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

Sebastian C. Schuh (First Author), David De Cremer (Participant Author), Katherine R. Xin (Participant Author), Rolf van Dick (Participant Author), Niels Van Quaquebeke (Participant Author), Anja S. Goeritz (Participant Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal

23 Citations (Web of Science)
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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2224-2249
JournalHuman Relations
Volume69
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Corresponding author email

sschuh@ceibs.edu

Project sponsor

Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation

Keywords

  • OCBI
  • OCBO
  • ambivalence
  • ambivalent identification
  • expanded model of organizational identification
  • organizational citizenship behavior
  • organizational identification
  • prevention focus
  • promotion focus
  • regulatory focus

Indexed by

  • FT
  • ABDC-A*
  • Scopus
  • SSCI

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