Toward the end of the article “How Does Organizational Identification Form,” the authors address the all-important question of outliers. These outliers, whom they characterize as “dark outcomes,” comprise employees who failed to identify with their organizations’ values and felt themselves marginalized as a result. It’s a small group, but is important nonetheless, in that it highlights the pitfalls that having a strong organizational identity create.
The issues spring from the homogeneity these organizations engender. There’s no denying the benefits uniformity offers: according to the article, most of the employees at BLAM love their jobs and embrace the culture of the company. They do, however, seem to be marching in lockstep with each other, as the prevalence of the phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid” suggests. More like-minded individuals mean a smaller plurality of opinions, which may do wonders for efficiency but, I would argue, is not conducive to the health of the firm in the long run.
This sameness also serves to ostracize those employees who don’t share the same values. While it is unrealistic to suppose that any company can completely satisfy all its employees, I think it is also doing itself a gross disservice if it relegates potentially valuable employees to the periphery based on the idea of instituting a “rock’n’roll” atmosphere.
These points beg the question: how do we balance the initiatives of developing a focused, driven culture, yet remain open to a difference of opinions? How do we create a culture of values, yet simultaneously encourage diversity?