Nations, Cities and Organizations
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Maddy Janssens, Myriam Bechtoldt, Arie de Ruijter, Dino Pinello, Giovanni Prarolo and Vanja M.K. Stenius
Chapter 15: Ethnicity and Sustainability in Organizations: Does Organizational Identification Matter?
Hans Siebers and Anne-Marie Poels 15.1 INTRODUCTION Sustainability is commonly understood as reflecting the converging interests of various stakeholders that all take an interest in the long-term continuity and reproduction of the natural environment, in a justifiable distribution of scarce resources and in the peaceful coordination of pluralism (see Chapter 1). These converging interests in continuity and reproduction legitimize policy and management interventions (Van Londen and De Ruijter’s governance imperative), also in organizations. However, in organizations, such interventions may privilege a managerial view of sustainability. We define a managerial point of view regarding organizations as a preoccupation with control to optimize organizational performance, outcomes and continuity. From such a view, organizational performance and outcomes are advanced when employees identify themselves to a high degree with the organization they work in (Kreiner and Ashforth, 2004), that is when they develop a strong sense of belonging to the organization. Therefore, a managerial view values a high degree of organizational identification among employees. However, we may question whether such a managerial view adequately takes into account the various interests of all stakeholders, supports the convergence of interests and in the end favours organizational sustainability. There are both political and epistemological reasons to be doubtful. First, as Noon (2007) has demonstrated, a managerial view does not necessarily coincide with the interests of other stakeholders, such as individual employees’ interests in equal access to jobs and career opportunities. Second, any particular perspective at reality highlights some aspects while neglecting others. This may also be the...
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