Defining Who You Are By Everything You're Not

Published: 08th May 2020
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Through two exploratory studies, we develop and test an introductory framework of "organizational disidentification." Our first study explores the notion of organizational disidentification through a qualitative investigation of cognitive relationships using the National Rifle Association (NRA). Findings indicate that organizational disidentification is a self-perception based on: (1) a cognitive separation between one's identity as well as the organization's identity, and (2) a negative relational categorization of oneself and the organization (e.g., categorizations such as "rivals" or "opponents"). Organizational disidentification appears to be prompted by people' desires to both affirm positive distinctiveness by distancing themselves and avoid negative distinctiveness and negative stereotypes attributed to an organization. Our findings also suggest that organizational disidentification can lead people to take actions (either volunteer work or voicing their view) as a consequence of the perceived separation from the corporation 's individuality. Results of our second study --a large-scale survey of public attitudes about the NRA--provide support with this framework. If someone strongly identifies with the organization, his or her social identity includes a significant overlap together with the individuality of that organization. According to this outlook, organizational identification is indicated by self-perceptions of "oneness" with all the organization (Mael and Ashforth 1992).A growing amount of literature indicates that organizational identifications are important because of their consequences for both individuals' and organizations' well being. In the individual level, lots of research on societal identifications implies that identification with a positively perceived social group or organization enhances a person's self-esteem, self-distinctiveness, and self-continuity (Hogg and Abrams 1988, Dutton et al. 1994). Recent studies also show that identification provides advantages to the organization by increasing members' long-term dedication and support for the organization (Bhattacharya et al. 1995; O'Reilly and Chatman 1986; Adler and Adler 1988; Mael and Ashforth 1992, 1995). Recent research indicates that such antecedents seem to improve organizational identification by strengthening person's cognitive links to the organization (Dutton et al. 1994).Together these findings about the indexes, results, and antecedents of social and organizational identification supply an apparently complete framework of people' connections to their organizations. Yet this research hasn't discussed the possibility that individuals' social identities and self-concepts are explained by the groups or organizations where they perceive their individualities to be separated. That's, for the most part (see Elsbach 1999 and Dukerich et. al. 1998 for exceptions) identity researchers haven't analyzed the theory of organizational disidentification. Additionally, no research has examined organizational disidentification.

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