Ambivalent Identification as a Moderator of the Link Between Organizational Identification and Counterproductive Work Behaviors

V. Ciampa (First Author), Sebastian C. Schuh (Participant Author), M. Sirowatka (Participant Author), F. Fraccaroli (Participant Author), R. Van Dick (Participant Author)

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Although counterproductive work behaviors can be extremely damaging to organizations and society as a whole, we do not yet fully understand the link between employees’ organizational attachment and their intention to engage in such behaviors. Based on social identity theory, we predicted a negative relationship between organizational identification and counterproductive work behaviors. We also predicted that this relationship would be moderated by ambivalent identification. We explored counterproductive work behaviors toward the organization (CWB-O) and other individuals (CWB-I). Study 1, a survey of 198 employees, revealed that employees who identified strongly with their organization reported lower levels of CWB-O, but as predicted, only when ambivalent identification was low. Study 2 involved a manipulation in the form of a scenario presented to 228 U.S. employees, generally replicated the findings of Study 1: the link between organizational identification and CWB-O was stronger for participants in the low ambivalence condition than for those in the high ambivalence condition. The interaction effect of ambivalent and organizational identification on CWB-I was only marginally significant in the second study. These findings provide new evidence for the positive influence of organizational identification under conditions of low ambivalence on counterproductive behaviors toward an organization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-134
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Corresponding author email


  • Ambivalent identification
  • Counterproductive work behaviors
  • Organizational identification

Indexed by

  • FT
  • ABDC-A
  • Scopus
  • SSCI


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