Navigating relative invariance: Perspectives on corporate heritage identity and organizational heritage identity in an evolving nonprofit institution

Zoe Lee, Iain Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


The notion of relative invariance is highlighted as a foundational principle in how corporate heritage identity traits can remain the same, yet change in meaning over time. Yet, little is published regarding how this notion manifests, or how corporate heritage stewards manage it in identity challenging situations. Utilizing a case study of one of the UK's oldest cancer charities, we highlight how two groups of protagonists - heritage defenders and service innovators -shape the meaning of corporate heritage identity over time. We explore four core tensions that expose the multifaceted and complex nature of relative invariance and identify specific integration and compartmentalization strategies utilized to restore balance, allowing for the continued meaningfulness of corporate heritage identity. Overall, our study advances the notion of relative invariance, providing a more complete understanding of stewards' affinity toward corporate heritage and extending the field of corporate heritage identity into the nonprofit sector.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date11 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jun 2019


  • Corporate heritage identity
  • Multiple heritage identities
  • Nonprofit branding
  • Organizational heritage identity
  • Relative invariance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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