady during the
process of change. "Identity sets the boundaries on how much an organization can change
and still remain the same in the eyes of its key constituents" (Bouchikhi & Kimberly,
2003 p. 21). Similarly, as noted by Rindova, "Identity may be some sort of a truce: up to
a point, the organization will be willing and able to go along with change; beyond this
point, change might become catastrophic. Such a threshold point may demarcate the
central elements of an organization and its modus operandi (at least as they are perceived
by its members)" (Rindova, 1998, p. 38).
Many researchers through studies of organizations facing transition, now question
part of Albert and Whitten' s early definition of organizational identity features where
they denote organizational identity as being enduring. It has been expressed that in the
rapidly changing business environment organizations are finding it necessary to exercise
changes in their identity (Alvesson, 1990; Dukerich, Gioia & Thomas, 1996; Dukerich,
Golden & Shortell, 2002).
It is worth mention that the issue of an organization's reputation is closely linked to
that of organizational identity, but they are not the same thing. The construct of identity,
as previously described, reflects how the organization defines itself and how members
perceive outsiders view the organization. Reputation is the view of all the organization's
stakeholders of the organization, not the perceived notion. Knowledge of an
organization' s reputation, or that of the management, or of the CEO, may influence the
security of an organization's identity and thus affect the resources it can accrue and the
ability to recruit new members (Klein, 1999).
Cheney and Christensen (2001) note that contemporary organizations, functioning
in a world of rapid changes seek identification and belongingness among its members (p.
247). Several researchers have addressed the linkages between organizational identity
and an individual member's identification with the organization. Dutton, Dukerich, and
Harquail (1994) propose that organizational members incorporate characteristics of the
organization into their self-concepts. The construction of self-concepts is derived from an
individual's membership in different social groups. Similar to the description of
competing commitments, an individual's self-construct evolves from participation in
various roles and groups (Kegan & Lahey, 2002, Dutton, Dukerich & Harquail, 1994).
Pratt (1998) attempted to summarize organizational identification when he stated:
.. organizational identification is the process whereby an individual's beliefs
about an organization become self-referential or self-defining. The act of
'becoming' identified seems to involve either (a) evoking one's self-concept in the
recognition that one shares similar values with an organization (affinity), or (b)
changing one's self-concept so that one's values and belief's become more similar
to the organizations (emulation). (p. 175)
When assessing an organization in the process of change, the compliance and
commitment of internal groups are pivotal in the success of the organization' s adoption
of change (Axley, 2000). Thus, understanding of employee identification may provide
insight into their championing or resisting organizational change. As Dutton and
Dukerich found in their study of the New York and New Jersey Port authority:
The relationship between individual's senses of their organizational identity and
image and their own sense of who they are and what they stand for suggests a very
personal connection between organizational action and individual motivation. It
suggests that individuals have a stake in directing organizational action in ways that
are consistent with that they believe is the essence of their organization. (Dutton &
Dukerich, 1991, p. 550)
Organizations, like individuals, decide who they are by employing some
classification scheme and then locating themselves within that scheme. As is evident,
these dimensional features are directly parallel to those noted for individuals, differing
mainly in their collectively shared character (Gioia, 1998, p. 21). Individuals often seek
out organizations that are more or less in line with an individual's self-concept and core
values (Pratt, 1998). According to Dutton, Dukerich, and Harquail (1994), "the collective
organizational identity becomes more salient when members believe that organizations
actions are inconsistent with it s collective identity" (p. 243).
Image as a phenomenal fact, in the sense that the image as a specific idea,
instrumentally exploited, becomes salient in a particular social context as a non-
trivial part of management and organizational functioning is experienced by local
actors to capture something meaningful, and thus is not a historical constant, but
rather is contingent upon social, cultural and material factors. (Alvesson, 1990, p.
The construction of organizational image has taken different perspectives in the
Shields of organizational research and those of marketing and public relations. The
perception of organizational image is at once an internal identity building mechanism and
an external means of organizational display. Alvesson (1990) articulates that the
construct of image is sometimes used to refer to the inner picture that someone holds (in
this case, the inner picture of the organization) while, at other times it refers to the
externally communicated attributes (of the organization).
In contrast with marketing literature, organizational literature tends to focus on
internal issues related to image (Hatch & Schultz, 1997). As Dutton and Dukerich (1991)
explain "image describes insiders' assessments of what outsiders think" (p. 547). Thus,
an organization' s image is reflective of its reputation, identity, as well as its proj ected
imagery. Research regarding identity and image linkages has led to several constructions
of organizational image both from an internal and external point of view (Hatch &
Schultz, 1997; Gioia, Schultz & Corley, 2000). Research on organizational identity,
identification and the interplay with image constructions may still be in its infancy.
Recent developments coming not only from the academic world but from the corporate
domain as well suggest a need for clarification of the terminology and its constructs.
In the fields of public relations and marketing an organization' s image and identity
are generally studied in terms of 'corporate image' and 'corporate identity' and place the
emphasis squarely on the proj ected relationship with the organization' s external
constituents (Gioia, Schultz & Corley, 2000). The corporate identity, as differentiated
from organizational identity, is often viewed as all of the visual representations and
proj ected images "emphasized though the design and management of corporate symbols
and logos" (Gioia, Schultz & Corley, 2000 p. 66). While, in organizational research,
image reflects more strongly on members as a result of information processing and
communication of core identity constructs (Alvesson, 1990).
Further exploration leads to management constructions of future image and
organizational desires to reach proj ected goals of the kind of organization they want to be
(Gioia & Thomas, 1996). Hatch & Schultz, (1997) describe the image as being some
combination of the two, influenced by orchestrated and deliberated messages from
organizational management and everyday interactions between organizational members
and external audiences. Projected image communication spans internal and external
communication needs of clear image and unambiguous symbolism (Alvesson, 1990), as
well as the fluid notion of image as tied to an adaptable organizational identity (Gioia &
Thomas, 1996). Alvesson (1990) notes that from the perspective of the employees the
degree to which they maintain the proj ected (external) image of the organization "means
that the feeling of identity is created through mental structures rather than objective
reality" (Alvesson, p. 378). Further, organizations in the business of service production,
find that corporate identity emerges from a systematic effort to "anchor certain images of
the corporation in the consciousness of the personnel" (Alvesson, 1990, p. 378).
The dynamics of organizational change cannot be fully explored without some
understanding of organizational culture. Schein (1996) and other organizational
development scholars have proposed that organizations adapting to or adopting change
do so though a process of organizational learning. Research addressing the process of
change and organizational learning largely overlook a system of social norms held within
organizations that can impede or progress the process. This 'invisible' system of social
norms could be referred to as organizational culture.
"Organizational culture involves all organizational members, originates and
develops at all hierarchical levels, and is founded on a broad-based history that is realized
in the material aspects (or artifacts) of the organization (e.g. its name, products, buildings,
logos and other symbols, including its top managers)" (Hatch & Schultz, 1997). Where
studies of corporate identity and image might focus on these material aspects and how
they express the core values or image of the organization to external constituencies,
studies of culture reflect on how these aspects are realized and interpreted by
organizational members (Hatch & Schultz, 1997).
Communications scholars have taken particular interest in the role of culture in
organizational change and communications. The communication perspective
"acknowledges the symbolic character of ordinary language and the ways in which
cultural meanings are co-constructed in everyday conversation, textual evidence of
patterns, and also the entire non-verbal semiotic field..." (Eisenberg & Riley, 2001).
An organization facing change is faced with dealing with culture. It is in essence
the modus operandi of the organization, in its communication flow, its sense of identity
and shared tacit assumptions (Schein, 1996). Organizational culture could be said to have
various themes, from viewing culture as a variable, something that the organization
possesses as is evident in the functional approach (Martin, 2002), to a foundational
metaphor; something the organization is (Eisenberg & Riley, 2001). Theorist's who
evade the functionalist approach view culture in its symbolic context (Hatch & Schultz,
1997). The symbolic approach posits that interpretations of organizational identity and
formulations of organizational image are grounded in and justified by organizational
cultural assumptions (Hatch & Schultz, 1997). In the introduction to her book,
Organizational Culture: Mapping the Terrain, Martin notes:
When organizations are examined from a cultural viewpoint, attention is drawn to
aspects of organizational life that historically have often been ignored or
understudied, such as the stories people tell to newcomers to explain "how things
are done around here", the ways in which offices are arranged and personal items
are or are not displayed, jokes people tell, the working atmosphere (hushed and
luxurious or dirty and noisy), the relations among people (affectionate in some
areas of an office and obviously angry and perhaps competitive in another place)
and so on. (Martin, 2002, p. 3)
Organizational culture indeed influences the successes and challenges of
organizational change. The culture context becomes an important source for
understanding organizational change, change resistance, as well as a significant lens to
organizational communications and the formation of organizational identities and image.
In relation to the previously described constructs of organizational identity,
organizational image, and organizational culture, a discussion of branding seems
somewhat repetitive and possibly inconsequential. Yet, branding has become the
corporate terminology of the day. The intention of this section is to recognize branding' s
subtle delineation from identity, image and culture. In fact, the most recent discourse
2 The literature on branding and corporate identity align the terms. In the remainder of this document the
terms have been used interchangeably
about branding has further minimized the boundaries between these concepts and has
created a perspective, which interrelates each of these areas.
What is branding? Most frequently a brand is described as being a name (Marconi,
1993), the name of a product, company, or organization. It is true that some of the most
recognized and easily identifiable names represent a traditional perspective of a brand as
a product (Coca-Cola) or a service (GE). However, marketing, organization, business,
and finance literature from the early 1990s to today propose that the name is only the
signifier of the brand. The brand itself is much more. This is where the lines between
marketing and public relations positioning blur, and the definition of a brand emerges as
the embodiment of an organization though its name.
A brand could be described as the entire range of emotions experienced when the
brand [name or logo] is heard or seen. The symbolic nature (Levy, 1999) of a brand name
can come to be interpreted by an image; however, the image must evoke a name to be
considered a brand. While the name may resonate, a brand is not simply a name, suggests
Knapp (2000), president of BrandStrategy, Inc. Many companies and or organizations
have well known names, but it is when a product or service is characterized by some
distinctive attribute or unique narrative that it becomes a brand (Knapp, 2000). Thus
emerge the three tiers of a brand symbol, name, and association. It is this process of
narrative distinction that creates what is currently accepted as representative of a brand.
Knowles argues that brands are important for their ability to communicate meaning
(Goodchild & Callow, 2001). Mark Rowden in his book 7he Art ofldentity states,
"Without branding, a 'face cream' is only a cream, indeed a cream of unknown quality"
(Rowden, 2000, p. 128). Branding transmits an aura of trust, credibility, experience, and
performance or lack thereof. A nonprofit organization seeking funds from donors is as
dependent on the perception a donor has of its organization's brand as is any product
competing for identity on the supermarket shelves. Referring to corporate identities,
Rowden stated: "An identity exists within a confusing and emotional market area. It is
therefore vital to create and manage an identity's purpose, strength, and effectiveness"
(Rowden, 2000, p. 8).
The concept of branding extends even further, as the exploration of potential brand
value dictates that the brand' s perception in the mind of the consumer or donor is not the
only one that counts. "The ability to create relationships is what gives a brand power and
makes them different from other corporate assets" (Knowles, 2001, p. 36). In service-
oriented industries as in corporate and nonprofit organizations, the employees help to
build the brand. The product itself is intangible, and the brand is created out of the image
or experience that the consumer/donor has with the organization. Interbrand has offered
some criteria for nonprofit brand valuation. Factors such as level of trust in effective use
of donations, personal experience with the cause, level of donor contact, and ease of
transaction begin to develop a perspective of the organization' s potential brand value
(Rusch, 2003). However, the experience of the brand in the nonprofit sector is in the
relationships that are maintained though the umbrella of the brand, what the organization
does, represents, and creates. "In fact, not-for-profit organizations are well-placed to
become powerful brands. Be their focus the arts, culture, education, the environment,
community services, or research, people working in these organizations are driven by the
conviction of their work and the importance of the views they express and generate"
(Tan, 2003, p. 1).
Current literature aimed at the busine ss/entrepreneuri al community focuses on a
clear understanding of branding conceptualization. Predominant definitions propose
branding as a metaphor for people. "People relate to brands exactly as they relate to
people" (Bibby, 2001, p.1). Joachimsthaler and Aaker (1997), Knapp (2000) and Bedbury
(2002), also describe branding in personified terms. Thus, the relationships that a brand
maintains become far-reaching. Beyond the logo, name, or tagline, the motivation behind
the brand and organization's work is the platform upon which the strength of the brand is
built (Tan, 2003).
The concepts of organizational identity, identification, culture, image and brand
maintain relationships to both internal and external audiences. While the literature
continues to dialogue about the significance, meanings and even definitions of the terms,
considerations of change in any one of these areas have a recognizable affect on the
others. In reviewing the interrelationships between them casts increasing doubt on the
consideration that identity is a stable enduring notion (Gioia, Schultz & Corley, 2000).
Organizations strive to maintain some semblance of recognition and stability within their
environments yet "changes in identity are constrained within non-specified but
nonetheless moderating environmental bounds" (Gioia, Schultz & Corley, 2000, p. 73).
Through unambiguous communication of organizational images the anxiety of identity-
threatening actions can be reduced (Alvesson, 1990).
The complexity and intensity of the current market place is certainly driving factors
in organizational considerations of identity, identification, culture and brand. To this
extent, the organization's branding mentality in fact, could be viewed as reflective of its
organizational health in the areas of identity, identification, image, and culture.
The methodological considerations for this study have foundations in qualitative
and ethnographic research. This chapter summarizes and explains the research
methodology utilized in this study and the research questions the data collection pursued.
The research was conducted in the form of a case study and employed two main methods
to gather evidence: participant observation and semi-structured interviews.
Case Study Methodology
Qualitative research has enjoyed a long relationship and a rich history in the
academic disciplines of anthropology and sociology. Within organization scholarship,
however, the use of qualitative methods has struggled to find its footing. Only recently
has the organizational academic community begun to recognize the interpretive and
descriptive benefits offered by the incorporation of qualitative methodologies in various
areas of organizational research (Van Maanen, 1979; Yin, 1981; Schein, 1996).
Qualitative social research is said to have four main goals: to give voice to the group or
community being studied, to interpret historically or culturally significant phenomena,
and to advance theoretical ideas (Ragin, 1994). Qualitative methodologies, including case
studies, conversation analysis, participant observation, ethnographies, among many
others seek to identify symbols and record the patterns of responses that symbols elicit by
way of assessing social, cultural and contextual meaning (Van Maanen, 1979).
Yin (1981) articulates that the need for case studies emerges when an empirical
inquiry examines a contemporary phenomenon, particularly when the boundaries
between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident. Case studies offer researchers
opportunities to explore social phenomena within its structural setting, attempting to
"explain the causal links in real-life interventions that are too complex for survey or
experimental strategies" (Yin, 1981, p. 98). Single-case studies can be viewed as serving
knowledge utilization according to three models. The knowledge driven model (basic
research that leads to practical applications), the problem driven model (utilization
dependant on prior identification of a problem and subsequent specific study), and the
interactive model (utilization occurs though continual communication between
knowledge producers and knowledge users) (Yin, 1981).
Applications of case studies intend to describe, to illustrate and to explore where
the intervention being evaluated has no clear set of outcomes. Recently, organizational
researchers have incorporated case studies into larger inquiries, but rarely employ it as
the main methodology to address the constructs of organizational culture (Schein, 1996),
to explore the intricacies of identity and organizational adaptation (Dutton & Dukerich,
1991), and organizational identification (Dutton, Dukerich & Harquail, 1994; Gioia,
1998). Management and business literature also, often refer to case studies as examples
of management decision-making and opportunities to review the lessons learned in a
variety of organizational situations, such is notable in publications such as hItrabrand
hIsights and Harvard Business Review 's Case Studies.
In the instance of CARE International the case study design allowed for exploration
of the nature of change communication within the organization. It employed written,
spoken, and observed documentation of the uses and understanding regarding the
corporate identity change within the organization while also assembling information from
both internal and external aspects. The case study concept follows anthropologist Clifford
Geertz' s 1973 proposal of "thick description" where almost every aspect of daily life
throughout the progression of change becomes significant in the understanding and
interpretation of human action and response in social situations. This case study then,
incorporates two qualitative methodologies as a means of data collection: active, overt,
participant-observation and semi-structured, in-depth interviews. The resulting
description or ethnographic report on CARE Intemnational's change communication
serves as an evaluative study of decisions and processes as well as an illustrative example
for similar organizations pursuing change.
The research for this study aimed at addressing questions of identity, image and
culture in organizational change in the nonprofit setting. The first set of questions
concern areas of conceptualization regarding these constructs. What are the
characteristics of organizational identity, image and culture that become salient during
organizational change? In other words, how does one identify these constructs within
organizations and how does their input affect social reactions to change in the
organizational setting? How does CARE identify these constructs and how did they
emerge if they were not already notable during the change process?
The second set of questions relates to the communications lens, particularly internal
communications relative to the constructs of organizational and corporate identity, image
and culture. How did CARE communicate the change process to its internal publics?
What aspects of change resistance are attributable to the communication of change? How
does organizational culture resonate in CARE's organizational communications?
The Einal set of questions focus on the impact and challenges of organizational
branding in the nonprofit sector. What factors led CARE to re-identity or re-brand itself!
What factors led CARE to approach their identity change in the manner they did? What
were the challenges the organization faced in undertaking and implementing this change?
What was the impact of the change?
Prior to the Hieldwork, a review of CARE organizational literature was used, as
preliminary data, to orientate the researcher toward the organization, its work, its current
strategies, and challenges. Printed materials were reviewed from both the CARE USA
Headquarters and the CARE country office in Honduras. These printed materials are
viewed as formal communications both internally and externally directed. The materials
reviewed included annual reports, brochures, strategic plans, press releases, as well as
research presentations provided to CARE by the consultant-adverti sing agency, McCann
Erickson New York.
In the first stage of the Hieldwork, the researcher acted as a participant in the
process of change in CARE International. Initial ethnographic data was collected during
the researchers experience working in the CARE offices of Atlanta (May, 2002; July,
2003), and Honduras (May-August, 2002; July-August, 2003). This experience was
supplemented by contact with various other country offices including, Egypt, Ecuador,
and El Salvador (July, 2002). Extensive field notes consist of these participant
observation opportunities, notes and minutes from preliminary meetings, and
management meetings regarding communications strategies, particularly for the
Honduras country office. Further observation opportunities were available in the
Honduran office everyday functions and interoffice communications.
As a follow-up to the fieldwork, the researcher conducted 5 semi-structured, open-
ended interviews at the CARE USA Headquarters in Atlanta (February, 2004) with key
people, in leadership roles, who were involved in various aspects of CARE' s change.
These interviews served to elaborate and verify the observed site where participant-
observation evidence was gathered.
Participant observation is used extensively in the social sciences, particularly in the
fields of anthropology and sociology. It is a method, which is generally associated with
ethnographic field studies, where a researcher enters a field site to immerse themselves in
the social phenomena they wish to study. "Participant observation is a special mode of
observation in which you are not merely a passive observer. Instead you may assume a
variety of roles within a case study situation and may actually participate in the events
being studied" (Yin, 1981, p. 87).
Field observations as a participant can be described as falling into two dimensions:
the researcher as an observer or a participant-observer (passive or active) and the
researcher observing in the field overtly or covertly. The passive observer attempts to
operate as anonymously as possible and integrates minimally so as to not influence the
behavior being studied (Lindlof, 1995). Similarly, the covert, field researcher observes
and participates without disclosing the fact they are conducting research or the research
obj ective. The active participant-observer, on the other hand, tries to integrate as much as
possible and interact with many people within the group or field site. The active
participant-observer posits that the integration within the group might lessen the status or
activity differences between the researcher and the group under study (Lindof, 1995). In a
similar fashion, the overt positioning of the researcher attempts to foster good relations
and openly pursue data collection where the subj ects have full knowledge of the research.
The participant-observer thus, takes an engaged position (whether active or passive,
covert or overt) in the situation or phenomena being studied (Babbie, 1998). The
participant observation technique also creates complexities as a research method. While
the employ of participant observation offers the researcher the distinctive opportunity to
gain access to events or groups that otherwise may be inaccessible to the researcher and
to witness the studied phenomena in progress potential bias is produced (Yin, 1994). This
position is discussed further in the following section about limitations to this study. It is
noted however, that participant observation in many cases, offers an immersion into a
studied situation that may result in insights from an "insider' s" point of view, and may be
one of the few ways to gain that perspective (Yin, 1994; Schein, 1996).
In this case study of CARE International the researcher was given the opportunity
(though a grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation, administered though the World
Citizenship Program at the University of Florida) to both observe from an external, macro
perspective and participate on the micro level of the organizational change
implementation. During the three-month period spent in CARE International's Honduran
country office, the researcher was positioned as an overt participant-observer in the role
of change agent (an outsider, charged with facilitating the change within the
organization), specifically, guiding the country office though the adoption of CARE' s
new brand or corporate identity. In the role of change agent, the support of the country
director was critical in relating a sense of authority to the organizational members. The
role entailed that the researcher play an adaptive role, first assessing the organizational
culture of CARE as an organization and then observing the micro organizational culture
of CARE International in Honduras. Further, the researcher relied on developed
relationships in the Honduran office as both informants, with insight into the behavior of
organizational members, and cultural guides relating to the Central American country's
system of values and acceptance, both of which influenced the change adoption on
internal and external levels of the organization.
The participant observation data collected was analyzed to identify themes
according to the research questions. In the following chapter, the evidence gathered was
used to construct chronological groupings of data.
Interviews provide one of the most important sources of information in a case study
(Yin, 1994). In opposition to the structured format of survey questions, interviews in
qualitative research are generally designed to be more flexible, iterative and continuous
than typically found in quantitative studies (Babbie, 1998, p. 290). Qualitative interviews
are designed as "conversations with a purpose" (Lindolf, 1995, p. 163), where the
researcher has developed a general direction for the inquiry and pursues information
provided by the respondent (Babbie, 1998). Within a sociocultural communications
framework the interview offers various benefits as a research tool, Mason describes the
process as the following:
...interviewers frame and ask questions, respondents attempt to understand not only
the questions but also their own experiences, respondents attempt to structure
coherent answers and researchers interpret the respondent' s answers, (verbal and
nonverbal). (Mason, 2001, pp. 59-60)
Qualitative interviews become particularly useful in a research strategy when
conducted with individuals who "have access to information that average people do not
have or who, because of their positions, can influence others, be receptive to novel ideas,
or act as obstacles to change" (Poindexter & McCombs, 2000, p. 268).
Interview methods can generally be viewed in three forms. The form most
commonly employed in qualitative research is the semi-structured, in-depth interview.
The semi-structured, in-depth interview allows for the researcher to explore matters of
fact and of the respondent' s opinions (Yin, 1994). A second type of interview is
considered a focused interview (structured) where the researcher follows more or less the
structure of a set group of questions but allows for fluidity and pursuit of respondents
answers for clarification (Yin, 1994; Lindolf, 1995). The third type of interview follows
the formal, structured format of a survey. The survey interview would allow for
comparison analysis across all respondents, as each question is presented uniformly, and
allows for the researcher to observe non-verbal reactions.
Individual (or one-on-one) interviews are often used in qualitative research when it
is impractical or prohibitively expensive to create a focus group or conduct a group
interview of opinion leaders relevant to the researcher' s study (Poindexter & McCombs,
2000). Individual interviews can be used to corroborate information previously observed
or explore opinions held by particular members of the organization being researched
The interview, as a qualitative research technique, also exhibits issues of
complexity when assessing the reliable and reproducible value of the method. Further
explored in the limitations section, interviews can reveal biases on the part of the
researcher (Yin, 1994). Yin explains that interviews are verbal reports and as such are
"subj ect to common problems of bias, poor recall, and poor or inaccurate articulation"
(Yin, 1994, p. 85). Thus, the most effective use of interview methodologies is in
conjunction with other techniques and information from other sources (Yin, 1994).
Employing interview techniques into qualitative research studies serves to help
triangulate other qualitative methods and, similarly to participant observation, is rarely
used exclusively. Together, though, the techniques offer a description of organizational
life generally not attainable though quantitative methods alone.
In this case study, the researcher utilized purposive conversations with
organizational members in the field, and semi-structured, in-depth interviews with CARE
International organizational members. The interview participants were identified as being
influential in designing and/or disseminating the organization's identity and corporate
image change. The maj ority of these interviews took place at the CARE USA
headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia in February 2004. The remainder of the interviews were
conducted via telephone due to scheduling complications.
Each interview in Atlanta was conducted in the individual's office and followed a
generalized structure aimed at addressing issues of change resistance, organizational
identity in relation to the brand change, the process of change, the individual's role in the
change process or dissemination, the individual's perception of the change process in
CARE and the individual's opinions about the new organizational identity. Accordingly,
the analysis of this data entailed an assessment of recurrent themes and terminology used
in the individuals' description of the change process.
The Research Site
CARE International USA1
CARE International is one of the world' s largest PVO's working in international
development and aid. CARE is organized as a confederation of 12 member countries
The organization' s International Secretariat is located in Brussels. Each of the member
countries has been designated as a "lead member" for countries where CARE
programming is currently in progress. CARE Intemnational has programming presence in
72 countries; CARE International USA is the lead member for 44 of those countries
(CARE USA Annual Report, 2003). CARE International USA has its headquarters in
downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The building is accessible and maintains high security levels
to its offices. Globally, CARE employees number approximately 12,000.
CARE Intemnational USA is guided by a board of directors, consisting of various
influential people from foundations, universities and private corporations. An executive
team consisting of a chief of staff, president and executive officer, and four senior vice
presidents administer the organization. CARE International USA receives funding
support from charitable contributions, grants, and contracts from governmental and non-
governmental entities (CARE' s Annual Report 2003). CARE International distributes
funds to each of the CARE member countries, further maj or support comes from the
United States government, direct private donations, various United Nations agencies,
UNICEF, World Bank, and host country governments.
SCARE USA's membership in the confederation of CARE International creates the title of CARE
International USA. Country offices that are a not members of the confederation but who maintain
programming under a lead organization would be, for example, CARE International in Honduras. Often
CARE USA or CARE Honduras is used as the abbreviated version.
2 CARE International's member countries are: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany,
Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Thailand, United Kingdom, and United States.
During the first phase of research, the fieldwork in Honduras was supplemented by
and orientation in the Atlanta offices (June 2002). Through this orientation, researcher
had the opportunity to meet with various departments in CARE's Atlanta offices
including program directors in areas of disaster relief, education, and HIV AIDS, as well
as fundraising and marketing. The orientation, organized by CARE, served as an
introduction to CARE as an organization, its work, and its current marketing and
Later, in February 2004, the researcher initiated interviews to address the specific
area of inquiry for this study. The individuals chosen for interviewing were selected for
their positions in the CARE organizational structure and due to their positions, the
assumed leadership roles they maintained throughout the change process. Several of the
respondents were in the employ of CARE before the changes were implemented and
others j oined CARE after the process was already underway. Several of the more recent
management staff came to CARE from significant marketing positions with large private
corporations such as Coca Cola and Pepsi, allowing for insightful commentary regarding
the differences in marketing the profit versus the nonprofit sectors.
The departments of included were CARE Intemnational USA's Marketing
Department, Extemnal Relations, Human Resources, and Strategic Planning and Analysis.
These interviews offered a more macro-view inquiry of the organizational culture and
positioning, the respondents were able to offer insights in to CARE' s organizational
structure on the international level, the motivations for change and various upper
management perspectives of the change implementation.
CARE International in Honduras
CARE Intemnational began working in Honduras in 1943, under the leadership of
the lead member office CARE Intemnational USA. They maintain two main offices, one
in each of the two largest Honduran cities, San Pedro Sula and, the main office in the
nation's capital, Tegucigalpa, as well as several smaller field offices. CARE Intemnational
in Honduras employs approximately 200 people including its administration, operational
and field staffs. Some eighty-five people work as field coordinators while extension
agents number approximately one hundred.
CARE Honduras is led by one country director and maintains communication and
coordination with several regional directors and/or coordinators. CARE Honduras
receives funding from a variety of sources, many of which are secured though the support
of CARE International USA, which distributes funds to the country offices it "leads".
Other sources of funding come though grant writing to such agencies as USAID, various
foundations and various foreign development agencies (including the Office of Food
Security of the European Commission, and the Canadian Agency for International
Development). Still other means of assistance come from collaboration with Honduran
government agencies in the form of access, matching funds, or program specific support.
At the time of the research, CARE Honduras was implementing eleven projects
and/or programs. Programming represented areas of rural healthcare, education, small
business creation, commercialization and financing, forest management, education,
coffee export, and potable water. Most proj ects were based in the field sites and managed
out of the main office in Tegucigalpa. Proj ect managers alternated time in the field and
time in the office. Each proj ect was responsible for the individual program's budget and
was accountable to both the country director and the donors.
The Tegucigalpa and San Pedro ounces also maintained a high level of security
(walls around the buildings and guards 24 hours at the gates). The main office in
Tegucigalpa was a building of four floors. A general secretary answered the phone and
The site of CARE Intemnational in Honduras was an ideal location to observe the
implementation of CARE' s global branding strategy. At the time of the research, the
country office was in the midst of dealing with substantial Einancial cutbacks, the
implementation of a regional collaborative strategy with the other Central American
offices, as well as an exercise in finalizing the country office's five-year strategic plan.
The researcher' s opportunity for involvement in the country office included a weeklong
tour of programming in remote areas of the country, as well as programming that took
place in small towns near the main office in Tegucigalpa. Initially, the researcher simply
observed and was orientated to the work of CARE and the programming it facilitates.
After several weeks the researcher then took on the role of change agent. Empowered
with the support of the country director the researcher was given the responsibility to
socialize the new logo to the staff of CARE Intemnational in Honduras and also to
organize and lead a team to launch the "new CARE" image to the external constituents.
Throughout the fieldwork timeframe, the researcher was invited to participate and
observe in various management level workshops and meetings as well as conduct several
informational meetings to begin the process of dissemination. The team, created by the
director to help accomplish both the internal and external communication of the change,
consisted of organizational members from various departments and positions within
CARE Intemnational in Honduras. Several of the members had organized events for the
organization in the past however, none had academic marketing experience. The team
included individuals who held positions in areas such as computer analysis, programming
coordination, secretarial duties and account management. This assignment came in
addition to their daily responsibilities.
The qualitative data presented in this study were gathered from the collaboration of
CARE Intemnational. The findings are a result of the researcher' s overt, active participant
observation experience in CARE Honduras and interviews with upper management in
CARE Intemnational USA. As a result, the information lends itself to a bias with regard to
the researchers participation within the organization. The decision to employ qualitative
methods for this research was made in full recognition of the subj ective position of the
researcher as a change agent, the observations are thus filtered thorough the researcher' s
One limitation of the case study approach is the orientation toward identifying the
presence or absence of factors, rather than evaluating the importance of those factors.
This same limitation can also be viewed as an advantage where the selected
organizational setting can be studied precisely because the researcher is interested in the
social phenomenon that is believed to be present (Vaughan, 1992).
The researcher, during this study, held a role of change agent within CARE
International's country office of Honduras and was instrumental in the decisions made
with regard to communications of the change process. The experience was much like that
of a consultant where the researcher was able to observe from the position of an outsider
and make notations regarding the organizational issues which surfaced during the
process, yet the role of change agent, supported by the country director, may have created
an environment where the researcher was not privy to some employee reactions. Also the
simple presence of the researcher may have affected overt actions or reactions on the part
of the groups observed. Yet, the opportunity to help initiate the change offered
unparalleled access to the organization its behavior throughout the change process.
With regard to the interviews, the study may have proved to be a more
generalizable study if many levels of employees were included. Upper management
perspective, albeit from various departments, reflect the formal organizational
perspective of how change communications took place (or were intended to take place).
The inclusion of a more varied interview sample among the many levels of the
organization's headquarters could have provided generalizable information on an
The combination of methods deflects, in some respects, the limitations of each
method individually, yet the Eindings of this case study cannot be generalized fully to
other organizations. The descriptions and Eindings in this case study do, however, offer
other development and nonprofit agencies some areas of consideration when their
organizations are faced with or attempts change, specifically when that change addresses
organizational identity and/or image.
The data for the present study were gathered over a period of two years (Summer
2002-2004). The findings are presented according to the various stages of the data
collection. This chapter consists of three sections. First, a description of the preliminary
data findings based on research from external and internal CARE documentation. This
section provides the foundational conceptions of CARE' s exploration of the identity and
branding change. Second, the explanation and description of the researcher' s role as
participant-observer as well as a change agent in CARE Honduras, and third, descriptive
examples of interview data performed as follow-up to the field research.
Overview of CARE International's Branding Change
CARE International originally addressed the organization's placement in the
market as a fundraising issue. As the organization began to explore its difficulties in the
marketplace, it became more and more relevant to access marketing and communication
knowledge in order to assess CARE's identity and image. McCann Erickson played a
large part in educating CARE representatives with regard to the organization's
positioning and brand. The identity and branding change was the result of a long internal
assessment of where the organization was and where it wanted to be.
The New Brandmark
The original design of the CARE logo was navy blue with the acronym in stenciled
capital letters. It was designed to resemble the stamp that identified the CARE packages@
sent to Europe in the late 1940s. Later, the image was updated by changing the color to
dark green, attempting to proj ect a more environmental balance. In 1999-2000 the
brandmarkl was completely revamped (See appendix A). It was determined that the
CARE acronym in lower case letters proj ected a warmer, more inviting feeling, as did the
change to a warm color palette. The cold green color was replaced with two warm colors,
yellowish/gold and orange. The brandmark design is comprised of a circle of individual
painted handprints (as might be seen in a child' s art proj ect), alternating the two warm
tones of orange and yellow. The illustration was termed "community of hands" further
reflecting the organizations repositioning as a partner in the fight against poverty. A
particularly well-received description, in Latin America, of the conceptual change in the
brand was articulated in a marketing phrase (translated from Spanish) "Before we put our
stamp on things, now we unite our hands to reach sustainable solutions in the fight
In addition to a change in the logo design CARE also addressed the tagline or
slogan, which was designed to complement the logo itself. The slogan that accompanied
the old logo was: "Where There's CARE There's Hope." Along with the new colors and
logo, a new tagline was introduced: "Where the End of Poverty Begins." The slogan was
not translated into other languages by the corporate headquarters given its belief that the
individual country offices would better be able to use local language and/or dialects to
interpret and translate the slogan most appropriately for the particular audiences in a
given country. CARE International did not have a formal approval procedure for country
office attempts to translate slogan.
SWithin CARE International the Brandmark is referent to the organization's logo. The terms are used
interchangeably throughout the remainder of this document.
Preliminary Data: Summary of CARE's Internal and External Materials
If one were to ask a representative of CARE International for information regarding
the organization, the inquiry would most frequently be met by an inundation of
organizational literature. CARE' s global focus on the "root causes of poverty" elicits a
perceived need, on the part of the organizational members, to provide extensive
information about the complexities of poverty on a global level. CARE is an organization
centered around its programming. Its strategic long- and short-term planning, its
fundraising efforts, its internal employee improvement programs, and other
organizational actions all reflect the emphasis on the intellectual side of the issues.
Consistent with CARE' s vision and mission of serving the individuals and
communities of the poorest regions of the world, CARE International has embraced the
wider international development community's 1996 goal of working to reduce the
number of people living in extreme poverty by half by the year 2015. As an overarching
goal, CARE aligns itself with other international organizations with the belief that in
working together they can overcome the affects of poverty. To this end, CARE
acknowledged three strategic directions to guide their activities. 1) Adopt rights-based
approaches to achieve greater impact on poverty and social justice, 2) build a diverse
constituency dedicated to ending poverty, and 3) increase resources to end poverty.
The external symbolism representing the pursuit of these changes was embodied in
the new, unified CARE vision and mission, the logo, and tagline. Implementation of the
branding strategy included the creation of a brand standards' manual. The manual
provided examples of acceptable usage of the brand and the tagline for various
implementations. Each country office received a hard copy of the standards' manual, and
a compact disk with the logo in various file formats. Further, country directors and some
country office management staff were socialized to the logo change and briefed on the
implementation schedule by staff from the Atlanta headquarters. Implementation in
country offices was decidedly left up to the country directors as to the most appropriate
means dependant on the particular country's cultural and physical constraints. The
schedule requested that the county offices first employ the use of both the old and the
new logos side by side, to accustom constituents to the new look. All the country offices
were asked to have full implementation of the new logo by September 2002.
Participant Observation Data
The Initial Stages
In summer 2002, the researcher arrived to the country office of CARE International
in Honduras with the understood agenda of facilitating the external launch event, which
would introduce the new logo to the external audiences. Meetings with the country office
director emphasized the need to create an event that would be more engaging than the
organization's typical approach of a formal dinner with speakers. The country director
arranged for a small team of organizational members, who aside from their daily
responsibilities, were assigned to assist the researcher in developing and implementing
the launch event.
It quickly came to the researcher' s attention that the country office had not yet
disseminated information about the corporate identity change to the members of the
country office staff, that is, the adoption of the new logo and tagline. The team of
members ostensibly named the "Comision Lanzimento del Logo" (commission for the
logo launch2, inSisted that due to the country office's other changes, it was essential to
2 Hence forth in this document this team of members is referred to as the Comisi6n.
provide more information to the staff. Initially, the researcher, based on information
provided by Atlanta, explained to the Comisi6n members the significance of the logo
change and its relationship to the other changes in CARE on a larger scale. The Comisi6n
members had some knowledge that the logo change was eminent and provided
suggestions as to the potential issues that might be encountered during the socialization
process in the country office. The members of the Comisi6n soon became champions of
the logo change and were instrumental in explaining the process both informally and
formally within CARE Intemnational in Honduras.
In 2001, the eight country offices of CARE Intemnational in the Central American
and Caribbean region initiated the process of incorporating the global organization' s new
strategy and brandmark. In Honduras, several levels of management had collaborated to
create a long-term, strategic plan. The plan, termed the PELP (Planeaci6n Estrategica a
Largo Plazo), aimed to:
* Re-conceptualize the mission of CARE' s proj ects and proposals.
* Reduce the individual's work loads.
* Improve communications and coordination across the region.
* Share leadership roles.
* Redefine functions of the managers and executives toward a more horizontal
In line with the overall organizational changes, CARE Honduras and the other
Central American and Caribbean offices aligned themselves in order to begin the
implementation of these highly conceptual changes.
CARE Intemnational in Honduras has enjoyed strong relationships with political
leaders and long-term recognition within the country, with those who were familiar with
their work. The larger population maintained a generally low awareness of the
organization. CARE' s work in Honduras has been most notable for its programs in the
most poverty-stricken areas, its interventions in intercity sustainable planning, as well as
for the significant aid that the organization provided in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch
The country office determined that, for the most part, its target publics for the
dissemination of their new strategic plan and the new brandmark were several specialized
groups. Generally, the beneficiaries of CARE interventions in Honduras did not identify
strongly to the brandmark, but rather with the extension agents who worked and often
lived in their communities. The beneficiaries, therefore, were not targeted as needing
extensive explanation of the change. The publics who were of concern were the
employees themselves, as their dedication to the organization was viewed as one of
CARE' s strongest assets, political figures from local to national and international, as well
as current and potential donors (including governmental agencies and private sector
businesses), who support local proj ects.
CARE Honduras worked within traditional hierarchical structure which has its
origins in CARE's original organizational structure but which is exacerbated by a Central
American cultural norm of deference for those in higher organizational positions (high
stratifieation and power distance). Many employees have been working for the
organization for more than eight years. Generally, the employees demonstrated a strong
dedication and identification with the organization and its mission. This was evident from
the frequent overtime hours and the management of heavy workloads the staff carried
without the motivation of additional pay. The old slogan of "Where There' s CARE
There' s Hope" had become part of the vernacular in referring to the organizations work
throughout the country, revealing how ingrained this conceptualization was in the minds
of most of the CARE Honduras employees.
The administration staff had contact with much of the programming staff but knew
little about the actual proj ect implementation in the field. For example, the accounting
staff was aware of the financial situations of each proj ect, yet few of them had ever
traveled to the field or understood the complexities of the work implementation. Further,
while program managers often held meetings to address issues with regard to their
positions, few program staff had knowledge of programming outside of their areas. For
example, staff that worked in the health program knew little about the proj ect for
sustainable, potable water in another region of the country. Efforts to expand the
knowledge base, particularly of administrative staff were met with difficulties of heavy
workloads and limited financial means.
The Honduran' s staff' s feelings of uncertainty regarding the logo change were
exacerbated by a myriad of other changes simultaneously affecting the organization.
CARE Honduras had, just a year prior, received a new country director (terms of country
directors are generally 3 to 5 years). Adaptation to a new country director seems to be
fluid within CARE as the position is one that is changed relatively frequently. Further, in
mid 2002 the organization was hit with a severe cut in funding. The organization's
programming portfolio had gone from 11 million in 2002 to 4.5 million in 2003. This cut
resulted from the ending of relief proj ects initiated after Hurricane Mitch, a general
global economic slowdown and the overall humanitarian aid shift to African HIV/AIDs
issues and war/terrorist-affected countries in the Middle East. The employees in CARE
Honduras were cautious in their reception to the branding change information given the
uncertainty of the organization' s situation. They were generally hesitant about the global
organization' s intentions to restructure and concerned for the potential insecurity of their
At the time of the research, CARE Honduras did not have a staff position of public
relations, communications or marketing. When the need for materials arose, the proj ect
managers themselves or one of the individual proj ect staff would use basic word
processing software to create brochures and presentations or an outside publishing
agency was outsourced. The country director generally managed public relations for
CARE Honduras, along with other management staff and frequently with the assistance
of the program executive assistant. However, contact with the media was generally
The Socialization Stage
CARE Honduras turned initial attention to its staff. The Comisi6n together with
management had to not only explain to the staff about the new brandmark, how to use it,
and why the change was being made, but also explain the new more horizontal
conceptualization of the Honduran office' s organizational structure. Finally, there was
also a need to relate to the staff the magnitude of the organization' s financial strains and
the cutbacks that would have to be made to avoid eliminating positions. The tasks were
approached in several small stages. First, a brief internal informational brochure was
distributed. The brochure was titled "Where we are and where we want to be" and it
briefly described the finalization of the PELP, facts regarding the office's financial
issues, the emphasis the organization holds in providing transparency in the
communication of these changes, and a brief description of the decisions the organization
had already taken in order to alleviate some of the issues (see appendix B).
Secondly, information was disseminated through several small seminars with the
Hield extension agents, administrative, and support staff. The half-day seminars included
time for the director to present the relevant aspects of CARE' s history, as it pertained to
the current global confusion of the brand, and then for the Commission for the Logo
Launch to explain the meaning and the usage standards of the new brandmark. The
seminars were informal and allowed time for addressing the staff~ s questions and
The next step was at the managerial level. Field onfce managers, proj ect managers,
human resources and accounting staff, and other mid-level staff were brought to the main
office in Tegucigalpa for a three-day workshop/seminar. This workshop incorporated
some team-building activities, inspirational presentations, heated discussion about the
current Einancial situation, and candid descriptions of the expected Einancial cutbacks.
The workshop included time for the Comisi6n to again explain the logo and tagline
changes as well as an opportunity to stress the need for proj ect managers to participate
and coordinate in the conceptualization and execution of the external launch event.
A separate brochure was created for this workshop emphasizing the introduction of
the "new" CARE. The brochure was titled "Did you know that we have changed colors?"
Initial reaction to the brochure was that of oversimplifying the changes. As mentioned by
a participant in the workshop (translated from Spanish by the researcher): "This
information is incorrect, CARE has changed much more than its color". The workshop
also allowed time for small groups to discuss the PELP and comment with the intention
for improving the PELP document. Finally, the presentation of the new logo became the
symbolic representation of all these changes that were introduced. Initial descriptions of
the planning stages for the external launch event of the new logo were also brought up for
The process allowed for the Honduran office staff to voice their concerns and ask
questions. Evidence of conceptual resistance was especially prominent in the discussion
of the new CARE tagline "Where the End of Poverty Begins" replacing that of "Where
There's CARE There's Hope". The Honduran management staff attempted to translate
the new tagline into Spanish, as did many of the Latin American country offices.
Attempts by the Honduran staff proved so controversial and unproductive that the office
decided to eliminate its use on their organizational materials. The country office's affinity
for the old tagline, and disappointment with the new one became evident in the member's
continual use of the previous tagline in communications and presentations.
Communications with the CARE country of El Salvador related similar difficulties with
the tagline translation. The El Salvador office had deliberated for several months over
translation work to find a translation that they agreed would capture the essence of the
new tagline. At the time of the research they had not come into agreement.
While recognition of the inconsistent use of the previous CARE brand was
generally accepted, standardization of the new logo was not among the staff s most
salient concerns. The most frequent concern expressed by the staff was the question of
"why". Why, when our office is experiencing such severe financial cutbacks are we
concerning even focusing on the change in the organization's corporate image? Why are
we enduring the added financial strain of rebranding when we have more serious issues to
The socialization process took place during a period of six weeks. In the cases
where extension agents could not attend the meetings in the main office, the researcher or
one of the Comision members traveled to the field.
The Brand Implementation in Honduras
As mentioned earlier, the first uses of the logo came from CARE International
USA, incorporating the old and new logos. Initial implementation in Honduras of the use
of the new logo occurred sporadically before the official launch event. Internally, several
program/proj ect managers were in need of new business cards and other promotional
materials. Each program hosted by CARE Honduras maintains individual budgets. The
proj ect/program managers are responsible for the budget dispersement including
necessary communication materials. Therefore, before the socialization was complete,
program managers were already including the new logo on printed materials and
CARE International USA distributed to each country office a compact disk of the
logo digital formats as well as a brand standards' manual. The standards' manual was
provided in English and had not been translated into Spanish. Due to software limitations
within the CARE Honduras office (and many of the local printers), the compact disk was
inaccessible. The result was that CARE Honduras staff who wished to include the new
logo in their materials retrieved the image from the CARE International website.
Low technical knowledge of presentation software led to early misuse and/or
distortions of the new logo. Keeping in mind that CARE proj ect managers (with technical
expertise in areas of health, agriculture, etc.) created their own materials, often
presentations were noted to have incorporated a logo with very low resolution or
constrained vertical or horizontal placement resulting in a disfigured image. It was further
noted that the same difficulty occurred with the placement of donor logos or field images.
Business cards were among the types of materials that were contracted with a local
printer. When the first business cards were received it was noted that the new CARE logo
had been altered. The printer had redrawn the individual painted hands, which comprised
the "community of hands" imagery, so that each hand was solid and identical. Due to this
incident, subsequent presentations to staff related the necessity of standardization. The
Comisi6n began to actively and independently monitor the use of the logo both in the
Honduran offices and abroad. One of the Comision members in a description to the staff
said that communication of the community of hands imagery was intended to illustrate
the partnership of individuals that work together in CARE. The hands needed to be
presented as was depicted in the official logo to emphasize the individuality of those who
partner with CARE.
Overview of the Logo Launch Event
Over the following three months, planning began for an event that would show the
best of CARE in its new structure and its new "look." The launch event was called "Entra
y Conoce a CARE Internacional en Honduras" (Enter and Get to Know CARE
International in Honduras). The event was created as a "virtual trip" to CARE proj ects in
the field throughout Honduras. Small art-festival-type tents were created, one for each of
CARE Honduras' s current proj ects. An informational poster that briefly explained the
proj ect, credited the donor, and described the proj ects duration and the number of
beneficiaries was displayed outside each exhibit. Accompanying each tent was also the
proj ect manager and another CARE representative to explain and entertain questions
from the guests.
Inside the tent, the proj ects created an interactive atmosphere of what it is like to be
in the field. For example, the health proj ects created a small health center, the education
proj ect had several children representatives initiating breif educational games with the
guests, and the coffee growers had samples, plants and detailed descriptions of the high-
altitude coffee they harvest, market and sell.
The event welcomed guests by offering them a "passport" (a business card holder
containing the business cards of the CARE managerial staff with the new logo) and a
"Visa"; a pamphlet that listed each of the proj ects on display and opportunity to mark the
ones that were most interesting to them. The visa had an entry stamp and an exit stamp to
give the CARE greeters the occasion to remind the visitors to fill out the back of the visa,
check their proj ect of interest, and enter the visas into a raffle to win a real trip to visit the
proj ect of their choice in the field. These visas were also intended to update the contact
information of the guests for later informational use in fundraising programs and future
Planning Stages of the Logo Launch Event
CARE Honduras was able to secure extra funds from CARE International USA to
realize the launch event; other monies came from unrestricted funds in the
administration's account. The event budget was approximately US $8,000. Due to the
complexities and novelty of the event' s concept Comisi6n again undertook a socialization
process to familiarize proj ect managers with the idea, urge their participation and
motivation. The concept required the participation of almost all of the CARE Honduras
staff and almost 100 of them were asked to facilitate the evening' s events.
The invitation list, after receiving input from each proj ect manager and passing
though approval of each of the management staff, numbered almost 300. Invitations were
sent to government officials, both national and local in the communities were CARE
Honduras had programming, members of current donor organizations, foreign embassies,
news media representatives, and partner NGO organizations working in Honduras. Due
to the possibility of the attendance of the president as well as many foreign ambassadors,
issues of protocol dominated many preliminary planning meetings. The finalization of the
invitation list took significant time and many invitations were hand delivered (the
national postal service was unreliable) just two weeks prior to the event. Originally, all of
CARE' s staff were also included on the invitation list, but due to the expense of bringing
all the extension agents and field office staff to the capital and the already long invitation
list, it was determined that the focus of the event was intended to introduce CARE
In the creation of the tents, a local artist was hired to facilitate the construction of
the contents according to each proj ect manager' s conceptualization. The researcher, the
Comisi6n and the artist, met individually with each proj ect manager to assist with the
creation of the tent contents. Proj ect managers were accustomed to making poster
presentations when meeting with donors. Initially, many of the ideas revolved around
hanging these posters or photomontages inside of the tent. Great effort was extended to
conceptualize interactive or physical representations of the proj ects in the field. Once the
proj ect managers understood the concept, the Comision was forced to tactfully tone down
the ideas that were either prohibitively expensive or impractical.
The information posters, which were situated just outside of each tent, were created
from the input of each proj ect manager and existing proj ect literature. The editing process
was difficult as the literature existing for each proj ect was extensive. In order to keep a
consistent look throughout the event set up, the proj ect explanations had to be edited to
the poster's size.
To facilitate the movement of guests through the virtual trip, general and program
staffs were recruited to be "guides". This required that all participating staff be
knowledgeable of all the country office's current programming. The staff members were
included in planning meetings to help orient them to the representations that were created
for each proj ect as well as the opportunity to read program literature.
Throughout the event CARE employees were recognizable by the CARE logo-
bearing t-shirts, which they wore as a uniform. Initial discussion of this idea was met
with extreme skepticism on the part of virtually every member of the CARE Honduras
staff. It was deemed inappropriate for the staff members to dress in t-shirts at a formal,
evening event. Resistance to the idea led to extended discussions in event planning
meetings, and general expressions of distain by the staff. The Comision resorted to the
country director' s influence to mandate the "uniform".
Structured, In-depth Interview Data
Overview of the CARE Image
In interviewing CARE International USA management staff at the organization's
headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, themes emerged in the semiotic descriptions and
interpretations of the change process. Respondents were in general agreement about the
chronology of the evaluation of CARE' s positioning in the global market and the
resultant attention to the organization's global brand. The respondents identified several
issues in the evaluation, which led eventually to a brand assessment. First, CARE
recognized that its image was dated. Its reputation throughout the United States and most
of Europe was stable among those who remembered or could identify with the efforts of
the organization after World War II. Younger generations had difficulty identifying with
CARE beyond its famous CARE Packages@, and even then the packages referred more
to something their parents sent them while at summer camp than the war relief effort that
gave birth to the term. Second, in many countries where CARE works, the organization
was identified with only one or two of its proj ects--i.e., associations were made with
food distribution, agricultural proj ects or disaster relief. Throughout the globe CARE was
not able to maintain a united image as a humanitarian organization that addressed a
variety of social and humanitarian issues related to poverty.
Respondents related that CARE' s recognition of fundraising challenges also
resonated in a new direction for the organization of "the partner of choice" in the fight
against global poverty. The theme of partnership reflected a shift in emphasis toward
resource mobilization and the new vision and mission proj section of development work: in
conjunction with the local communities. CARE' s focus is also described as a "rights
based approach", empowering communities to attain their rights to necessities as human
beings. As a respondent described,
CARE seeks to assist poor communities throughout the developing world [by]
address[ing] the underlying or root causes of poverty. This also includes
discussions with communities about their interaction with their indigenous
government and the various institutions (financial, social, etc.) within their country.
Understanding the rights associated with their citizenship enable communities to
deepen their engagement with other parts of the society to accomplish the goal of
overcoming poverty. (Personal interview, LMichael Green, Director of Planning
and Strategic Analysis, External Relations, Feb. 20, 2004)
CARE recognized that part of the image discrepancy resulted from a strict
hierarchical structure that existed and that the organization sustained excess expenditures
and misinterpretation due to this structure. The traditional organizational model of
development work tends to be a top-down hierarchical structure. CARE began to analyze
this organizational management style as outdated in an organization that purports to
promote facilitating communities to provide for themselves. The result of its multiple
personalities and organizational structure was that many program efforts were not
receiving sufficient recognition to generate or maintain donor funding and many of the
programs could not reach potential beneficiaries, who were unaware of the variety of the
organization's program efforts.
Overview of CARE International USA Positioning Assessment
In 1990, one of the partners of McCann Erickson New York was a member of the
board of directors of CARE Intemnational USA. It was implied by one of the respondents
that someone in the CARE Executive Team must have been thinking along the lines of
the organization's marketing needs when this top advertising executive was recruited to
participate on the board of directors. The McCann Erickson representative offered its
company's services to CARE, pro-bono, to provide the organization with formative
market research, to analyze that information, and to suggest a potential communication
strategy to address the fundraising issues. Thus, the re-branding exercise (as referred to
by various research participants) of CARE International initially began as an attempt to
understand CARE Intemnational USA's fundraising issues.
Before the branding change, CARE had already begun to revaluate its international
message and its global structure. Approximately 20 years ago the organization had
created the international confederation now known as CARE International or CI. Until
recently, however, each member office maintained an individual vision and mission
statement. When McCann Erickson came on board with CARE in late 1998 this lack of
unity was among the first aspects addressed. A respondent expressed,
McCann Erickson came in and asked: "what's your vision and mission, CARE?",
cause that's got to be an input in determining what your brand is. And CI said well
gosh, we've all got different visions and missions, CARE USA has there's CARE
UK has there's. And so there was a halt in the process that says we've got to have a
common vision and mission before we can advance the brand. (Personal interview,
Adam Hicks, VP of Marketing and Communications, Feb. 18, 2004)
The unification of the CARE International member countries brought about the
realization that a common vision and mission statement was needed. The formation of
this collective vision and mission, according to Eric Dupree-Walker, Coordinator for
Strategic Planning and Analysis, in CARE USA' s Executive Area, was a key driver in the
reassessment of the organization' s image and identity as a whole.
McCann Erickson's research addressed donor constituents mainly disentangling the
perceptions of CARE in relation to other international aid organizations, filtering out the
distinguishing aspects of CARE' s work, and deciphering CARE' s target market. Keeping
in mind that the obj ective of McCann Erickson' s research was not necessarily to re-brand
the organization, they were addressing a fundraising issue; the branding exercise was an
outcome of the research.
Prior to the CI unification of vision and mission the confederation, as consistent
with CARE's programming focus created global units to address various issues with
regard to more successful and extensive programming. CARE International USA, while
pursuing its critical fundraising questions, recognized the potential benefit to the CI
members and CARE as a whole. CARE International then formed a global task force to
guide and assist McCann Erickson in its exploratory research. The task force consisted of
individuals from CARE International member offices and several country offices. The
task force also served as a preliminary approval committee in conjunction with the CARE
International USA board of directors.
McCann Erickson performed a "brand inventory" aimed at surveying images and
perceptions of CARE in relation to other international aid organizations as perceived by
current and potential donors. They also held 29 focus groups in the United States,
Canada, Germany, Denmark, Australia, and Japan in order to unveil image perceptions,
and giving behaviors across donor groups. The results of this research proved to be
instrumental in conveying to CARE International USA' s management and board of
directors the organization's scattered image and the low awareness and multiple images
of CARE' s work. The research also revealed donor perceptions of CARE as an
organization. The report revealed that donors perceived CARE as a large, traditional
organization and hence bureaucratic and "lumbering", empathetic, but not necessarily
effective, and that its humanitarian imagery is mostly confined to the Anglophone
markets due to the CARE package@ image.
McCann Erickson's research also focused on defining CARE's target market. The
multi-sectoral nature of the organization dictated several target publics. CARE was able
to define an overarching target market as what was termed the "Skeptical Progressive".
The target was described as a younger (35 yrs and older), professional, college educated
population. The understanding of this population was that organizational communications
had to recognize their intelligence yet appeal to their sense of emotion. Adam Hicks
reflected on the determination of the target market in this way:
Looking back on our brand exercise I would say that it was a positive stride for
CARE. But not sufficient to get us where we need to be. So we need to refine that
Skeptical Progressive target so that people who receive our communications know,
just by looking at it they say "this is talking to me. I'm supposed to advocate,
donate; I'm supposed to get involved with this organization because, CARE has
chose me because they know something about me and about what motivates me.
We've had trouble making that real enough for the skeptical progressive. So I
would say our central target that is in our brand architecture is still too broad and
we have to do more refinement on it. (Personal interview, Adam Hicks, VP of
Marketing and Communications, Feb. 18, 2004)
The New CARE Brandmark and Tagline
Respondents related various notions and connotations revealed during the
assessment of the previous CARE logo. It was noted that the green color and the use of
all capital letters portrayed a "militaristic" feel. For an organization that is generally
allowed country access due to its neutral stance and depended on its neutrality as a
"banner of protection" in conflict areas, this observation was salient. In the words of one
In donor focus groups one of the interesting learning's was that the green color and
the use of all capital letters in CARE's original logo inferred the following:
stenciling on a food crate, affiliation with the military or the government in some
way. Realizing that our focus has evolved significantly over the last decade we
sought to look for ways to modify our logo to address this inconsistency and make
the CARE brand more consistent with the CARE of 2002. (Personal interview,
LMichael Green, Director of Planning and Analysis, External Relations, Feb.20,
The previous CARE logo was also perceived to be old and traditional, not
proj ecting warmth or humanity. McCann Erickson' s partner company FutureBrand' s
redesign of the logo was not the first attempt to change CARE' s look. Approximately
eight years ago, the organization changed the logo color from a navy blue to the
subsequent green. Yet, no brand standards existed regarding the use and implementation
of the logo or CARE imagery. In many cases the original blue logo was still in use. The
result was an inconsistent use of the logo throughout the CARE offices, which became a
symbolic reflection of the inconsistent perceptions of CARE' s work.
The new logo was intended to convey that CARE 1) does not work alone, 2) is part
of a worldwide movement working to alleviate poverty, 3) is an evolving organization
and 4) a redefinition, better understanding of what poverty is. The logo and tagline
received a lot of attention from the CARE country offices. Yet, from the management
perspective, the logo and tagline were only a symbolic image of the more significant
changes within the organization. In the words of one respondent: "It was the period at the
end of the sentence". (Personal interview, anonymous respondent, Feb. 20, 2004).
Comments regarding the logo generally emphasized the concept of branding in
terms of "brand architecture", as the structure or guideline for the organization' s
marketing strategy. According to Adam Hicks, CARE as an organization had little
knowledge or acceptance of marketing terminology. Using the term and concept of brand
architecture alleviated some of the overall hesitancy. The brand architecture was
described as the structure of the marketing strategy. In his words:
What we still had to overcome, and still do to this day, is the notion that a brand is
a logo or a brand is a logo and a tagline whereas a brand is meant to be the guiding
force behind all our communications and so when I think of the brand, my mind
goes to the architecture, not to the logo or any creative piece. (Personal interview,
Adam Hicks, VP of Marketing and Communications, Feb. 18, 2004)
The tagline complicated the logo roll out on all levels of the organization. As was
noted in Honduras and other Latin American offices much emphasis and time were spent
attempting to translate the tagline. It became almost a preoccupation for the country
3 See Appendix C for examples of varying CARE International logo use.
offices. When reflecting on the experience Adam Hicks, commented that if he had it to
I would only change it by eliminating the tagline as part of CARE International
brand architecture all together. I would let each CI member develop their own
because translation becomes so difficult and arriving at something that works in
every language is just tougher than you can talk about. In the end what having a
tagline did was distracted everyone from the true meaning of the process, which
[was] developing a common language and look and feel for CARE. The tagline
became, in too many circles, the only thing that people talked about and distracted
people from what the real focus of the process was about. (Personal interview,
Adam Hicks, VP Marketing, Feb. 18, 2004)
Environmental Influences and Themes
Although CARE as an organization recognized the signs that change was necessary
to bolster their position in the market, the branding exercise was the organizations first
attempt to respond to the changes in their environment. Respondents were in general
agreement as to what external factors were identified as hindering the organization's
fundraising possibilities. Individually, each respondent generally cited the same external
factors that have created CARE's fundraising difficulties. It is assumed that McCann
Erickson' s previous research in this area and the dissemination of that information
influenced the general, collective understanding of the organization' s position.
Foremost in the comments was the reiteration of the level of competition: "The
recent proliferation ofNGOs and other nonprofit agencies working internationally has
resulted in a challenge for us to effectively communicate our unique message" (Personal
interview, LMichael Green, Director of Planning and Analysis, External Relations, Feb.
20, 2004). CARE' s mission is complex. The organization does not work with just one
niche group or address one single issue. For example, and organization like Save the
Children relates its message in its name. A donor may not know exactly what the
organization does but at least they know it is something to do with helping children.
CARE' s message is more complex. The organization strives to alleviate extreme
poverty. To do so, connotes involvement in all areas of the community where they work,
from addressing individuals' needs, education, infrastructure, and access to financial
institutions or even local government. The complexity of the message reflects a certain
extent of CARE' s organizational culture and exacerbates the ability to be heard in an
Other comments regarding the external influences included CARE's shrinking
donor pool and low consumer/donor awareness. Since CARE's inception, the
organization' s main donors have begun to dwindle. Due to CARE' s cultural and business
model, which emphasizes programming, little attention had been given to attracting new
CARE is a very academic organization that focuses heavily on the underlying
causes of poverty and how from a development perspective to "do no harm" to the
communities we seek to assist. While all donors play a key role in facilitating
CARE's work, our efforts [are] to ensure at least 90% of our annual expenditures
are available for use overseas, [the] result is CARE having less funding than we'd
like to invest [in] private donor acquisition activities. (Personal interview,
LMichael Green, Director of Planning and Strategic Analysis, External Relations,
Feb. 20, 2004)
The programming focus while admirable in the organization resulted in a variety
of conceptualizations of the organization itself. According to McCann Erickson' s
consumer/donor research, CARE was associated directly with the individual proj ects that
CARE implemented in the various places. From the view of marketing, communicating
the holistic CARE is complicated by the programming emphasis of the organization.
This is not a marketing driven organization, its not a fundraising driven
organization, this is a quality of programs driven organization. This is an
organization that's all about the quality of its product in the field. That' s a good
4 See appendix D for CARE's vision and mission statements
thing. You want that. But that makes it very difficult for marketers to do their j obs.
(Personal interview, Adam Hicks, VP of Marketing and Communications, Feb. 18,
Finally, the Director of Planning and Strategic Analysis, in External Relations
noted the relatively recent appearance of watchdog organizations' aimed at the nonprofit
sector, which has exacerbated the information overload for the consuming/donating
public. Although there are no official numbers, it is assumed that an ever-increasing
computer savvy public is accessing these websites from their homes or offices before
making their donation decisions.
Key Actions/ Internal Challenges
CARE' s revision and standardization of the CI vision and mission was the start of
its image and identity revaluation. McCann Erickson's subsequent research solidified, in
the minds of the management that change was indeed necessary. The formation of the
global task force served to give an overall representation of the areas where CARE
worked and to address the concerns of the various regions.
The market research and the new vision and mission statement led to a redefinition
of CARE' s "business" as an international development organization. One respondent
noted that the vision and mission statement was widely accepted and easy to identify
with, however, the terminology of marketing that followed in the brand evaluation was
unfamiliar and unconventional in CARE' s prior communications. "This was a push back
in the process" (Personal telephone interview, Eric Dupree-Walker, Coordinator,
Strategic Planning and Analysis, Executive Area, Feb. 23, 2004). She pointed out that in
SWatchdog organizations such as American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) and Charity Navigator are
generally website based offering descriptions of non-profit organizations and their financial accountability,
expense to program ratio etc. The service not only increases competition within the nonprofit sector it is
also vulnerable to its own lack of resources to fully investigate other nonprofits. In some cases there is a fee
for organizations to be "certified" by the website.
the nonprofit sector marketing terminology is still not widely accepted. Yet, as the
process went on, she noted, "it was clear that the branding change and marketing
emphasis was a roll out to support the revision of the vision and mission" (Personal
telephone interview, Eric Dupree-Walker, Coordinator, Strategic Planning and Analysis,
Executive Area, Feb. 23, 2004).
The introduction of the new brand was first made available via a website for CARE
global staff to access and provide feedback. The website was made available to all of the
CARE global offices through this website. It was estimated that given the multitude of
small country satellite offices and field staffs it probably only reached a few thousand of
CARE' s 12 thousand employees.
As I recall there were about 50 to 75 responses. That varied, all over the board.
...We knew that if you've got 75 pieces of feedback you' d get 75 different
opinions- We knew that would exist but what we were looking for was [if]
anything that came back would represent first, a preponderance of opinion that we
were going in the wrong direction there wasn't. Second, was there any single
piece of feedback that represented something that we hadn't thought of or
discovered that would represent a reason to kill the direction we were going, in
other words someone would say: "Oh the symbol of the hands you've got there,
I've seen that symbol of the hands somewhere and it means this in some other
language. (Personal interview, Adam Hicks, VP of Marketing and
Communications, Feb. 18, 2004)
Three respondents noted CARE' s particular manner of including the general staff
in decisions such as these. One respondent commented that CARE prides itself as being
an "open-access" organization. Where staff has a "voice" and hence they can take
"ownership" with the insinuation that the organization is inclusive and values their
opinions and inputs. "At CARE staff feel they have the ability to share their views and
perspective in a positive and constructive manner" (Personal interview, LMichael Green,
Director of Planning and Strategic Analysis, External Relations, Feb 20, 2004).
Eric Dupree-Walker, Coordinator of Planning and Analysis, In CARE' s Executive
Area commented that possibly CARE would have experienced less resistance, if they had
simply mandated the change. "Most businesses," she commented "don't ask for people's
opinions, but that' s not how CARE operates". Within the organization they strive for
consensus in decision-making. Adam Hicks, the VP of Marketing and Communications,
came to CARE after 12 years with Coca-Cola commented:
Coming from the Coca-Cola world, I can tell you, that not in a million years would
that kind of feedback be solicited. I have some pretty strong opinions about the
NGO world and some of the mistakes that it makes in communicating to staffers,
we tend to hold up the virtues of consensus decision making or the virtues of
transparency, well, the fact is in holding up those thing as ideals that we strive for
we create an expectation that we can never deliver against. You can never be
absolutely transparent. (Personal interview, Adam Hicks, VP of Marketing and
Communications, Feb. 18, 2004)
Further comments to this regard suggest that CARE communication effectiveness,
particularly internally, is still being addressed. Management of formal and informal
communications, protocols, and internal communication structures are still evolving. One
respondent suggested that in his opinion, CARE internal communications still "miss the
mark" as effective and controlled.
In summary, CARE' s re-branding exercise was an outcome of the organization' s
attempt to address its fundraising issues. In exploring donor behavior and awareness of
CARE the organization reverted to its fundamental identity and image as a potential
hindrance to reach their fundraising goals. The process provided CARE with the
opportunity to reassess its organizational goals and purpose. The result was a more
clearly defined and more specifically stated understanding of the organization' s essence;
the business of international development and the alleviation of global poverty.
The communication of this reorientation to organizational goals presented
challenges not only in physical implementation but also in emotional, cultural
constructions of the organization's identity, organizational identification, and image
within the minds of the employees as well as external audiences. CARE Honduras
exemplified a brief view as to the added complexities of national culture, identity and
image constructions in the CARE country offices.
The findings presented in this chapter were analyzed according to theme with
regard the studies research questions. The following chapter presents interpretations and
conclusions based on the combination of the participant observations and interview
INTERPRETATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
A comprehensive understanding of organizations includes an orientation toward
organizational identity and identification and the related concepts of image,
reputation and corporate branding. (Ravasi & Rekom, 2003)
This study's literature review and research findings explored the following
organizational aspects: 1) how nonprofit organizations exist in a changing marketplace;
2) how organizations change; 3) the ways in which identity, image, and culture affect
organizational change; 4) how these aspects of organizational change were evident in
CARE International's organizational identity change. This chapter attempts to explain
how the elements of organizational identity, identification, image, and culture were
revealed in CARE International and how the process of change intensified these elements
within the organization. This chapter is organized to first revisit the thematic areas of the
findings and relate the implications concurrent with theoretical positions. Secondly, this
chapter emphasizes the need for addressing these topics and suggestions for further
Nonprofit organizations, specifically international development organizations,
today find themselves in a complex marketplace. The growing number of nonprofit
agencies and the influx of profit businesses into the nonprofit realm have created a need
for nonprofit organizations to communicate more effectively in order to be recognized in
a marketplace where the bottom line may supersede humanitarian missions. While
fundraising has always been a part of nonprofit terminology and sustenance, the changes
in the general market have led these organizations to expand their conceptions and
acceptance of marketing and communication techniques. "When organizations of one
sector in the economy adopt methods ordinarily associated with another sector, it can be
illuminating to pause and examine particular components of that adoption process. ... So
it is with the borrowing of marketing concepts by public and nonprofit institutions ..."
(Fine quoted in Belk, 1987, p. 71). Nonprofit organizations today are employing
measures akin to the marketing and communications practices of their for-profit
neighbors, yet the in order to balance their organizational identities and philanthropic
missions nonprofits must approach the process fully informed of the potential levels of
acceptance both internally and externally.
The CARE International re-branding process encountered many issues throughout
its first three-year' s process. The change brought to the forefront many positive aspects of
the organization's identity, structure and organizational culture. Yet, in reviewing the
issues, it becomes clear that the organization overlooked several crucial aspects in its
initial change conceptualization and implementation. As a fundraising assessment
exercise, the deeper organizational constructs of identity, identification and the resulting
levels of resistance, became recognizable as the change was put into practice. The case of
Honduras exemplifies only a small example of communication and cultural aspects,
which may have been exacerbated in countries with more extreme cultural differences
than those separating Central America and the United States. It was in the globalizing of
the organization' s new brand, where aspects of the organization' s structure and the
country office's perceived autonomy, came into focus. The input of local knowledge was
essential for the localizing of the global brand yet it created conflict for the global
standardization of the organizations corporate image and identity.
CARE and McCann Erickson's initial brand assessment studies identified three key
areas where the organization focused its rebranding efforts: 1) the logo needed to be
updated to attract the attention of new generations of donors and invigorate the
organization's image; 2) the organization needed to be unified both in mission and in
image to proj ect a stable and effective humanitarian organization; 3) the organizational
structure was in need of an overhaul with a reorientation towards its goals. These three
driving aspects led to the global re-branding of CARE International, justifiable as
measures whose time had come. In retrospect, the implementation, communication, and
global considerations during the change, particularly in an organization of CARE' s size
and scope, however, may have been culturally and functionally narrow in focus.
Organizational Identity and Identification
Although theoretical attention to the organizational constructs of identity and
identification has still not reached an operational definitive as to what these constructs
actually entail, recognition of the social phenomena of group and individual identity in
organizations is indisputable (Ravasi & Rekom, 2003). The present study involved the
acknowledgment of several levels of identity in CARE International both on group and
individual levels. Identity constructs within CARE became prominent during the process
of change where the organization redefined itself thus, imposing a redefinition and
reorientation of organizational members and their relationship to the organization.
Foundational information disseminated with regard to the vision and mission statement
was widely and quickly accepted into the organization's understanding of itself. This
could be attributed to the general recognition that the revised and unified vision and
mission statements were seen to be directly and explicitly in-line with the overall
members' understanding of the organizations identity. In other words the vision and
mission simply articulated the organization's goals and perspective toward international
development work, which were generally understood, relevant, and in agreement with
previously held notions of who CARE Intemnational is.
On an individual level, international development work as well as other nonprofit,
mission based organizations, tend to attract individuals who hold similar values and
concerns to that of the organization. CARE International's staff can generally be
categorized by the genuine identification with the organizational focus on quality
programming directed toward finding sustainable solutions to global poverty. Similarly,
CARE' s current donors and newly targeted "skeptical progressive" audience largely
reflect similar core attributes of the general CARE staff.
Again, resistance became apparent on individual and group levels when the change
in the CARE marketing/communi cation approach, the adoption of marketing terminology
and the expense of rebranding the organization were perceived as being in conflict with
the organization's core values and nonprofit mission. And thus, affected individual
constructs of understanding and placement within the organization. Internal educational
programs and dissemination efforts aimed to alleviate this uncertainty and allowed for
feedback and input (thus inclusion in the processes). These programs were highly
successful, particularly on the management levels. Yet, recognition of the intensity of
identification through all organizational levels and concentrated effort to reach all
organizational staff were less comprehensive. The result was a degree of alienation on the
part of country office extension agents, administrative and program staffs, and the
necessity of country directors to themselves recognize and manage the cultural and
organizational dynamics that were triggered by the organizational change.
Organizational identity and identification in this case study were recognized as a
continual and changing process in agreement with several theoretical perspectives (Gioia
& Thomas, 1996; Dukerich, Golden & Shortell, 2002). Further, it was recognized as
organizational phenomena with potential motivational, functional, and resource building
consequences if ignored, and finally, it reinforced the strength of CARE International's
Organizational Image and Branding
The theoretical implications of organizational image in this case study align with
current management and business literature concerning corporate branding and the
terminology of "corporate identity". Organizational image itself has its foundations in the
internal perceptions of external organizational understanding and could well be affiliated
with the symbolic interpretation of the brand.
The present study's focus on the organizational branding of CARE International
was the impetus to the recognition of the constructs of organizational identity,
identification, and the reactionary resistance to organizational change. In the case of
CARE international the symbolic representation of the organization, the brand and the
tagline associated, brought to the surface individual and group identification with the
organization. The perceived notions of external acceptance and understanding of the new
logo and tagline resonated in: 1) reluctance due to the implied expense of re-branding,
both regarding the perceptions of external audiences, and the significance for the
organizations budget; 2) the affinity for the old logo and the insistence on incorporating
the old tagline; and 3) the preoccupation by the country offices to translate the new
tagline meaningfully in to native languages.
Organizational image and the brand can be understood as quantifiably separate
constructs. However, the interplay of the concepts in the organizational and management
literature dictate recognition of the potential effects that one has on another.
Organizational image is hence a dynamic organizational element. As noted by Gioia,
Shultz & Corely (2000), "...images themselves do not originate from some basic
organizational reality, but rather have been transformed though the pursuit of success in
an increasingly volatile and hypercompetitve marketplace (p. 72).
CARE International viewed its brand as essentially its image interpretation from
external publics. At the management level the new brand conceptualization was rich and
theoretically informed. Yet, knowledge transfer of this theoretical model with regard to
the highly symbolic identification with the brand was limited. Hence, some of the
practical, functional, and technical challenges in CARE International's brand change
could be attributed to a possible disconnect from the management level to the
interpersonal and field levels of the organization. Solberg (2002) noted, "One of the most
critical issues in global brand management is the trade-off between economies of scale
resulting from standardization and the cultural prerequisites of local adaptation" (p. 1).
Country offices established their own interpretations of the significance behind the brand
symbolism and derived individual explanations, particular to their country office
experiences to justify the change. Standardization of the brand fell victim, almost
immediately, to limited resources, technologies, and understanding in many countries.
Although the present case study did not focus on organizational culture constructs,
recognition of CARE International's culture became apparent though various aspects of
the organization's process of identity change. It is impossible to say that CARE
International has one organizational culture, as every country office maintains individual
cultural aspects in communications strategy and office interactions. However, an
organizational-wide intellectual emphasis toward quality programming to alleviate
poverty and a consensus building approach to organizational decisions could be
distinguished as cultural characteristics of the overarching organization. These value
orientations are reflective in the organization's communication process. As is apparent in
the numerous and lengthy staff meetings as well as the magnitude of program related
studies and organizational strategies put to paper.
CARE International embarked upon the change in identity consistent with their
interpretation of open-access and transparent values. The management' s solicitation for
feedback at the varying levels and stages of the identity change process align with the
organization' s approach of member integration. Observations by the researcher however,
allude to the interpretation that communication strategies may still be somewhat tied to
the hierarchical orientation of the organization's structure. Organizational culture is
intrinsically tied to its str-ucture with regard to communication processes. How
information and knowledge transpires throughout an organization is largely reflective of
the construction of organizational hierarchies. For example, in accordance with
Hofstede's cultural relevance studies the Latin American region displayed high power
i Geert Hoftede's seminal (1980) study of cultural dimensions compared various national cultural
perspectives in organizations and management practices.
distance, low uncertainty avoidance and collectivist cultural dimensions (Hofstede,
1980). CARE International in Honduras' staff was hesitant to question the organizational
motives behind the change or voice concerns over its implementation to the country
office management. Likewise, country offices were few in their participation in the
feedback process to the headquarters of CARE Intemnational USA, which may have been
residual effects of the organizations original hierarchical structure (or perceived structure)
given that CARE USA spearheaded the change.
National conceptualizations of marketing and communication processes also
created challenges in information dissemination and standardization in branding
implementation across the globe. CARE Intemnational in Honduras was a prime example
of functional and technical limitations as well as a relevant perspective of organizational
culture as tied to national culture.
Organizational Change In CARE International
Image and identity and culture are noted to be constructs that organization members
hold in their minds, thus, individuals actively screen and interpret organizational issues
and actions. The consistency or inconsistency of these constructs "help to explain when,
where and how individuals become motivated to push for or against organizational
initiatives" (Dutton & Dukerich, 1991, p. 550). CARE International in attempting change
on a global level found challenges in their communication strategy. The approach from
CARE USA attributed intellectual respect to the country directors in allowing them
autonomy in the implementation of the new identity, image, and brand in the country
offices. This perspective may be attributable to the organization's structure of autonomy
for the country offices in general. Though it is notable that this same approach may have
been a strategy, which led to CARE International's original problem of inconsistent
brand usage and image perception worldwide. Country offices strived to make the new
brand part of their own identity and the global standardization of the brand suffered.
Possibly the conflict arose due to organizational structural confusion where prior to this
change the country offices were able to make their own decisions based on the national
cultures where they were based. Now the new brand was at once being mandated for use
within the standards, while at the same time allowing the country offices to interpret
appropriate implementation in their countries. Possibly, the limits of the country office
autonomy, in relation to the brand, were not clearly communicated.
Both the content and the mode of change in CARE Intemnational reflect that of the
revolutionary change mode. Long before the branding conceptualization, the
organization's exploration of identity was embodied by the change in vision and mission.
The evolution that followed was implemented in a brief two-year period (a spec of time
in organization' s life). The restricted resources of the nonprofit, as is most likely the case
in similar organizations, obligated CARE Intemnational to approach the change with an
abbreviated time frame. The ensuing rush to implement the new brand in country offices
may have given rise to stronger feelings of resistance as there were limited time and
resources to fully educate all levels of staff as to the organization's overarching brand
architecture. It is noteworthy to point out the considerable openness of CARE
International staff to new ideas and betterment of the organization as a whole. CARE
Honduras staff, once fully informed, quickly became champions and even defendants of
the new organizational image, identity, and brand2. This is highly attributable to CARE's
2 For example: The launch event in Honduras was originally titled "Entra y Conoce el Mundo de CARE"
(Enter and Get to Know the CARE World). However, organizational members quickly observed the
potential arrogance of the title and the implied exclusion of CARE's many partners and insisted on the
communications culture of consensus building. While potentially hindering to the
organization, (decisions are discussed at length and are often slow to implement), the
approach provides the members with a valuable sense of ownership and value within the
Observations of Brand Implementation and Technical Issues
CARE International's global structure includes smaller country offices many of
which were neither technically capable nor design-savy enough to understand and
implement the new brand standards and Eile formats provided on the compact disks (CDs)
from the Atlanta Headquarters. The complexity of the new logo design required some
graphic design familiarity to successfully reproduce it according to the brand standards
and many Hield and country offices simply did not have the manpower or experience to
do so. Most Hield ounces, as in the case of CARE International in Honduras, do not have
in house communications, public relations, or graphic design staff. Almost immediately,
the "unified" and "standardized" new brand was presented in less than optimal ways.
To further exacerbate this particular issue of the logo, most small country offices,
among them those in Honduras and El Salvador, do not maintain the operational funding
necessary to produce high-quality printed materials, purchase fonts or color correct
pantones and often lack the orientation and knowledge to know the difference.
Remembering, once again, the programming focus of the organization, proj ect managers
often created their own materials. Frequently, the logo was faxed or photocopied almost
to the point that it was impossible to discern the design of the "community of hands" or
in many cases the logo was digitally stretched or squashed to meet desired positioning in
brochures or presentations. Use of the brand in manipulated ways lost the significance of
the individualized hands, the symbolism of unity as illustrated by the logo. This may have