Predictors of Change in Postmerger Identification During a Merger Process: A Longitudinal Study

School of Psychology, University of Exeter, Exeter, England.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 12/2008; 95(5):1095-112. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.95.5.1095
Source: PubMed


Adopting an intergroup perspective, the authors examined predictors of change in postmerger identification throughout a merger. Data were collected over 3 points of measurement from 157 students of a newly merged university. The 1st questionnaire was distributed 4 months after the implementation of the merger; the following 2 were distributed 6 months and 1 year thereafter. With its longitudinal design, this study replicates and extends past results by revealing predictors of change in organizational identification for members of the dominant and subordinate organizations throughout a merger process. As predicted, postmerger identification increased only slowly for members of both the dominant and the subordinate organizations. Multilevel models for change confirmed that the predictive effect of premerger identification on postmerger identification for members of the dominant organization dissipates over time. The effect of in-group typicality unexpectedly varied as a function of organizational membership and was stable over time. Perceived fairness in the merger process positively influenced postmerger identification across members of both organizations; over time the effect of fairness amplified.

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    • "Although our empirical model also accounts for the possibility of group-specific direct effects, we assume that the relationship between pre-and post-merger identification will not be different for dominant and subordinate groups once the effect of projected continuity is controlled for. A combination of a negative indirect effect and a positive direct effect could explain near to zero correlations between pre-and post-merger identification for members of subordinate groups, as reported by Boen et al. (2007), Gleibs et al. (2008), van Knippenberg et al. (2002), or van Knippenberg and van Leeuwen (2001). Figure 1 shows our underlying model. "
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    • "First, if the new identity depended on the perceived continuity of the previous group and of the new merged group's representations, the projection of specific traits and of common traits should both affect the identification with the future common group and the subsequently robust approval of the merger. Conversely, if the concerns were not about the continuity but about the relative dominance of the ingroup over the outgroup during the merging and in the new common group (Bartels, Douwes, De Jong, & Pruyn, 2006; Boen, Vanbeselaere , & Cool, 2006; Gleibs et al., 2008; van Knippenberg et al., 2002; van Leeuwen et al., 2003), then we should expect the identification with the merged organization to be affected by the ingroupspecific traits, not by the common traits. "
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    • "This article provides a dependence-regulation account of psychological distancing or withdrawal reactions to major organizational change. Although this account certainly may not apply in all instances, the process of dependence regulation is likely to have some relevance in many instances of organizational change that entails threat, because of the connection of this process to self and identity along with the threats to identity that arise with major organizational change (Corley and Gioia, 2004; Gleibs et al., 2008; Clark et al., 2010; Reissner, 2010). The article begins by describing dependence-regulation theory, which is prominent in the field of social psychology. "
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