On SAGE Insight: Making connections: A process model of organizational identification

From Human Relations

Organizational identification is conventionally defined as a sense of oneness. Yet this is static and inhibits a process view of identification, in which organizational identity is continuously adjusted. This paper asks the question: how is organizational identification discursively constructed?  A process model was developed to explain how identification occurs in stages through four types of connection. These types of connection cumulatively have the effect of changing the way members and stakeholders identify with the organization and how they view their responsibilities. When members do not feel they or their colleagues are useful, they experience their identities as devalued and disconnect and disidentify from them or from their organization. Social interaction and ‘strong intragroup relationships’ are used for encouraging feelings of affiliation and organizational identification by external stakeholders. The identification process observed was occurring progressively over a sequence of the four types of identification.

Abstract

Organizational identification is conventionally defined as a sense of oneness. Yet this is static and inhibits a process view of identification, in which organizational identity is continuously adjusted. Most studies of organizational identification are of members and not stakeholders, despite evidence that suggests that stakeholders have a significant role and that organizational identity and image are reciprocally connected. We ask the question: how is organizational identification discursively constructed? We suggest that stakeholders play a key role in organizational identification processes. The forward movement of the process, from Performative to Instrumental to Interactional to Reciprocal, is one of reinforcement in which soft power enrols a virtuous circle of willing support. The backward movement of the process, from Reciprocal to Interactional to Instrumental to Performative, is one of functional justification involving hard power as coercion by communicating the organization’s expectations to the individual.

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Article details
Making connections: A process model of organizational identification
John AA Sillince, Ben D Golant
First Published November 21, 2017
DOI: 10.1177/0018726717733528
From Human Relations

 

     
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