Original Research

Critically problematising existing organisational identity theory against practice: Part 1 – The thinking framework of organisational identity

Theo H. Veldsman, Dieter Veldsman
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 46 | a1799 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v46i0.1799 | © 2020 Theo H. Veldsman, Dieter Veldsman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 March 2020 | Published: 22 July 2020

About the author(s)

Theo H. Veldsman, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Management and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Dieter Veldsman, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Management and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Organisations are embedded in an emerging, radically and fundamentally changing world of work is forcing them to consider deeper issues such as who are we? and why do we exist?

Research purpose: To problematise critically the current organisational identity (OI) literature’s power to provide deep insight into practice based findings resulting from an OI intervention in a major global, South African organisation. Part 1 covers the research purpose and approach; describes the large-scale OI intervention reported on; and problematises critically the thinking framework of OI: its meta-theoretical lenses, vocabulary and meta-theoretical framework.

Motivation for the study: In this world, OI has become critically important as a secure and referent anchor.

Research approach/design and method: Conventional or non-conventional grounded theory was utilised. We moved the data generated from the lived, enacted experiences of participants to existing theory and then used the generated findings to question OI theory by validating in an exploratory manner it to expose the current literature’s strengths, weaknesses and blind spots from a practice or practitioner’s power of understanding vantage point.

Main Findings: From a practice perspective, the OI literature was highly relevant, robust and valid in making sense of and giving meaning to what was observed during the OI intervention. However, practice-wise, a number of significant weaknesses also were uncovered.

Practical/managerial implications: The current IO literature proved with some limitations to be of practice utility.

Contribution or value-add: Theoretical and practical recommendations were made to strengthen the existing OI literature from a practice perspective.


Keywords

grounded theory; organisational identity; individual identity; practice-problematised theory; qualitative research.

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