An employee’s immediate supervisor is “quite possibly the single biggest factor in an employee’s willingness to identify with an organization,” says Blake Ashforth, a professor of management at the W. P. Carey School of Business. Why should organizations care if employees have strong organizational identification? “Because organizational identification plugs into pretty much everything good in organizations,” Ashforth says.

Why do some companies and organizations perform at a high level year after year, through constantly shifting market conditions, while others are unable to adapt?  Gerry Keim, a W. P. Carey management professor and consultant, says the managers at these successful companies value employees who are engaged with their work. They understand that the employees at the front lines know their products, customers and competition best, and are often the first to detect change. Some of the best ideas on how to respond bubble up from the ranks, but companies can't tap this well unless they give employees a voice. Keim says "the arrogance of hierarchy" often prevents leaders from asking for suggestions -- and from listening to them.