Organizational Identification: Perspectives of Dispersed Social Workers

Sharlene A. Allen Milton, Michael M. Sinclair, Halaevalu Ofahengaue Vakalahi


Human service organizations are often challenged to become more efficient while maintaining the quality of their services. As a result, more organizations have restructured, adopting the practice of dispersed work, which allows employees more freedom and flexibility to meet organizational goals outside of the traditional workplace. While dispersed work allows social workers to engage in work activities beyond the traditional office environment, it may also impact their sense of belonging to the organization. Eleven dispersed social workers were interviewed to understand how interaction via new communication technology impacts organizational identification. Overall themes gleaned from this study suggest that although dispersed social workers perceive themselves as having more autonomy and flexibility, they also can feel socially isolated and disconnected from their peers and supervisors, which may negatively impact organizational identification. Despite the enhanced efficiency that technology can bring, human service organizations must strive to understand the unintended consequences of a dispersed workforce.


Dispersed social work; organizational identification; new communication technology

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