Asked 20th May, 2017

What is the difference between affection (affective integration or affective relation) and relational identification?

I am working on identification, specifically the concept that an individual working in a team would have both collective identification (towards the team as a whole) and relational identification (with strong role relations with other teammates) based on Zhang et al., 2012. When I am reading another paper, I came across this affective integration developed through liking, respect and trust based on Cronin, 2004 and Hass, 1981. I know they both are not same. But can someone distinguish them in a better way? What would be the underlying factors that differentiate them? When would you consider one to be more salient than the other? Thanks in advance.

All Answers (2)

30th May, 2017
Orlando M Lourenço
University of Lisbon
Dear Sriteja.
I truly sorry for being late to answer to your question. If I understand it well, you are looking for the differences between affective relations and relational identifications. Your question can be answered, I think, through a long or short answer. What follows is a short answer.
As I see it, by its very nature an affective relation is primarily an affective and emotional, and only after this it can involve cognitive components. In contradistinction, a relational identification is primarily cognitive and only after this it can involve affective components. For example, love and sympathy are affective relations that can exist without any cognitive components. We generally love and are sympathetic to our children, parents, brothers, sisters, and other relatives without having any cognitive motives to do so. It is generally said that they share our own flesh and blood. We generally love our wives or husbands, not because of, say, flesh and blood reasons, but mainly because of affective reasons. In these both cases, cognitive reasons are generally invoked as post hoc rationalizations to justify what is, say, visceral. This is not the case, for example, of friendship. Although there are several levels of friendship (see, for this respect, R. Selman's work on interpersonal understanding), in all of them cognitive components are priori to affective components. Thus, as I see it, friendship typifies more a specific type of relational and interpersonal identification than an affective integration or affective relation. Even so, friendship, comradeship, and the like speak more in favor of, say, individual relational identification than in favor of collective relational identification. An example of collective relational identification is the case when students of a given school (elementary, secondary, college, university) share, for instance, the main goals pursued by their respective school. This is also generally the case of players and supporters of a sport team or club.
To sum up, an affective relation or integration is affective and emotional at its very nature. When it involves cognitive components, most of the time they are peripheral or even post hoc rationalizations. We generally love our relatives without cognitively question why this is the case. In contradistinction, when relational identification is the case, cognitive components come generally first than cognitive components.This is quite visible in one's identification, for example, with his/her school, sport club, political party, or even country.
I hope I got your question and that this helps.
Best regards.

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