Continued organizational identification following involuntary job loss

Journal of Managerial Psychology (Impact Factor: 1.25). 11/2012; 27(8):829-847. DOI: 10.1108/02683941211280184

ABSTRACT Purpose – Continued identification with a former employer may provide valuable self-enhancement during transition, or it may highlight unsettling self-discontinuity. This study seeks to develop and test competing hypotheses regarding the extent to which continued organizational identification relates to psychological well-being following involuntary job loss. Design/methodology/approach – The author conducted a two-wave survey study spanning six months during the recent financial crisis in 2008 to test these hypotheses. Results are presented for 86 employees in two samples, 45 who were unemployed at the beginning of the study and 41 who lost their jobs during the study. Findings – Continued organizational identification positively related to psychological well-being in both samples. In a post-hoc analysis, this relationship held only for employees who attributed their job loss to themselves, rather than to external factors such as their organizations. Research limitations/implications – The results are based on a limited sample both in terms of size and scope; accordingly, they are best used to explain the relationships for the sample from which they were drawn, professional employees in the USA with a business education, about half of whom worked in the financial services industry. Practical implications – Being identified with an employing organization is not only beneficial for current employees and their organizations, but also helps employees whose jobs have been terminated. Managers and counselors should advise people to reflect upon, rather than distance themselves from, aspects of their identities based in former employers. Originality/value – This is the first study to examine the role of organizational identification in individual response to involuntary job loss.

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