Dec 19 , 2021
By Asseged G. Medhin ( Asseged G.Medhin, deputy CEO of Global Insurance Company. )
Organisations are not separate islands that do not change based on their surroundings and which do not have any impacts in any form or output on the external environment.
They are elements of different social development formats at various levels. This is whether they are traditional or transformational in their establishment method of organising resources, delivering services and goods, and responsiveness to external environmental urges.
Like people, the organisation will form its identity and the society identifies them uniquely among others in that respective space or outside of it. There is a social identity of an organisation that is either carefully established by the institution itself or imposed on it over time by outside perceptions.
For the purpose of understanding social identity, it is important to look at people themselves. It is the combination of aspects of ourselves, including age, ethnicity, race, religion, gender and socio-economic status that defines us in the eyes of others and even ourselves. On a daily basis, we interact with others that come from different social identities. Misunderstanding and miscommunication, or smoother interactions, are more likely to occur when we engage with people from different social identity groups.
It is necessary to recognise that organisations are made up of people, and the labour force it is made up of is more likely to posses various social identities. The best run institutions are thus those run by leaders with soft skills. It is possible that leaders in organisations where people rarely share a common culture and set of values, are those that can realise smoother working relationships and find opportunities within this diversity.
In this era of globalisation and diversity, leaders must bring together groups of people with very different histories, perspectives, values and cultures. They also need to develop an awareness of social identity of others and that of themselves. The social identity informs how they respond to other people, and how they interact back. The social identity of those around them affects how they view themselves as a leader as well as how they view, and thus work with, others.
Leaders should be armed with knowledge at articulating their social identity and think more deeply about aspects of others identities. This can reduce the likelihood of misunderstanding and increase their ability to be open to different perspectives and enhance their ability to interpret to lead accurately.
Especially in a turbulent situation, their perspective or way of thinking will be better attuned to dealing with and addressing unexpected problems or brining about long-term sustainability.
Social identity is the part of a personal identity that comes from belonging to particularly groups. It christalises from personal identity, the element of identity that comes from individual traits and relationships. Based on that, people form a place for themselves inside their cultural and social surroundings which informs their general worldview. In the same way, organisations will get their social identity when individual identities interact but usually based on the governance system it follows. Usually, the leader sets the tone. Subordinates build on this and add their own interpretations to it. The job of a good leader is to allow the diversity of others social identity to comes through as long as it adds to the richness of the organisation.
Leaders must come to terms about the biases they have and perhaps even inappropriate identities they impose on their organisations. They need to use their knowledge of social identity to categorise identity and compare people in the groups in order to maximise their ability of leadership to get optimal benefit from the group. Dynamics leaders should recognise the organisation’s social identity and develop strategies of going forward with awareness.
PUBLISHED ON Dec 19,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1129]
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