Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication



Major Advisor

Natalie Nelson-Marsh


This thesis examines the taken-for-granted processes of both identification and disidentification with corporate messages. Theories of identity and identification aided as a starting place in developing a focus for this study and Bakhtin’s dialogism perspective provided a lens for understanding how people’s word choices in their interviews worked as performances of identification and disidentification in the world of the Mokum Corporation, a nationwide company operating in the financial industry. The findings from this study challenge the idea that a corporation controls employee identification. Rather, while the messages from a corporate office can influence what meanings are out for employees to interpret, at the local level interpretation of these messages provides a moment with the potential for either identification or disidentification. When corporate messages conflict with the symbolic meanings interpreted in local management practices, these are moments that can actually lead to divergence and dysfunctional work places.