Organizational Identification: A Conceptual and Operational Review

24 Pages Posted: 8 May 2006

See all articles by Martin R. Edwards

Martin R. Edwards

King's College London - HRM and Organisational Psychology


There is a growing body of literature presenting the argument that processes of organizational identification (OI) are extremely important in helping to ensure that staff work towards the interests of the organization. There are, however, a number of problems with the way that the notion of OI has been conceptualized and operationalized in the extant literature. This paper examines how OI has been defined and measured over a number of decades. A number of problems are identified with how OI has been conceptualized by researchers, including, for example, issues about whether there is an affective element to identification and how the construct relates to organizational commitment. The paper also includes a review of previous approaches to measuring the concept of OI and raises some key problems with existing research tools. The paper concludes by arguing for a particular conceptualization of OI which helps to clarify the complex relationship between identification and organizational commitment, while at the same time accommodating previous definitions of the construct.

Suggested Citation

Edwards, Martin R., Organizational Identification: A Conceptual and Operational Review. International Journal of Management Reviews, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 207-230, December 2005. Available at SSRN: or

Martin R. Edwards (Contact Author)

King's College London - HRM and Organisational Psychology ( email )

London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 7848 4095 (Phone)
+44 (0)20 7848 4095 (Fax)


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