An Alternative to Mapping Organizational Identification: Q-sort

Dragoș Iliescu, Smaranda Boroş


Our paper proposes an approach to combine aspects from social cognition, cognitive mapping, individual mental representations and a stringent aspect from the practice of organizational studies: organizational identification. We argue that organizational identification links the self-concept to the organization, by means of sharing similar, enduring and central attributes (Dutton et al., 1994, Greenwald et al., 2002). After reviewing the approaches to organizational identification as presented in the literature, as well as the measures customarily used, we give special attention to the most important attempts to operationally define this concept, that stem from social identity theory. We then connect organizational identification to the study methods used in fundamental research for the concept of self, primarily to the use of cognitive maps in representing the self-concept. We hence adopt an operational definition of the term and propose as an alternative method of data collection and data analysis for cognitive mapping: the Q-methodology. We analyze in an empirical study the limits and benefits of Q-methodology in the mapping of organizational identification.


cognitive mapping;organizational identification;self concept

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