Image is everything: Reflections on the dominance of image in modern organizational life

Dennis A. Gioia, Aimee L. Hamilton, Shubha D. Patvardhan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Scopus citations


We develop the notion of image as a "covering concept," one that subsumes several major ideas in organization study. We draw on a number of literatures, including social psychology, marketing/branding, political science and organization studies, to make the case that "image is everything." We consider not only the pervasiveness of image, but also the power of image including its transformational potential for altering the character of even our most fundamental concepts in personal and organizational study, including identity. We articulate two major theses: (1) image harbors the power to transform substance into image, and more radically that (2) image can itself become substantive. We therefore articulate not only a substance. →. image transformation, but also an image. →. substance transformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-154
Number of pages26
JournalResearch in Organizational Behavior
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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