The Relational Ecology of Identification: How Organizational Identification Emerges When Individuals Hold Divergent Values
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Besharov, Marya L.
This research builds on theory about how identification develops when members differ in which organizational values they hold to be important. It is relatively well established that conflict and dis-identification arise under such conditions. In the socially responsible retail company I studied, in contrast, I found identification as well as dis-identification. Both outcomes emerged from members’ interactions with others whose values and behaviors differed from their own. Identification arose when managers interpreted and enacted organizational values for frontline employees by developing integrative solutions, removing ideology, and routinizing ideology. Dis-identification developed in the absence of these practices. The resulting process model suggests a relational ecology of identification, in which identification emerges from the combination of bottom-up interactive processes among organizational members and top-down interpretations and enactments by managers. This model advances under- standing of the relational dynamics of identification, offers new insight into how organizations can benefit from multiple identities, and illuminates the double-edged sword of ideology in organizations.
Academy of Management
organizational identification; dis-identification; organizational values
Previously Published As
Besharov, M. L. (2014). The relational ecology of identification: How organizational identification emerges when individuals hold divergent values. Academy of Management Journal, 57(5):1485-1512.
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