What Gives Workplaces a Family-Like Atmosphere? An Exploratory Study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Business Administration

Committee Chair

Joseph Hair, PhD.


Social identity theory suggests identities form through mechanisms established during peoples’ childhoods. Those mechanisms operate the processes through which people assess their individualistic qualities. In organizations, similar phenomena occur as employees develop organizational identity. To help organizations foster more beneficial organizational identity, family systems theory is applied to the investigation of employee needs. Lumpkin et al.’s (2008) conceptual work on family orientation offer a solid starting point for such investigations. Their conceptual dimensions of family orientation are blended with concepts related to individual needs. Together, those concepts were used to reflexively code data from a qualitative research design. Eleven interviews were conducted with participants from family firms and nonfamily firms. Results indicate workplaces do reflect certain family-like characteristics. Those characteristics are defined and specific actions reflective of those characteristics are discussed. The manuscript ends with a discussion of future efforts to empirically measure the family-like characteristics.

This document is currently not available here.