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Organizational identification (OID) is the degree of shared values, goals, desires, and aims between a person and an organization. The level of organizational identification between employees and a company or between members and a group, can be crucial to the success of an organization. In order to promote OID, entities must take care to meet the needs and desire for personal fulfillment of each individual member. An overly strong sense of organizational identification, however, can have consequences, as members may feel pressured to take part in unethical behavior, or be afraid to blow the whistle on inappropriate actions.
A person with a high level of OID will feel that, in general, his or her sense of self is tied to the organization. If a company performs well, employees may feel a sense of personal pride. Similarly, if an organization such as a high school football team has a disastrous game, members with high OID may feel personally ashamed. The more an individual feels that his or her self-worth and personality is linked to the identity and performance of the group, the stronger the emotional bond and devotion to the group grows.
OID is important to many different types of organizations, as the level of identification can greatly affect performance, day-to-day operations, and the future of the group. When employees feel strongly connected to the workplace, they may be less likely to take sick days or seek other employment, and may work harder to achieve company goals. Devoted members may be more likely to stick with an organization through hard times, rather than jump ship at the first sign of trouble.
Building and maintaining a healthy level of organizational identification is an important task of many groups. Generally, the key to improving OID is making individuals feel that they are personally important to the group, and that their personal values are reflected in the actions of the organization. Employee morale programs, job perks, a strong presence of core values, and a historical reputation of fairness and good management-worker relationships can all help improve the level of identification between members and the group.
In extreme situations, too much organizational identification can be harmful to an business or group. If the sense of group mentality grows too strong, employees may feel extreme pressure to place the group above personal ethics, or even the law. Organizations must guard against members who would seek to take advantage of the strong dedication individuals feel for the group; allowing unethical or illegal behavior to continue out of a sense of loyalty to the company can damage the long-term future of the entire entity.