Does your organization have an unhealthy identity?
Abstract: Issue of study: The Swedish dairy company Vattnadahl is currently going through extensive changes, battling new market demands and internal reorganizations. As a consequence, the organization is facing challenges related to its organizational identity. From a theoretical perspective, organizational identity consists of an internal and an external part that together dynamically construct the identity. In case of an unbalance between the internal and the external part, there is a risk of impairing the organizational health. This effect is not, however, further investigated in existing theory. Purpose: The main purpose of this study is to gain insights into how a temporary disassociation between the internal and the external definition of organizational identity is affecting organizational health. Further, the sub-purpose is to illustrate Vattnadahl in the light of identity dynamics and from this investigate if those with power within an organization have greater influence of the identity balance. Methodology: This study was conducted from a qualitative and inductive approach and was performed as a case study at Vattnadahl. From this, collection and compilation of empirical data at Vattnadahl initiated the study. Subsequently, a literature study was conducted in order to explain the phenomena found at Vattnadahl. Finally, the case company was analyzed from an analytical framework developed by the authors. Conclusions: Summarizing the study, it can be concluded that Vattnadahl has an unbalanced identity strongly influenced by their external image. Consequently, the organization is experiencing the dysfunction of hyper-adaptation, which is affecting their organizational health. This effect can be compiled into six unhealthiness factors; stress, frustration, confusion, lack of pride, anxiety, and lack of initiative. Furthermore, it can be concluded that those with power within Vattnadahl have a greater influence on the identity balance compared to other employees. The thesis also provides a development of the construction of possible dysfunctions occurring from an unbalanced identity, by questioning the existing definitions and nuancing the concepts. The nuancing of the concepts is divided into two perspectives; a stakeholder perspective and a nuanced grading perspective. The stakeholder perspective implies that the dysfunction could differ depending on which stakeholder that is in focus of the analysis. The nuancing grading perspective indicates a possibility for dysfunctions to simultaneously exist, but in different strengths, such as softer or stronger.
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