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The Human Side of Restructures: The Role of Shifting Identification

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Journal of Management Inquiry

Published online on


Organizational restructures have been occurring for decades but are often rife with problems. Although researchers have studied these restructures, many studies focus on financial, strategic, and integration aspects and are limited in addressing the human side of restructuring. In addition, there is little study of internal restructures involving the movement of divisions within one organization. In our inductive case study, we examine how organizational members’ identification perceptions evolve and impact an internal restructure at a large university. We present our emergent findings in a process model that illustrates how identification perceptions evolved, as well as triggers that impacted identifying and de-identifying processes. These triggers, which helped move members simultaneously from a state of identification with the former entity (pre-restructure) to both de-identification with the former entity and identification with the new one (post-restructure), included experiences and expectations involving resources, justice, and organization oneness.