Identification boosts conflicts

Identification boosts conflicts.

A managerial paradox

A critical and complex perspective in managing business organizations’ identities dynamics

Dario Simoncini, Marinella De Simone

Abstract

In business organizations people are often engaged in groups within which they are solicited to identify themselves, stressing similarities with in-group members, in opposition with other groups with different traits, implementing a divide between people involved in different identifications. Power, control and conflict dynamics between social groups are widespread in our business organizations; a growing interest is witnessed in studying these dynamics from a Critical Management Studies (CMS) perspective. These studies are unified by an anti-performative stance, and a commitment to reflexivity; according to these stance and commitment, our aim in this paper is to start a critical reflection in organizational and management studies upon the business widespread practice of identity regulation and identification.

Identity and identification are basically considered in organizational studies as interchangeable concepts belonging to the same conceptual domain: identification with a group or, in general, with the organization tends to be a form of ‘reification’ of the social group and of the firm itself, considering them as real entities. Groups and organizations are somewhat crystallized by their topic elements, thus the necessity to stress similarities and sharpen others’ differences, creating boundaries to separate one from the other and trying to idealize one’s membership as a way of self-enhancement.

Our claim is that identification boosts conflicts, and we suggest to address identities dynamics from a complex perspective, focusing on the processes instead of the entities, allowing ‘relational identities’ to emerge from interactions of the agents involved in the organization.

We start focusing on identification and identity issues in business organizationsand their general application in management practices; in the second part of the paper, we explore from a critical perspective the implications deriving from these managerial practices and how these practices may foster conflicting relations with their inclination towards a positivist and reductionist approach. Finally, we consider what constitutes a new approach, founded on addressing power, control and conflict dynamics from a complex perspective to overcome possible conflicts between groups and generations in business organizations. (Marinella De Simone, Dario Simoncini)


Identification boosts conflicts.

A managerial paradox

A critical and complex perspective in managing business organizations’ identities dynamics
Dario Simoncini, Marinella De Simone
NUOVA ATLANTIDE 2012/2, pagg. 101:118

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