Organisational identity and alcohol use among young employees: A case study of a professional services firm

2020-07-29T23:29:13Z (GMT) by Benjamin Walker Todd Bridgman
Background: Cultural influences on young people's drinking have been the focus of much research and policy practice. Young people's drinking is influenced by a range of institutions, including the workplace, yet this has received comparatively little attention by researchers and policymakers. This study examines the workplace influences on young people's drinking through the conceptual lens of organisational identification. Methods: Data was collected through 16 semi-structured interviews with mainly young employees of a professional services firm in New Zealand. The interviews were coded and analysed thematically, generating five themes of alcohol use at work. Results: Alcohol was used in a number of ways by the respondents in relation to their work, from acting as a means of relieving stress or anxiety induced by work, to providing a means for bonding with work colleagues. Their work also impacted on their alcohol use in more 'positive' ways (e.g. respondents limiting their intake to prevent damage to their career prospects). Conclusion: The study highlights how processes of organisational identification both encourage and inhibit alcohol use. The consumption of alcohol at work provides young professionals with a medium to engage in a variety of organisational identification processes. An understanding of these processes can assist policymakers in focusing on the workplace, an area largely ignored to date, as a target for their campaigns aimed at reducing the harmful effects of young people's heavy alcohol use. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.