Chapter 22: Organizational identity orientation: a public sector research agenda
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Organizational Identity Orientation (OIO) refers to the "nature of assumed relations between an organization and its stakeholders," (Brickson, 2005, p. 577), and is a prominent feature of organizational identity. OIO theory argues that how organizational members define and compare their organization to others, and the organization's primary motivations and values, will differ depending on whether an organization espouses an individualistic, relational, or collectivistic identity orientation. In this chapter, we have taken a first step in the development of reliable and valid quantitative measures for collecting cross organization and cross sector data about OIO. We begin by describing the OIO framework. We then draw from qualitative OIO research to generate a set of questionnaire items capturing collectivistic, relational, and individualistic OIO. We report the results of three studies testing the OIO measures: (1) two pilot studies to develop the measures, (2) a test of the measures in the National Cross Sector Organizational Studies Project (NCSOSP), and (3) a national online survey administered to a sample of local government managers. We discuss how OIO and these measures can advance our understanding of identity and motivation in public organizations. We conclude with a discussion of opportunities for future research applying the OIO framework to public and nonprofit research.

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