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Identity Regulation as a Form of Organizational Control

Info: 4400 words (18 pages) Dissertation
Published: 6th Dec 2019

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Tagged: Psychology


I have decided to opted “Identity regulation in organisations is a form of control that needs to be acknowledged in order to encourage the emancipation of workers”. But before starting my assignment i would like to go through that what Organization is and what’s the real truth behind Organizational Behaviour. Organizations are inescapable features of modern social experience for all human beings. From the remotest village high in the Himalayan foothills to life in a lager metropolis, organizations impact on all aspect of human experience. Now we come to that what organizational behaviour actually is:-

Organizational behaviour provides one of the mainstream approaches to the study of management and organizations. Its main sphere of interest is anything relevant to the design, management and effectiveness of an organization, together with the dynamic and interactive relationships that exist within them.

Hawthorne studies

This theory was directed by Elton Mayo during the late 1920s and early 1930s. These studies first highlighted the complexity of human behaviour in an organizational setting. This on turn led to recognition of the importance of the social context within which work occurred and of the ways in which groups become a significant influence on individual behaviour.

Ref: organizational behaviour and management john martin third edition

The Meaning of Organizational Behaviour

Organizational behaviour is one of the most complex and perhaps least understood academic elements of modern general management, but since it concerns the behaviour of people within organizations it is also one of the most central, its concern with invidual and group patterns of behaviour makes it an essential element in dealing with the complex behaviour issues thrown up in the modern business world.

Ref: (Financial times Mastering management series)

First we are going to start with the Management as an integrating activity;-

Management as an integrating activity

Management is the cornerstone of organizational effectiveness, and is concerned with arrangement for the carrying out of organizational processes and the execution of work.

According to Drucker, it is the management that enables the organization to contribute a needed result to society, the economy and the invidual.

Ref:-management and organizational behaviour 5th edition

“The fact is that management ultimately depend on an understanding of human nature.I suggets it goes much further than that. In the first place, good management depends upon the acceptance of certain basic values. It cannot be achieved without honesty and integrity, or without consideration for the interests of others. Secondly, it is the understanding of human foibles that we all share, such as jealousy, envy, status, prejudice, perception, temperament, motivation and talent which provides the greatest challenge to managers.

Ref: – HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Institute of Management Patron.

The psychological contract

One significant aspects of the relationship between the invidual and the organization is the concept of the psychological contract. This is not a written document, but implies a series of mutual expectations and satisfaction of needs arising from the people-organization relationship. It involves a process of giving and receiving by the invidual and by the organization. The psychological contract covers a range of expectations of rights and privileges, duties and obligations, which donot form part of a formal agreement but still have an important influence on people behaviour.

Invidual`s Expectations

  • Provide safe and hygienic working conditions
  • Make every reasonable effort to provide job security
  • Attempt to provide challenging and satisfying jobs and reduce alienating aspects of work.
  • Adopt equitable personnel policies and procedures.
  • Treat member staff with respect.

These expectations are notwithstanding any statutory requirement placed upon the organization. Instead they relate more to the idea of social responsibilities of management.

The organization will also have implicit expectations of its member, for example:-

  • To accept the ideology of the organization
  • To work diligently in pursuit of organizational objectives
  • Not to abuse goodwill shown by the management
  • To uphold the image of the organization
  • To show loyalty.

The organization side of the psychological contract places emphasis on expectations, requirement and constraints which often differ from, and may be in conflict with ,an Invidual`s expectations.

Ref:-Laurie j Mullins management and behaviour

The case study below shows the true picture of the psychological contract and it s nature:-

Case study: – Disgruntled mice turn on fat cats

Rhetoric about employee being vital corporate assets is sounding increasingly hollow writes John Plender.

After years of downsizing, delaying and re-engineering, a punch-drunk British workforce hardly looks ready for a return to confrontational industrial relation. Yet the strike at British Airways, complete with management pressure and inter-union rivalry, raises question. Is this the first sign of a shift in power back to the workers as labour market condition tightens? And have managers become complacement in their attitudes to the workforce?

The British Airways saga admittedly looks more of a throwback than a forward indicator. Most occupants of British boardrooms would vehemently reject charges of complacency or macho management. Yet there is evidence that business leaders are failing to carry employee with them as they continue to restructure. The standard rhetoric about `empowered` employee being vital corporate assets rings increasingly hollow.

Consider recent data from International Survey Research (ISR), a leading consultant whose employee opinion survey covers 450 companies in 18 countries. Some finding in its survey, such as the free –fall in feelings of employment security throughout Europe, are predictable enough. Nor is it surprising that stakeholders-type economics like Switzerland, Norway and the Netherlands tend to have the the most contented workforces. The UK`S ignominious position- second only to Hungary at the bottom of the league for employee satisfaction- will no doubt be dismissed as British workers enjoying a moan. And the fact that UK management is judged less favourably by employee than managers are rated elsewhere will prompt a similar response.

Yet when ISR`s work is looked at over a period of years, it is easily brushed aside. Take the progressive year-on-year collapse in the morale of the UK workforce since 1990. The trend is odd because it defies the logic of the economic cycle. Recovery has brought deterioration, not improvement. Also odd is the workforce’s view of management, at the depths of the recession earlier in the decade, UK employee, though generally dissatisfied, were still taking quite a favourable view of the managers compared with the rest of the Europe.

Today, despite a marked increased in the rate of UK earning growth, disillusionment appears total. The clue with the ISR survey published at the end of 1995.This revealed that workers attitudes had suffered `the most prepitate decline` of any European country over the previous 10 years. Motivation and commitment to the company were lower than in the strife-torn days of the mid-1970s.

The timing is significant because this was the first survey after the notorious British Gas Annual General Meeting at which the investment institute sanctioned a much increased pay-package for Mr.Cedric Brown-this when profits were substantially below their five years earlier, customer service was deteriorating and employee were being shed in larger numbers. The message is clear enough. Far from being a little local difficulty in the privatised utilities, the `fat cat` pay saga had a much wider demoralising impact which is still being felt.

It does not follow that British workers are about to the picket lines en masse. As long as insecurity is endemic, and the main legislative reforms of the past 18 years remain intact, the union will not resume their former mantle. Nor does the government of Mr Tony Blair, a personal friend of BA chief Executive , Mr Bob Ayling, appear keen to take an active role in the dispute at BA. There is also a wide spread view that employee satisfactions a key performance indicator. Yet survey feels dimishing loyalty.

In effect a contract which views the employee as assets and a cost has an innate tension. If it operate operates against the back ground of ever widening pay differentials between shop floor and board, or runs into the BA style of management, it may become untenable.

There is a growing recognition among economist that trust is a valuable commodity. At national level- as in the stakeholder’s economics metioned earlier- it can enhance growth. When it exists between the various stakeholders in a business it reduces transaction costs and enhances competitive advantage.

If British business wants to achieve the highest standards of quality in internationally tradable products and services on a sustainable basis, it badly needs to absorb this lesson.

Source-Financial times, 12 July 1997.

Critically Analysing the meaning of Work, Motivation and Commitment

Work organizations can be understood not only as environments in which people produce work, but also “places where work produces people”. Hence, any discussion of what people want or need out of work (particularly paid employment) cannot be isolated from the context of that work environment. The experience of working in a particular organization can itself produce wants and needs in the worker.

Unfortunately, the personality and the motivation theories described everywhere are based on much simpler models of human behaviour. These tend to view the person as possessing a certain set of psychological characteristics which are brought into work each day. The idea that these change through interaction with others in the organization is rarely touched on.

Another aspect of the two-pronged approach to the analysis of Invidual`s behaviour by organizational psychological is a tendency to restrict the subject matter to more less quantifiable elements of behaviour and to those aspects of behaviour which are predictable and controllable from a managerial point of view.

Ref: J martin Corbett

Baritz,1960 and Hollway , 1991 and indeed, Thompson and McHugh (1990) argue that “the true paradigm of the organizational psychologist is that of ensuring `effective resource use`: supplying advice, recourses and training which are aimed at assisting organization in efficiency managing the conflict and resistance which is a predictable consequence of hierarchically organised production.”

Ref: Baritz, L (1960) Servants of power, Middletown: Wesleyan University Press

Hollway, W (1991) Work Psychology and Organizational Behaviour, London: sage

Thompson, P. and McHugh, D. (1990) Work organizations: A Critical Introduction. London: Macmillan

Employee Commitment: on becoming a torturer

What kind of person becomes a torturer? For many people it would seem obvious that only psychopaths and cranks would wish to pursue such a career. Yet, torture is currently practised by one government in three and these governments experience little or difficulty in recruting torturers. Are there really sufficient numbers of sadist ready, able and willing to take on such a job, or are there other factors which contribute to the creation of a torturer?

There is no hard evidence that torturers are psychopaths or sadist. On the contrary, there is evidence that such people are usually screened out during the selection and recruitment process. Thus, to some extent at least, torturers are selected and recruited from ordinary people:

“A deranged person who receives gratification primilary from feeling of power or from personally inflicting pain on other is usually too unreliable to be counted on by authorities to follow orders”.

Ref: J. Martin Corbett

Based on the studies of torturers employed by the State during 1967-74 military dictatorship of Greece, the psychologist Haritos-Fatoutos argues that three situational factor foster the creation of a torturer, namely: training, incremental participation and socialisation, and economic and symbolic reward.


The first phase of training involves group bonding and isolation from the outside world. In case of the torture, this is achieved by placing recruits in remote training camps and putting them through numerous initiation rites.

Haritos- Fatoutos describe how the use of euphemism by the trainers helped Greek recruits reinterpret their behaviour. For example, “tea party” referred to a “beating with fists and “tea party with toast” described a “beating with heavy wooden clubs”. The use of such euphemistic language is , of course, common practice in organizations to put a gloss on unpleasant reality- from the Nazi Party’s “Final Solution” , through the CIA’s `executive action`, to the `downsizing ` and ` rationalisation` of contemporary business organizations.

Training also requires the recruit to develop a world view that divides people into torturable and non-torturable. Through a programme of seminars the recruits comes to believe that the act of tortures is a defence of “good “values against the “bad” values. Recruits are trained to be loyal not only to the state but to the organization, which is semi-secret and will protect them.

Ref: Haritos- Fatoutos, M. (1988) The official tortures: A learning model of obedience to authority of violence. Journal of applied social psychology, 18, 1107-1120.

Incremental Socialisation

Such a moral shift, or disengagement, is made easier by the gradual introduction of the recruits to the brutal act of torture. A typical process of incremental socialisation and desensitisation goes through the following chronological sequences:

  • Recruits act as guards while other carry out torture.
  • Recruits carry food to the prisoners in there cells
  • Recruits fully participate fully in torture.

Hence the recruits are pulled inexorably into the torturing process. Having gone through the first two steps in the socialisation process recruits find it very difficult to protest about the use of full torture as there have been corrupted by tacit acceptance of earlier (less extreme) examples of torture.


Once fully socialised, obedient torturers benefit in both symbolic and economic ways. Training fosters in-group bias. The finding of numerous social psychological studies suggested that participation in strenuous initiation rites makes group membership more desirable.

Ref: Haritos- Fatoutos, M. (1988) The official tortures: A learning model of obedience to authority of violence. Journal of applied social psychology, 18, 1107-1120.

There are some more aspects which really effect of employee performance.

Inter-group relations

Individual’s allegiances to, and identification with, various social groups can have an important influences on their attitudes and behaviour. The notion of employee commitment can over-generalise the nature of such allegiances and hence overlook the fact that you can be committed to your work, to your collegues, to your department, to your occupation or to the company you work for. But these commitments will vary and will often conflict with each other.

There are many groups within even the smallest of organizations. It is not only the varying degrees of commitment each group commands amongst its members that can have a significant impact on organizational functioning. The relations between these groups and the relative power each commands can be more curial in shaping organizational behaviour. Hence, a psychological analysis alone is insufficient to understand fully the complexities of inter-group relations.

Organizational design and design

The variety of ways in which organizational are structured and managed and how they change over time, provides the basis of much organizational behaviour research. Also it is the domain of almost all so-called “Management Gurus”. For instance, Salaman (1983) observes that “organizations are structure of control”. Given that organizational structures include management and worker organization, control and reward systems, and job design, they clearly involve political issues, as well as decisions and strategic choices.

Despite this, much of the conventional organizational behaviour literature on organizational structure and design concentrates, somewhat uncritically, on information flows, work structure, job design and cultures as entities designed and controlled by a management elite.

Ref:-Salaman, G (1983) Class and the Corporation. London: Fontana.

Technology and organization

Scarborough and Corbett (1992) describes technology and organization as “far from containing or controlling the technology process, the formal boundaries and managerial hierarchies of organization may themselves restructure by it”.

Similarly, sole resources to a unilateral deskilling process (at a societal level), in which technology developed under capitalism inevitably leads to the deskilling and control of labour, does little to convey the uncertainties and interaction of the technology process, nor account for the key role played by Invidual`s and groups:

Indeed, on occasion the transformational power of technological knowledge may escape the intentions of the powerful and undermines, and not simply reproduce, existing social and economic structures.

To better understand technology and organization I think its good to go through this case study.

Ref: Scarborough, H. and Corbett, J.M. (1992) Technology and Organization: Power, Meaning and Design. London: Routledge.

Case study: New technology and the Skolt Lapplanders

Introduced in the early 1960s, the snowmobile was adopted by the Skolt Lapp people to replace reindeer sleds as a means of transportation. This technology brought easier access to trading posts, more sophisticated health care and a more varied diet and recreation. Yet, within a few years the introduction of this technology had made a profound impact on the Skolt Lapp community.

The Skolt Lapp community, like many traditional communities, was organised around a patriarchal power structure, so that the old man held all the positions of status and authority. However, unlike the younger members of the community, these man lacked the muscular strength and dexterity to ride and maintain the heavy snowmobiles. Given that the new technology symbolised progress and the promise of economic prosperity to many Lapps, this result in a decline in the status of the elders relative to the younger, stronger men.

Of even greater significance, and as the snowmobiles replaced the reindeer sled as the dominant means of transportation, this status shift was accompanied by the decline in the importance of the `elders` knowledge and wisdom concerning the care and use of reindeer herds. Such a shift was encouraged all the more by the rapid drops in calf births that resulted from the effects of the frightening noise of the snowmobiles` engines on pregnant reindeers. Indeed, within 3 years, a majority of the domesticated reindeers herd had returned to the wild. The impact of this should not be under-estimated as for generations; the reindeers had been of great symbolic and cultural significance of the Skolt Lapps.

Most important of all, the Skolt Lapplanders quickly found themselves dependent on outside suppliers of imported petroleum and spare parts for the snowmobiles. Also, many of the physically ill Lapps became psychologically (and sometimes physically) dependent on the constant supply of non-introduction of the snowmobiles.

Thus, an apparently neutral technology brought about significant (and largely irreversible) cultural changes to a community.

Ref: Scarborough, H. and Corbett, J.M. (1992) Technology and Organization: Power, Meaning and Design. London: Routledge.

Egan, G. (1993) Quarantine. London: Legend Books

Organizational Culture

Culture as a concept has had a long and checked history. It has been used by the lay person as a word to indicate sophistication, as when we say that someone is very “Cultured”. It has been used by anthropologists to refer to the customs and rituals that societies develop over the course of their history. In the last decade or so it has been used by some organizational researchers and managers to indicate the climate and practices that organizations develop around their handling of people or to refer to the espoused values and credo of an organization.

A deeper understanding of cultural issues in groups and organizations is necessary to decipher what goes on in them but, even more important, to identify what may be the priority issues for leaders and leadership. Organizational cultures are created in part by leaders, and one of the most decisive functions of leadership is the creation, the management, and sometimes evens the destruction of culture.

Ref:-Edgar H. Schein (1997) Organizational Culture and Leadership. John Wiley & sons, Inc.

A cross- cultural comparison of work values

Numerous motivation theorist outline the importance of certain characteristics of work and the work environment in promoting job satisfication. But to what extend do the motivation theories of Maslow, Herzbed, Mc Clelland, Hackman and Oldham, etc. reflect what motivates a particular, possibly unique, sample of the working population, namely the average “American employee”.

Can we really generalise such theories to the global working population? Mainstream organisational behaviour textbooks certainly imply as much. But if we cannot generalise from the US experience there are obvious implications for the human resources management policies of multi- national corporations and for international post-merger management.

Ref: – Maslow, A. (1971) The further reaches of human Nature. New York: Viking


Herzbed, P.G. (1976) Non- hierarchical organization vol-2. Harmondsworth:


In 1989, Don Elizur and colleagues was to collect data by questionnaire from samples of managers and employee from a variety of countries. The average sample size was 285. The author owns UK sample comprised 148 respondents. The age range and gender mix of the samples were similar.

The questionnaire was designed to represent the major perspectives outlined by basic theories of motivation. 24 items were selected and respondents were asked to indicate for each item the extent to which it is important. (using response categories ranging from “very unimportant” to “very important”). The items included the following.

  • Job interest, to do work which is interesting to you.
  • Achievements in work.
  • Advancement, opportunities for promotion
  • Self-esteem, that you are valued as a person
  • Use of ability and knowledge in your work
  • Job security, permanent job
  • Autonomy, independence in work.
  • Supervisor, a fair and considerate boss.
  • Pay, the amount of money you receive
  • Co-workers, fellow workers who are pleasant and agreeable.

This selection of items is listed in tables. They also indicate the survey results from the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Korea, Hungary and China. The major similarities and difference between these work population samples can be more clearly comprehended by considering the rank order of the item based on the managerial distributions as represented in table.

So we see, for example, that interesting work was considered to be the most important work values by respondents from the US, Germany, and the Netherlands. Yet the same items were considered to be much less important from the point of the Hungarian and Chinese respondents. Also, interesting cross-cultural disparities are in evidence for the last three items; good boss, good pay and friendly co-workers.

Table: Rank ordering of work values for a sample of eight countries

USA UK Germany Netherland Taiwan Korea Hungary China

Interesting work 1 2 1 1 2 3 6 5

Achievements 2 6 7 2 1 1 2 1

Advancements 3 7 10 5 4 7 10 6

Self-esteem 4 5 9 9 3 9 7 3

Use abilities 5 4 6 6 8 4 5 2

Autonomy 6 9 5 4 7 10 9 4

Job security 7 8 4 8 5 2 8 10

Good boss 8 10 3 7 6 6 1 7

Good pay 9 3 8 10 10 8 4 9

Co-workers 10 1 2 3 9 5 3 8

Ref:- Elizur , D.,Borg, I., Hunt, R. and Beck, I. K. (1989) The structure of work values: A cross-cultural comparasion.`journal of Organizational Behaviour, 12,21-30


It is a truism to claim that people are an organisational resource -indeed, for some organisations, they are the key resource, without which the organisation would be unable to deliver any meaningful product or service to its customers. Like any resource, however, people may be used wastefully: they may be employed at well below their potential, performing tasks which do not stretch their capabilities and which are ultimately alienating in their psychological impact on the employees involved. Alternatively, people may be managed and led in ways which inspire them to be highly motivated and to demonstrate long-term commitment to both their roles and the organisation which employs them. When this is achieved, the performance of its people becomes a major differentiator for the organisation and a source of long-term competitive strength.

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