The strength of organisational identification indicates the level to which the employees identify and agree with the goals, mission and values of the organisation they work in. Organisation identification is a key indicator of things like employee commitment to the organisation or company, loyalty, intention to leave and a host of other indicators.
Organisational identification is good isn’t it?
Up until now it has always been assumed that the greater the organisation identification, the better. A new study looks at whether this is true and whether there is an optimum level of organisational identification.
A new study examined 162 SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) to test what might be the optimum level of organisational identification.
The researchers found firstly that organisational identification stems from the feeling of connection someone has based on an organisation’s ‘history, traditions, symbols, practices and philosophy’.
99% of everything you are trying to do...
...has already been done by someone else, somewhere - and meticulously researched.
Get the latest research briefings, infographics and more from The Oxford Review - Free.
The greater the sense of connection or organisational identification the more likely the members are to promote and assist the direction in which the organisation is heading and help with its development.
A simple example is that of a national postal delivery operator whose job has been to deliver mail for several decades. Being a postman or woman has been a job in which people invest great pride and self-identity.
Strength of organisational identity
The researchers were interested in the strength of organisational identification held by employees and the effect this has on productivity and other outcomes in a range of scenarios.
When you can be too aligned with the organisation
Whilst the researchers’ findings were in line with those predicted, greater organisational identification leads to better outcomes in normal operating conditions, they also discovered that, in certain situations, having a strong organisational identification actually hinders the organisation and its development.
The problem arises “When the external environment changes and necessitates the movement of the organisation from one identity to another, organisational members find this transition difficult to undertake.”
For example, postal operators around the world are seeing their letter mail volumes plummet and are having to change rapidly to ensure their survival. In Royal Mail’s case, for instance, change to the organisational identity is being forced upon it by the pressures to survive the world of email and e-commerce. Where email is killing off its mail business, e-commerce is giving it an amazing opportunity. Too strong an organisational identity and the organisation would not be able to flex and change rapidly enough. Too weak an organisational identification leads to a lack of commitment in times of change and difficulty.
What the researchers discovered is that optimal organisational identification requires that the organisation’s members are constantly, or at least periodically, reviewing both their own and the organisation’s goals, mission and values in the context of the environment they are in. This requires a level of conscious appraisal, cognitive and emotional flexibility, continual discussion and emotional resilience.
Reference – available to members
Be impressively well informed
Get the very latest research intelligence briefings, video research briefings, infographics and more sent direct to you as they are published
Be the most impressively well-informed and up-to-date person around...