Continued organizational identification following involuntary job loss
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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ABSTRACT: Psychologists, sociologists, and philosophers have long recognized that people have multiple identities—based on attributes such as organizational membership, profession, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, and family role(s)—and that these multiple identities shape people's actions in organizations. The current organizational literature on multiple identities, however, is sparse and scattered and has yet to fully capture this foundational idea. I review and organize the literature on multiple identities into five different theoretical perspectives: social psychological; microsociological; psychodynamic and developmental; critical; and intersectional. I then propose a way to take research on multiple identities forward using an intrapersonal identity network approach. Moving to an identity network approach offers two advantages: first, it enables scholars to consider more than two identities simultaneously, and second, it helps scholars examine relationships among identities in greater detail. This is important because preliminary evidence suggests that multiple identities shape important outcomes in organizations, such as individual stress and well-being, intergroup conflict, performance, and change. By providing a way to investigate patterns of relationships among multiple identities, the identity network approach can help scholars deepen their understanding of the consequences of multiple identities in organizations and spark novel research questions in the organizational literature.The Academy of Management Annals 06/2014; 8(1). DOI:10.1080/19416520.2014.912379