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Mixed feelings, mixed blessing? How ambivalence in organizational identification relates to employees’ regulatory focus and citizenship behaviors

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Abstract

Recent conceptual work suggests that the sense of identity that employees develop vis-vis their organization goes beyond the traditional notion of organizational identification and can also involve conflicting impulses represented by ambivalent identification. In this study, we seek to advance this perspective on identification by proposing and empirically examining important antecedents and consequences. In line with our hypotheses, an experimental study (N = 199 employees) shows that organizational identification and ambivalent identification interactively influence employees’ willingness to engage in organizational citizenship behavior. The effect of organizational identification on organizational citizenship behavior is significantly reduced when employees experience ambivalent identification. A field study involving employees from a broad spectrum of organizations and industries (N = 564) replicated these findings. Moreover, results show that employees’ promotion and prevention focus form differential relationships with organizational identification and ambivalent identification, providing first evidence for a link between employees’ regulatory focus and the dynamics of identification. Implications for the expanded model of organizational identification and the understanding of ambivalence in organizations are discussed.

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Author Community

[Schuh, Sebastian C. ; Xin, Katherine R.] China Europe Int Business Sch, Shanghai 201206, Peoples R China

[Van Quaquebeke, Niels] Kuhne Logist Univ, Hamburg, Germany

[Goeritz, Anja S.] Univ Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

[De Cremer, David] Univ Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1TN, England

[van Dick, Rolf] Goethe Univ Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany


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Source

Human Relations

ISSN:0018-7267

Year:2016

Issue:12

Volume:69

Page:2224-2249

ESI Discipline:ECONOMICS & BUSINESS;

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