Organizational Loyalty, pt. 1: a brief history

Updated: Oct 29, 2020

Photo Credit: Unsplash @Karlie Mitchell

In 1988 the concept of Organizational Loyalty inspired considerable interest in the Administrative Sciences. Although, for the times, the resulting research was considered divergent for its approach and conclusions. Organizational Loyalty's 1988 definition described a bond formed to an organization or a group that could be individually or collectively forged.

Organizational Loyalty identified the feelings of attachment, belonging, and a substantial wanting to be a part of something. It involved the willingness to contribute a part of the self, incorporating trust, as a voluntary alignment with the group or the organization. The capital of value approach suggested that Organizational Loyalty was fundamentally bound in economics and invoked by Pfeffer's favorable exchange of worker skills labor and productivity for earnings. Organizational Loyalty seems to invoke their members' devotional commitment through a subordination that reflects the loyalty of and attachments to religious organizations.

"Employees’ loyalty normally has two dimensions namely (i) internal, and (ii) external. Loyalty is, fundamentally, an emotional attachment. The internal dimension is the emotional component. It includes feelings of caring, of affiliation and of commitment. This is the dimension that must be nurtured and appealed to. The external dimension has to do with the way loyalty manifests itself. This dimension is comprised of the behaviours that display the emotional component and is the part of loyalty that changes the most."


Photo Credit: Unsplash @Serge Kutuzov

Between 1980 and 1985, there was a study that involved participant observation at major college basketball programs. Reflecting on a classic socialization study of medical students, the researchers followed several student-athletes throughout their classes. Five factors identified in-depth research, experiences, and insight into the basketball organization.

These conceptual elements emerged as critical to the development of intense loyalty within organizations. The five abstract elements were: domination, identification, commitment, integration, and goal attainment. One of the more exciting aspects of this study was in traditional work organizations. The researchers reported that all employees, even in leadership levels, resisted subordination. However, their counterparts who displayed intense loyalty generation in organizations accepted compliance ranging from physical, to spiritual and behavioral, to social and behavioral obedience depending on the organization structure.

Nearly four decades later, Organizational Loyalty is simply the loyalty of the workforce towards the organization. It is the most critical factor that determines the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization. It feeds the workforce's willingness to accept organizational goals and values. At the foundation, Organizational Loyalty is the psychological attachment each worker has to the organization as a whole. I am sure you can see its unquestionable importance.

Photo Credit: Unsplash @Arijit manna

Brian Schrag argued that employee loyalty has substantial moral obligations for employer loyalty. Throughout his report, he details quite substantially the unacceptable foundation of the employer indifference to employee loyalty. With the understanding of the limitations of the employer's ability to reciprocate precisely the longevity of commitment, Brian Schrag asserts that failure to return in some ways positions the organization as morally unacceptable.

In 2005, Lauren Keller Johnson wrote, "Loyalty should not be viewed as an either/or proposition." " Organizational Loyalty is vitally essential for the workforce to produce their best work. Employees must be loyal to the company and what it stands for to have the inspiration to give their very best in their work output. Organizational leadership is the management approach where the administration helps set strategic goals for the organization while motivating individuals to carry out assignments in service to those goals successfully. Back in January, Sean Silverthorne reminded the world that "thinking outside the box isn't ambitious enough to get real innovation flowing" - not anymore. COVID only complicated that perspective.

How does Organizational Leadership effectively create Organizational Loyalty post COVID? Well, I have a few thoughts; visit me next week for part two: The moral Significance of Organizational Loyalty to the workforce.

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