There are of course innumerable journal articles, monographs, and edited volumes dealing with the social identity approach. Further, many of these deal specifically with the organizational implications of the social identity approach. For all these sources, however, there is little that can be considered to be accessible to your average business audience. They are either inaccessible due to their vernacular (i.e. they are heavily laden with scientific concepts and language) or inaccessible to due length (you will be hard pressed to find an executive with time to work through a densely packed 300 page tome).
It is, of course, the case that the social identity approach is accessible via introductory organizational psychology and social psychology text books. Unfortunately those treatments are often far too superficial to provide any sort of functional understanding of the approach, particularly with organizational concerns in mind. Moreover, and quite frankly, these introductory texts are often wrong. Readers if this blog will quickly come to understand that one of the biggest tragedies of the social identity approach is misunderstanding and misrepresentation. Simply put, many of the most accessible sources on social identity cannot be trusted.
Although the above is sincere and we believe our intentions honourable, we are also from time to time paid business consultants; we earn an income bringing social identity ideas to organizational clients. It is therefore in our financial interests to grow the popularity of this theoretical perspective. It is also in our financial interests to grow our own public presence. Both of these are potential outcomes of an online resource such as this, which does raise the specter of conflict of interest.
In all honesty, yes, we are happy to reap these benefits should they come to pass. And yes, this was a motivation for putting together this material. This is, however, where we draw the line. To the best of our ability, we will keep this blog free of self-aggrandizing material and other self-promotion. Where we suspect there may be a further conflict of interest we will make this clear. Our primary aim here must be to create a trusted resource for those interested in social identity processes and their relevance to organizational life.
A final word
We are passionate about the social identity approach. This stream of social psychological theory speaks volumes to many of the big questions in our lives. Questions around stereotyping, intergroup conflict, influence, leadership, the self, etc. More practically, the social identity approach provides critical insight into the psychological processes at play in businesses and organizations. In fact, the social identity approach is distressingly underutilized by managers, employees and executives in their attempts to understand and deal with such organizational issues as mergers, acquisitions, competition, succession, planning, engagement, and so on. This blog represents an effort at addressing this missed opportunity.
Our fantasy is this: That we will give members of businesses and organizations access to the insights of the social identity approach to enrich their own management and leadership activities. We will do this through the provision bite sized posts that are high in quality, high in variety, and specific to organizational contexts. This is not to say that we hope to replace the academic literature; far from it. It is our hope instead that this blog will generate an interest in chasing down further literature, as well as prepare readers to engage with that often complex and convoluted literature.
In sum, our aim is to give employees, managers, executives, consultants, volunteers, etc. a functional introduction to the social identity approach and the social identity literature. I am sure our audience will let us know us if we fall short of this goal.