“We address this opportunity by examining organizational ghosts, former organizational members who become the ideal prototype of an organization’s values and identity. Drawing on qualitative data from an organizational merger, our analysis revealed that admired and adored leaders with broad exposure became embodied organizational prototypes. After organizational exit, they became organizational ghosts, institutionalized by associative learning, perpetuated practices, and physical memory work. When activated—either intentionally or organically—these ghosts had “ghostly encounters” (remembered and imagined) with remaining members that safeguarded the organization, comforted organizational members, and devalued alternative value systems.”
Organizational Ghosts: How “Ghostly Encounters” Enable Former Leaders to Influence Current Organizational Members. Academy of Management Journal.