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Effects of Person-Occupation Political Orientation Misfit on Occupational Identification: An Experimental Study

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Abstract

Researchers and practitioners have become increasingly interested in the role of political orientation in the workplace. Importantly, people do not always agree with other members of their profession when it comes to politics. However, the effects of such person-occupation political orientation misfit on people’s work-related attitudes remain unclear. According to the social identity perspective, person-occupation political orientation misfit is likely to lead to the experience of identity threat which, in turn, should negatively impact people’s occupational identification. To address this idea empirically, the goal of this study was to examine the influence of different political depictions of the field of industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology (i.e., as generally neoliberal, left-wing, pluralistic, or neutral) on I-O psychologists’ occupational identification, depending on their personal political orientation (i.e., more or less liberal vs. conservative). Specifically, we hypothesized that experiencing person-occupation political orientation misfit would reduce occupational identification. Results of an experiment (n = 800 I-O psychology academics and practitioners) provided some support for this hypothesis, suggesting specifically that person-occupation political orientation misfit might alienate people with a more conservative political orientation from their occupation.
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 1
Effects of Person-Occupation Political Orientation Misfit on Occupational Identification:
An Experimental Study
Hannes Zacher1 & Cort W. Rudolph2
1Leipzig University
2Saint Louis University
This manuscript has been accepted for publication at Applied Psychology: An International
Review. It is a post-review pre-publication version of the manuscript. Please refer to the journal
for the final proof-read version of the manuscript: https://iaap-
journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14640597
Please cite as:
Zacher, H. & Rudolph, C. W. (2022, in press). Effects of person-occupation political orientation
misfit on occupational identification: An experimental study. Applied Psychology: An
International Review.
Author Note
Hannes Zacher https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6336-2947
Cort W. Rudolph https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0536-96387
Hannes Zacher, Wilhelm Wundt Institute of Psychology, Leipzig University, Leipzig
(Germany). Cort W. Rudolph, Department of Psychology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
(USA).
Both authors contributed equally to this work. The order of authorship was determined
using the following R program with the sum of the founding years of our respective universities
as the random seed:
set.seed(1409 + 1818)
x <- sample(c(“Hannes Zacher”, “Cort Rudolph”), 1)
print(paste(“The first author is”, x))
Correspondence concerning this article may be addressed Hannes Zacher, Wilhelm
Wundt Institute of Psychology, Leipzig University, Neumarkt 9-19, 04109 Leipzig, Germany,
e-mail: hannes.zacher@uni-leipzig.de
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 2
Abstract
Researchers and practitioners have become increasingly interested in the role of political
orientation in the workplace. Importantly, people do not always agree with other members of
their profession when it comes to politics. However, the effects of such person-occupation
political orientation misfit on people’s work-related attitudes remain unclear. According to the
social identity perspective, person-occupation political orientation misfit is likely to lead to the
experience of identity threat which, in turn, should negatively impact people’s occupational
identification. To address this idea empirically, the goal of this study was to examine the
influence of different political depictions of the field of industrial and organizational (I-O)
psychology (i.e., as generally neoliberal, left-wing, pluralistic, or neutral) on I-O psychologists’
occupational identification, depending on their personal political orientation (i.e., more or less
liberal vs. conservative). Specifically, we hypothesized that experiencing person-occupation
political orientation misfit would reduce occupational identification. Results of an experiment (n
= 800 I-O psychology academics and practitioners) provided some support for this hypothesis,
suggesting specifically that person-occupation political orientation misfit might alienate people
with a more conservative political orientation from their occupation.
Keywords: Political Ideology; Political Orientation; Occupational Identification; Experiment
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Effects of Person-Occupation Political Orientation Misfit on Occupational Identification:
An Experimental Study
Increasingly, researchers and practitioners have been focusing on the role of political
ideologies and associated political orientations in the workplace (see Swigart et al., 2020, for a
review). Indeed, the notion of political ideology—“a set of beliefs about the proper order of
society and how it can be achieved” (Erikson & Tedin, 2003, p. 64)is an important yet
elusive concept (McLellan, 1986, p. 1) in the study of social systems, including workplaces.
One specific way in which political ideologies manifest is through classifications that
characterize political positions in relation to one another (e.g., the spectrum of liberalism to
conservativism), often referred to as “political orientations” (Heywood, 2017). Research has
suggested that political orientations can play an important role in the work and employment
context (Johnson & Roberto, 2018; Roth et al., 2017; Swigart et al., 2020). For example, research
has shown that a greater misfit between applicants’ political orientation and the political
orientation held by organizational decision-makers is associated with a lower likelihood of
hireability decisions (Roth et al., 2020). Additionally, employees’ political orientation misfit
with their coworkers, supervisors, and the organization as a whole is associated with lower
occupational well-being and higher turnover (Bermiss & McDonald, 2018; He et al., 2019).
In contrast, potential effects of misfit between the dominant political orientation that
characterizes an entire industry, profession, or occupational field and the personal political
orientations of people working in this industry, profession, or field are currently not well-
understood (Swigart et al., 2020). This is unfortunate, given that such person-occupation
political orientation misfit may also lead to detrimental employee and work outcomes, such as
reduced occupational identification (i.e., a cognitive-affective construct that represents a person's
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 4
perception of oneness and feeling of belongingness to an occupational field; Becker & Carper,
1956; Witt, 1993; see also Ashforth & Mael, 1989). Reduced occupational identification, in turn,
may be associated with decreased investments into the occupation (e.g., in-role and extra-role
behaviors, such as volunteering for committees of professional associations; Ashforth et al.,
2013; Riketta, 2005) and increased withdrawal behavior and mobility (e.g., changing
occupational fields; Otto et al., 2010).
Together, these ideas on person-occupation political orientation misfit suggest the
potential for conflicts to emerge in the form of disagreements between the way that people see
themselves and the work that they do as part of their occupation. Indeed, personal political
orientation may not always correspond to the way in which work in an occupation is conducted.
Given that research and theory both suggest that such disagreements represent a potential
identity threat (e.g., Branscombe et al., 1993), an important question concerns what influence
such disagreements have on the way in which employees identify with their occupations. Put
differently, how do political disagreements in the form of an experienced misfit between
personal political orientations and the dominant political orientation of an occupation impact the
occupational identification of employees working in this field?
To answer this research question, we developed and tested a hypothesis regarding the
joint effects of political depictions of an occupation and personal political orientation on
occupational identification. Specifically, we test whether and how a person’s occupational
identification is affected if they learn that other members of their occupation hold different or
similar political opinions to themselves (i.e., in terms of the dominant political orientation that
may be said to broadly characterize or reflect a bias in one’s field). Support for our hypothesis
is based on person-environment fit theory (Edwards et al., 1998; van Vianen, 2018) and identity
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 5
threat explanations (Branscombe et al., 1993) derived from social identity theory (Ashforth &
Mael, 1989; Haslam, 2004). We tested our hypothesis with an experimental vignette
methodology study (Aguinis & Bradley, 2014) including four conditions that depict specific
features of an occupation (i.e., research in the field of industrial and organizational or “I-O
psychology) as (a) having a neoliberal bias, (b) having a left-wing bias, (c) being politically
pluralistic (i.e., both neoliberal and left-wing), and (d) being politically neutral.
Our study contributes to the applied psychology literature in three important ways. First,
we advance theory and research by empirically investigating the combined effects of personal
and occupational political orientations on occupational identification. Thus, we focus on a more
proximal outcome than Bermiss and McDonald (2018), who examined the more distal outcome
of employees leaving their organization (i.e., turnover) in response to person-organization
political orientation misfit. We decided to focus on occupational identification, because it
constitutes a potentially important mechanism between experienced misfit and (occupational)
turnover. As compared to leaving their organization, it may be less likely that individuals will
leave their occupational field in response to person-occupation political orientation misfit.
However, occupational identification is also highly relevant to other important employee
outcomes, such as organizational citizenship behavior (Ashforth et al., 2013).
Second, by focusing on person-occupation political orientation misfit, we contribute to a
neglected area in the literature on person-environment fit, which has mainly focused on person-
job, person-group, and person-organization fit and misfit (Kristof-Brown et al., 2005; van
Vianen, 2018). In particular, our study extends the work of Bermiss and McDonald (2018),
which examined effects of person-organization political orientation misfit, to the occupational
level. This is important because previous descriptive research has mainly focused on the political
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 6
orientation of occupations rather than on the political orientation of specific organizations (e.g.,
van de Werfhorst, 2020), but the potential effects of person-occupation political orientation
misfit are currently not well understood. To this end, we also advance the literature by presenting
the results of an experimental study which, through random assignment to conditions and
manipulation of the independent variable, allows for causal inferences. In contrast, Bermiss and
McDonald (2018) reported results based on a correlational research design and, thus, their
findings cannot be interpreted causally because they may be influenced by third variables and
reverse causality.
Finally, we extend research on social identity and identification in the work context by
examining potential predictors of employees’ occupational identification. Research on
identification in the work context has mainly focused on antecedents of individuals’
identification with their team (e.g., Ellemers et al., 2013), leader (e.g., Steffens et al., 2014), or
organization (e.g., Sung et al., 2017; for an exception, see Ashforth et al., 2013). Accordingly,
our focus on how apparent disagreements between one’s personal political orientation and that
espoused by their occupational field affects their occupational identification (and subdimensions
of this construct) is a novel advancement of research in this area, which arguably represents an
important contribution to and extension of this literature.
Political Orientation and Occupational Identification
Political orientations, as reflections of political ideologies, represents certain deeply-held
beliefs, attitudes, and values about the ideal structure of society and how it should be achieved
(Erikson & Tedin, 2003; Jost et al., 2009). These beliefs and values are typically assessed using a
unidimensional continuum ranging from left-wing (or liberal, socialist, communist) political
orientation to right-wing (or conservative, neoliberal) political orientation (Johnson & Roberto,
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 7
2018; Jost, 2006; Swigart et al., 2020). While the neoliberal orientation has a complex
relationship with traditional political ideologies on the left-right continuum, its economic
program (which is the focus of the current study) is clearly conservative and anti-
socialist/communist (i.e., left-wing) and, thus, modern neoliberalism is firmly situated on the
right-wing side of the political continuum (Bettache & Chiu, 2019; Davidson & Saull, 2017).
In the present study, we distinguish between individuals’ personal political orientation
(i.e., where they would place themselves on the left-right continuum) and political depictions of
an entire industry, profession, or occupational field (i.e., describing I-O psychology research as
neoliberal or left-wing). Of course, an occupational field is not an agentic being and, therefore,
does not per se hold a political orientation (i.e., as an individual would). Thus, when we discuss
the political orientation of an occupation, we mean that the majority of people working in the
occupation hold a certain political orientation (e.g., neoliberal), which may influence the public
image of the occupation regarding political orientation (e.g., social psychology; Konnikova,
2014; Silicon Valley IT companies; Swigart et al., 2020). In addition, there may be rather diverse
(i.e., pluralistic) or no strong political orientations present in an occupation (i.e., neutral) which,
in turn, should not result in a clear public image regarding political orientation.
A shared political orientation among an occupation’s members may emerge over time
due to different possible processes. For instance, research suggests that organizational decision-
makers are more likely to hire job applicants that have a similar political orientation to their own
(Roth et al., 2020). Consistent with the attraction, selection, and attrition model of organizational
socialization (Schneider, 1987), this is likely to increase the homogeneity of political orientations
not only in a specific organization, but also in an entire occupational field, given that most
organizations operate in a specific industry and thus mainly employ people from relevant
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 8
occupations. For instance, research has repeatedly shown that university professors differ from
industry managers in terms of their political orientation (van de Werfhorst, 2020). Additionally,
research using data from the European Social Survey showed that people’s work experiences
play an important role in shaping their political orientation because, due to generalization and
transposition processes, people tend to apply the same reasoning and problem-solving behaviors
they learn and use at work to the political domain (Kitschelt & Rehm, 2014). As people within
the same occupational field are more likely to have similar work experiences, this constitutes
another possible explanation for how the shared political orientation of an occupation may
emerge.
Although the relationship between political orientation and support for various social
value orientations is complex (Brandt et al., 2014), research on specific manifestations of
political ideologies offers that people (and occupations) with a conservative political orientation
are generally more likely to accept social inequality and resist social change, whereas people
(and occupations) with a liberal political orientation generally reject social inequality and
advocate social change and justice (Chambers & Melnyk, 2006; Jost et al., 2009; Jost et al.,
2008; Sibley & Duckitt, 2008). Moreover, politically conservative people (and occupations) tend
to prefer neoliberal economic values and beliefs, including private ownership of the means of
production and distribution, competition, accumulation of profit, free trade and markets, and
deregulation of markets. In contrast, politically liberal people (and occupations) advocate public
ownership of the means of production and distribution, economic equality, social welfare,
controlled trade and markets, and economic planning (Johnson & Roberto, 2018; Jost et al.,
2009; Swigart et al., 2020).
Person-environment fit theory (Edwards et al., 1998; van Vianen, 2018) distinguishes
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 9
broadly between complementary and supplementary fit and misfit (Cable & Edwards, 2004).
Whereas complementary fit (misfit) exists when the characteristics of a person or an organization
(or job, team, occupation) provide (do not provide) something that the other one wants (e.g.,
abilities to meet work demands; Muchinsky & Monahan, 1987), supplementary fit (misfit) occurs
when a person and an organization (or job, team, occupation) have similar (different)
characteristics, such as values (Kristof, 1996). In the present study, we focus on supplemental
misfit between an occupation (i.e., I-O psychology) and individuals working in this occupation
(i.e., I-O psychology academics and practitioners) regarding political orientation. According to
person-environment fit theory (Chatman, 1989; Kristof, 1996), value dissimilarity or
incongruence (e.g., regarding political orientation) should be negatively related to favorable
attitudes and behaviors toward the organization (or job, team, occupation), because individuals
are less attracted to, and prefer not to interact with, others who are dissimilar to them (Byrne,
1971; Cable & Edwards, 2004; Tsui et al., 1992). Accordingly, we expect that when I-O
psychology research is depicted as having a neoliberal political orientation, liberal I-O
psychologists identify less strongly with the field than conservative I-O psychologists. In
contrast, we propose that when I-O psychology research is depicted as having a left-wing
political orientation, conservative I-O psychologists identify less strongly with the field than
liberal I-O psychologists.
Consistent with these expectations, albeit focused on person-organization misfit, a recent
empirical study examined how the misfit between employees’ personal political orientation and
their organization’s dominant political orientation influences turnover (Bermiss & McDonald,
2018). Results based on a sample of over 40,000 investment professionals in the U.S. private
equity industry, whose movements were tracked over 10 years, showed that turnover was more
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 10
likely for employees who experienced “conservative misfit” rather than “liberal misfit.” That is,
employees whose personal political orientation was more conservative than their organization’s
dominant political orientation were more likely to leave their organization and to join a new
organization that had a better fit with their personal political orientation.
In the current study we focus on the construct of occupational identification, which has
been less frequently studied than identification with one’s team, leader, or organization (Becker
& Carper, 1956; Witt, 1993). However, it is a relevant construct for assessing the fit between
personal and occupational political orientations, because the notion of political orientation is
closely connected with people’s social identity (Swigart et al., 2020). For instance, people’s
personal political orientation can shape and may be shaped by memberships in certain social
groups and organizations, such as political parties. Individuals are more likely to join, identify
with, and react positively to social groups and organizations that they perceive as having similar
characteristics (e.g., values) as themselves (Haslam, 2004). Similarly, individuals should be more
likely to enter, identify with, and react positively to occupations that they feel represent their
values and beliefs well (i.e., person-occupation fit). In contrast, they should be more likely to
leave or reduce identification with occupations that they feel hold values and beliefs different
from their own (i.e., person-occupation misfit).
One explanation for the latter may be that such situations lead to identity threatthe
feeling that one’s personal identity is being challenged. Specifically, conflicts between one’s
personal political orientation and that which characterizes their occupation may present a form of
identity threat that could be classified as categorization threat (i.e., “being categorized against
one’s will,” Branscombe et al., 1999, pp., p. 36). Learning that the political leanings of one’s
occupation conflict with their personal political orientation represents an unwanted value that has
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 11
been imposed upon their identity by virtue of membership in an occupational group. Such an
experience may result in a situation where long-held beliefs about others (e.g., colleagues,
collaborators, mentors) in one’s profession are challenged or disconfirmed, which threatens the
identity of members of that occupation. People generally seek ways to distance themselves from
various identity threats (Brewer et al., 1993; van Prooijen & van Knippenberg, 2000), and one
mechanism by which they may accomplish this here is through reducing their identification with
their occupation. Accordingly, we assume that those who perceive that their personal political
orientation is well-represented (not well represented) by their occupational field are more likely
(less likely) to identify with their field.
Hypothesis: Compared to the experience of person-occupation political orientation fit, the
experience of person-occupation political orientation misfit has a negative effect on occupational
identification.
Method
Open Science
All data and code to reproduce the analyses reported here and additional exploratory
analyses are available in the online supplemental material, which can be accessed through the
Open Science Framework (OSF): https://osf.io/nepxj/
Design and Procedure
We used a between-subjects experimental vignette methodology in this study (Aguinis &
Bradley, 2014; Aiman-Smith et al., 2002). Participants were randomly assigned to one of four
experimental conditions designed to manipulate the results of a hypothetical study regarding the
role of politics in I-O psychology research. Specifically, research in the field of I-O psychology
was described as either (a) having a neoliberal bias, (b) having a left-wing bias, (c) being
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 12
pluralistic, or (d) being neutral (see appendix for complete vignettes). Participants were recruited
through the membership directory of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
(SIOP; Division 14 of the American Psychological Association). At the beginning of the online
study, participants were informed that their participation was voluntary, anonymous, and would
take approximately 3-5 minutes of their time. Subsequently, they were presented with one of four
scenarios describing the findings of a (hypothetical) “new, currently still unpublished study on
the role of politics in industrial and organizational psychology” and were asked to take some
time to carefully read the summary, corresponding to one of the four conditions describe above.
Subsequently, they completed survey items on occupational identification, personal political
orientation, manipulation check items, perceptions of the ideological values of the field of I-O
psychology (for exploratory analyses, see online supplemental material), as well as demographic
and employment-related questions (e.g., whether participants identify their primary role in I-O
psychology as academic or practitioner; see covariate sensitivity analysis below). Finally,
participants were fully debriefed and thanked for their participation.
We decided to measure personal political orientation after the experimental manipulation
and after occupational identification as the dependent variable was assessed. The first reason for
this order is based on the assumption that political orientation is a rather stable between-person
variable (e.g., Bermiss & McDonald, 2018) that is unlikely to be influenced by our experimental
manipulation. Moreover, we chose this order because we were concerned about potential priming
effects if we had measured personal political orientation before the experimental manipulation; it
is possible that participants with different political orientations might have reacted differently to
the manipulations if we had made their personal political orientation salient.
Participants
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 13
In total, N = 7,959 SIOP members (i.e., constituting the entire membership database with
available email addresses as of March 2020) were emailed a link and invited to participate in an
online survey-based experiment; of these, N = 800 provided useable responses (i.e., 10.05%
response rate), constituting the sample considered here. Participants included n = 392 (49.0%)
women, n = 406 men (50.8%), and n = 2 who were gender diverse (0.2%). The sample consisted
of both academics (n = 368; 46%) and practitioners (n = 432; 54%). Participants were drawn
from all levels of SIOP (i.e., from student affiliate to fellow), with the largest group (45.20%)
representing SIOP members. Importantly, although 5.0% of participants self-reported as
“international affiliates,” this is a deprecated membership category. Although a majority of SIOP
members (89.94%, SIOP, 2021a) reside in the United States, the membership base represents 75
different countries (SIOP, 2021b). Unfortunately, however, we were not able to collect
information about participants nationality or their country of origin. Participants age ranged
from 18 to 85 years, with an average age of 41.90 years (SD = 14.70). Table 1 includes
additional demographic information, including various measures of tenure, education, and
substantive variables for the total sample and by condition.
Measures
Occupational identification. We measured occupational identification with 14 items
adapted from an in-group identification scale (Leach et al., 2008). In each item, we referred to
“industrial and organizational psychologists” as the relevant in-group (see appendix for the full
scale). Participants provided their responses on a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (very strongly
disagree) to 7 (very strongly agree). The scale measures five aspects of occupational
identification: self-investment solidarity (e.g., “I feel a bond with industrial and organizational
psychologists), satisfaction (e.g., “I am glad to be an industrial and organizational
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 14
psychologist”), centrality (e.g., “I often think about the fact that I am an industrial and
organizational psychologist”), individual self-stereotyping (e.g., “I have a lot in common with
the average industrial and organizational psychologist”), and in-group homogeneity (e.g.,
“Industrial and organizational psychologists have a lot in common with each other”).
We used the overall scale score (i.e., averaged across all 14 items) in our main analyses,
reflecting participants’ general level of occupational identification. In addition, we explored the
effects of personal and occupational political orientation on two sub-dimensions of the scale,
self-definition and self-investment, as suggested by Leach et al (2008). Self-definition entails
that individuals perceive themselves as similar to an in-group prototype (e.g., the typical I-O
psychologist), whereas self-investment involves that individuals feel positively about their in-
group membership and have a sense of belonging to the in-group (e.g., perceiving a positive
bond with other I-O psychologists; Leach et al., 2008). Accordingly, self-definition is comprised
of items assessing individual self-stereotyping, in-group homogeneity, and centrality, whereas
self-investment is comprised of items assessing satisfaction and self-investment solidarity. As
with the overall scale, we averaged across these corresponding items to construct these scale
scores. Coefficient alphas for the overall measure (⍺ = .90) and for self-definition (⍺ = .82) and
self-investment (⍺ = .91) suggest adequate internal consistency reliability.
Political orientation. Consistent with a great deal of research and theory (Jost et al.,
2009), we measured personal political orientation using a single item from the National Election
Survey (Knight, 2006), which is widely used in the political and organizational sciences (e.g.,
Fessler et al., 2017; Inbar & Lammers, 2012; Tetlock et al., 2013). Although political ideologies
represent a boarder network of features (e.g., resisting vs. advocating for social change;
accepting vs. rejecting inequality; see Jost et al., 2003a; Jost et al., 2003b), our measure of
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 15
political orientation more narrowly classifies these features along a liberalism-conservativism
continuum. The item directly asks participants to indicate their political orientation on a 9-point
scale ranging from 1 (strongly liberal) to 9 (strongly conservative), with the midpoint being 5
(moderate). As such, lower (higher) scores on this item reflect stronger left-wing (right-wing)
political orientations. This measure has been shown to have high test-retest reliability and
predictive validity (Fuchs & Klingemann, 1990; Jost, 2006). Moreover, the broader distinction
that is reflected along the continuum of liberalism (i.e., left-wing political orientations) and
conservativism (i.e., right-wing political orientations) has been shown to be stable across history
and generalizable across cultures (Jost et al., 2009).
Manipulation check. After participants responded to the occupational identification and
personal political orientation items, we conducted a manipulation check using items based on the
vignette descriptions. Specifically, we asked participants to rate how the new, unpublished study
described at the beginning of the survey characterized research in I-O psychology. Specifically,
to assess a neoliberal depiction of I-O psychology research, the following five items,
representing political values, were presented: private ownership of the means of production and
distribution, competition, accumulation of profit, free trade, and deregulation of markets. To
assess a left-wing depiction of I-O psychology research, the items were: public ownership of the
means of production and distribution, economic equality, social welfare, controlled trade, and
economic planning. Participants provided their responses on a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (very
strongly disagree) to 7 (very strongly agree). Participants ratings were then averaged to create
overall scores to separately represent ratings of neoliberal (⍺ = .91) and left-wing (⍺ = .89)
political values. For additional exploratory analyses we used the same two sets of values to
gauge participants’ personal perceptions of the political values of the field of I-O psychology
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 16
(see online supplemental material).
Statistical Analyses
We specified linear models (i.e., type-III ANCOVA) to test our hypothesis. In each
model, the outcome representing occupational identification (i.e., the overall score, and the two
sub-dimensions, each considered separately) was regressed onto main effects of condition (i.e., a
four-level factor) and personal political orientation (i.e., a continuous, interval-ratio level
variable) and the interaction between condition and personal political orientation. We followed
up significant condition-by-personal political orientation interactions with linear trend analysis,
exploring the (continuous) relationship (i.e., slope) between personal political orientation and
occupational identification within each of the four conditions.
Results
As a first step in our analysis, we assessed the efficacy of our manipulation via the two
manipulation checks described above. First, we assessed whether condition was associated with
neoliberal political values. We observed a significant main effect of condition, F(3,796) =
33.029, p < .001. Follow-up tests suggested that ratings of neoliberal political values were higher
in the neoliberal condition (M = 4.53, SEM = .083, 95% CI: 4.32; 4.74) than in the left-wing
condition (M = 3.40, SEM = .083, 95% CI: 3.20; 3.61). Second, we assessed whether condition
was associated with left-wing political values. We observed a significant main effect of
condition, F(3,796) = 28.601, p < .001. Follow-up tests suggest that ratings of left-wing political
values were higher in the left-wing condition (M = 4.69, SEM = .081, 95% CI: 4.48; 4.89) than in
the neoliberal condition (M = 3.68, SEM = .082, 95% CI: 3.48; 3.89). Thus, we are confident in
the efficacy of our manipulations, and especially so in the two “focal” conditions (i.e., neoliberal
vs. left-wing) that pertain to our hypothesized effect. A complete detailing of these analyses is
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 17
available in the online supplemental material.
Table 2 summarizes the results of the linear model specified to test our hypothesis
regarding overall occupational identification. Recall that our hypothesis suggests that the
experience of person-occupation political orientation misfit has a negative effect on occupational
identification. There were not significant main effects of either condition, F(3,792) = 2.146, p =
.093, or personal political orientation, F(1,792) = 1.819, p = .178. However, we observed a
significant condition-by-personal political orientation interaction, F(3,792) = 2.864, p = .036,
suggesting that the slope representing the relationship between personal political orientation and
occupational identification varies across conditions.
Follow-up trend analysis suggests that the slope representing the relationship between
personal political orientation and occupational identification is significant and negative in the
left-wing condition (B = -.076, SEB = .030, 95% CI: -.135; -.018); this relationship was not
statistically significant in any other condition (see Table 3). The negative sign of this slope
suggests that lower scores on the personal political orientation measure (i.e., more liberal) were
associated with higher occupational identification, whereas higher scores on the personal
political orientation measure (i.e., more conservative) were associated with lower occupational
identification in the left-wing condition.
Moreover, contrasting these slopes, we find a significant difference in the strength of the
relationship between the neoliberal (B = .043) and left-wing (B = -.076) conditions (Bdiff = .119,
SEB = .044, p = .033); no other pairwise slope differences were statistically significant (see Table
4). A graphical depiction of this interaction can be found in Figure 1. These results offer some
support for our hypothesis: the experience of person-occupation political orientation misfit
resulted in lower occupational identification, however only for relatively more conservative
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 18
respondents in the left-wing condition and not for other respondents, regardless of their political
orientation, in any other condition.
We followed up this model by specifying two additional models to explore whether the
sub-dimensions of occupational identification, self-definition and self-investment, show similar
patterns of results to those for the overall outcome. In summary, we observed a significant
condition-by-personal political orientation interaction for self-investment, F(3,792) = 2.691, p =
.045, but not for self-definition. The form and conclusions drawn from the self-investment model
largely mirrored that observed for the overall occupational identification outcome, and we offer
only a summary here for the sake of space. In summary of all analyses presented here, compared
to more liberal I-O psychologists, more conservative I-O psychologists felt less positively about
being a member of the group of I-O psychologists and had a lower sense of belonging to the field
when I-O psychology was depicted as having a left-wing bias. Complete results of these models
are available in our online supplemental material.
Supplemental Analyses
We measured participants’ personal political orientation after the experimental vignettes
were presented and also after occupational identification was assessed. We therefore conducted
two supplemental analyses (for full results, please see the online supplemental material). First,
we examined whether our experimental manipulation had an effect on personal political
orientation. The effect of condition on personal political orientation was not significant, F(3,796)
= 1.798, p = .146. Second, we observed a significant condition-by-occupational identification
interaction effect on personal political orientation, F(3,792) = 2.647, p = .048. However, follow-
up analyses revealed that, controlling for familywise error rates, the effect of occupational
identification on personal political orientation did not differ significantly across the four
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 19
conditions. Thus, overall, these supplemental analyses show that our experimental manipulation
did not significantly influence personal political orientation.
We further considered two sensitivity analyses to check the robustness of our conclusions
to covariates. First, I-O psychology draws a distinction between “science” and “practice,” with
most I-O psychologists working in either academic or applied settings. Perhaps owing to
differences in motivations and approaches to work, there may be differences in the way in which
people who primarily work in one role (e.g., academics) versus another (e.g., practitioners)
identify with their work or view their work through a specific ideological lens. Considering this,
we measured participants’ primary role in I-O psychology in terms of their self-identification as
either an “academic” or a “practitioner” and controlled for this in a supplementary sensitivity
analysis. Second, our sampling strategy drew broadly from the SIOP membership, resulting in a
diverse and representative sample of I-O psychologists at different levels (see Table 1). It is
reasonable to ask whether these different membership categories are associated with the way in
which people identify with the field of I-O psychology. Moreover, as suggested above, although
we cannot parse participants nationality or country of residence in our study, we can control for
the deprecated “international affiliate” membership category to partially address this source of
variance. Considering this, we asked participants to self-identify into one of six different
membership categories (i.e., associate, fellow, international affiliate, member, student affiliate, or
“other”) and controlled for this in a supplementary sensitivity analysis. In summary of both
covariate sensitivity analyses, the substantive conclusions from either model did not differ from
our focal analyses; complete details of both models are available in the online supplemental
material. Thus, we are confident that our findings are robust to differences in participant’s
primary role in I-O psychology and to their SIOP membership status.
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 20
Discussion
The goal of this study was to examine whether and how disagreements between personal
political orientation and the dominant political orientation that classifies one’s occupation affect
occupational identification. Based on person-environment fit and social identity theories, we
conducted an experimental study with a large sample of I-O psychologists and found some
support for our hypothesis that experiencing person-occupation political orientation misfit would
reduce levels of occupational identification. Consistent with our prediction, participants with a
conservative personal political orientation identified less with I-O psychology than their liberal
counterparts when research in this field was depicted as having a left-wing bias.
Interestingly, our main finding held for overall occupational identification and its self-
investment dimension (i.e., feeling positively about one’s in-group membership and having a
sense of belonging to the in-group; Leach et al., 2008), but not for the self-definition dimension
(i.e., perceiving oneself as similar to a prototypical in-group member; Leach et al., 2008).
Thus, even though more conservative I-O psychologists had a lower sense of emotional
belonging to their occupation (i.e., lower self-investment) when the field was depicted as having
a left-wing bias, they did not perceive themselves as less similar to a prototypical I-O
psychologist (i.e., their self-definition was not significantly lower). A potential explanation for
these differential findings for the two dimensions of occupational identification may be that more
conservative I-O psychologists generally conceive the prototypical or ideal I-O psychologist as
being politically more conservative and, therefore, their self-definition may not have been
affected by the experimental manipulation. This may also explain more conservative I-O
psychologists’ negative emotional reaction in terms of self-investment to our depiction of the
field as having a left-wing bias. Specifically, this negative reaction may have resulted from a
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 21
perceived mismatch between the prototypical or ideal I-O psychologist (i.e., someone who is
more conservative) and the portrayal of the “actual” political orientation of the field in the
specific experimental condition (i.e., the field as having a left-wing bias).
Finally, we found no significant associations between personal political orientation and
occupational identification in the neoliberal condition, and we also found no significant
associations in the pluralistic and neutral control conditions of our experiment. In the next
section, we discuss potential explanations for these differential findings for the left-wing and the
neoliberal conditions.
Theoretical Implications
Our findings are partially consistent with those of a recent study by Bermiss and
McDonald (2018), and also extend their study in important ways. Bermiss and McDonald (2018)
found that turnover was more likely for employees who experienced “conservative misfit” rather
than “liberal misfit” with their organization’s dominant political orientation. These findings were
attributed to differences between conservative and liberal people in terms of attitudes toward
ingroup (i.e., those with the same political orientation) and outgroup members (i.e., those who
hold a different political orientation). Specifically, based on social psychological research on
conservatism (Jost et al., 2003b; Kruglanski & Webster, 1996), Bermiss and McDonald (2018)
argued that people with a conservative as compared to a liberal political orientation rely more on
stereotyping and prejudgment, have higher rigidity and need for certainty, and show more
intolerance and hostility toward outgroup members. These psychological differences may have
strengthened the effects of ideological misfit on withdrawal behavior among conservatives.
Even though we focus on occupational and not organizational political orientation misfit,
the findings and theorizing by Bermiss and McDonald (2018) might help explain our findings.
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 22
Specifically, due to psychological differences between conservative and liberal people,
conservative I-O psychologists, who represent a minority in the field in the first place, might
react more strongly to person-occupation political orientation misfit (i.e., research in the field
being described as having a left-wing bias) in terms of reduced occupational identification. In
contrast, liberal I-O psychologist, who represent the majority in their field, may react less
strongly to person-occupation political orientation misfit (i.e., research in the field being
described as having a neoliberal ideology bias), as they generally rely less on stereotyping, are
more flexible and tolerant regarding uncertainty, and are less hostile toward outgroup members
(Jost et al., 2003b; Kruglanski & Webster, 1996). Future research should empirically examine
these potential explanations for our findings. In doing so, research should also seek to find
“middle ground” by focusing on shared values that extend beyond the (largely economic) values
depicted in our vignettes. In particular, the focus should be on those values that are common to
both liberal and conservative political ideologies, but that vary in their form or manifestation. For
example, the relative importance of different forms of morality could be investigated, which is
strongly valued (albeit for different reasons, and with different manifestations) across the
spectrum of political orientation (Haidt, 2007; Kivikangas et al., 2021; Lakoff, 2002).
Extending the findings of Bermiss and McDonald (2018) on person-organization misfit
and turnover, our research contributes to scholarship on occupational identification (e.g.,
Ashforth et al., 2013; Kroon & Noorderhaven, 2018). We focused on occupational identification
as a relevant outcome in our study, because previous descriptive research has mainly discussed
the political orientation of entire occupations rather than the political orientation of specific
organizations (e.g., van de Werfhorst, 2020). Occupational identification is a more proximal
outcome than turnover in the context of our research question and, thus, it may be conceived as a
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 23
potential mechanism of the political misfit-turnover link. However, it is generally less likely that
individuals leave their occupation as compared to their organization, because the mobility costs
(e.g., re-training) are likely higher (Ng et al., 2007). Thus, political orientation and political
orientation misfit may have different effects on outcomes that reside at different levels (e.g.,
organization vs. occupation). Consistently, Bermiss and McDonald (2018) found that liberals (as
compared to conservatives) were less likely to leave their organizations, regardless of fit,
whereas we did not find a significant main effect of personal political orientation on occupational
identification. Future theoretical work could identify potential reasons for these differences.
Consistent with research on political orientations in academia and, particularly, the field
of psychology (e.g., Duarte et al., 2015; Honeycutt & Freberg, 2017; Inbar & Lammers, 2012),
most I-O psychology academics and also practitioners who participated in our study reported
holding a liberal personal political orientation. In light of recent position papers and
commentaries proposing a (increasing) neoliberal bias in I-O psychology research (Bal & Dóci,
2018; Mumby, 2019), our finding suggests an intriguing paradox: most I-O psychologists hold a
liberal (or left-wing) personal political orientation, but research in the field is supposedly
“captured by neoliberalism” (Guest & Grote, 2018). More specifically, there seems to be a gap
between how many I-O psychologists view themselves politically (i.e., their personal political
orientation) and how some of their research approaches could be classified from a critical I-O
psychology perspective (see Islam & Sanderson, 2022). For instance, an I-O psychologist might
see herself as politically left-wing, but she may conduct research on individual difference
predictors of job crafting (i.e., actively fitting the job to one's abilities and needs; Rudolph et al.,
2017). From a critical perspective, this approach has been characterized as being consistent with
a neoliberal agenda, because it is assumed to suggest that the main responsibility to craft one’s
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 24
job (and, thus, also the responsibility for the positive outcomes of job crafting, such as improved
well-being) is placed upon the individual employee and not, as with traditional work design, on
the employer or broader social and economic conditions (Bal & Dóci, 2018). Maybe this paradox
explains why critical I-O psychology perspectives are not widely welcomed in the field (e.g.,
Aldag, 2019; Guest & Grote, 2018; Zacher, 2019): one’s research approach being categorized as
neoliberal when one considers oneself as politically left-wing may constitute an identity threat.
This paradox also raises the interesting questions of why, given that I-O psychology by
definition focuses on individual experience and behavior at work, more politically conservative
students are not attracted to the field, and why politically liberal academics do not more often
adopt multi-level research approaches that are more consistent with their political orientation.
Political scientists have pointed out that modern neoliberalism, and especially its
economic program (which was the focus of the current study), is largely consistent with
conservative or right-wing political values (Bettache & Chiu, 2019; Davidson & Saull, 2017). In
contrast, people with a liberal or left-wing political orientation have a more complex and
ambiguous relationship with neoliberalism. Specifically, although they disagree with its
economic program, which is diametrically opposed to social-democratic, socialist, and
communist ideas, they generally do support social and cultural liberalism. It may be that our
findings reflect this relationship: whereas conservative I-O psychologists reported a lower
occupational identification than their liberal counterparts in the left-wing experimental condition,
the occupational identification of liberal I-O psychologists did not differ significantly from their
conservative counterparts in the neoliberal condition. If research in the field of I-O psychology
was indeed dominated by the neoliberal ideology (n.b., which was not the focus of this study,
and which cannot be tested within the boundaries of our experiment), future research could
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 25
examine how liberal I-O psychologists “rationalize” their involvement in and identification with
an occupational field that is infiltrated by political values that supposedly, according to critical
organizational scholars, differ from their own.
Practical Implications
Beyond the theoretical importance, these findings have practical implications as well.
Perhaps most obviously, these finding suggest that relatively subtle messaging about political
orientation and ideological biases can affect people’s occupational identification. Given the
importance of occupational identification for important work and non-work outcomes (e.g.,
Ashforth et al., 2008; Ashforth et al., 2013), researchers and practitioners would be well served
to more closely consider the downstream effects of political disagreements in the workplace.
Indeed, more broadly, these results speak to the need to consider ways of integrating differences
in political orientations among members of various professions. To this end, research suggests
that 42% of employees have experienced political disagreements in the workplace, and 44% have
witnessed such disagreements. Importantly too, 12% of employees report that they have directly
experienced political affiliation bias at work (SHRM, 2020). In a world that is increasingly
politically polarized (e.g., PRRI, 2019), developing interventions to reduce political
disagreements and political affiliation bias is particularly important. Based on these results,
building such interventions around emphasizing pluralistic or neutral political views held by
one’s field may be efficacious for helping employees maintain their occupational identification
in the face of such conflicts.
Limitations and Directions for Future Research
Our study has several limitations that could be addressed in future research. First, we
used an experimental vignette methodology approach (Aguinis & Bradley, 2014), which has
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 26
been criticized for using inconsequential dependent variables (i.e., there are no rewards or
punishments linked to responding to an occupational identification survey) and for low
generalizability and lack of ecological validity (Lonati et al., 2018). We attempted to alleviate
these concerns by recruiting a sample highly relevant for our research question (i.e., I-O
psychologists) and potentially highly involved in the topic (i.e., role of politics in I-O
psychology). Moreover, we presented participants with realistic vignettes describing the results
of an unpublished (hypothetical) study on political ideology bias in I-O psychology research, and
we asked them to complete a survey on their actual occupational identification. Regarding the
realism of the task, it could be argued that reading about and considering the results of new
research studies is an activity that is both common and important to the work that I-O
psychologists “do.” Research could investigate whether our findings hold in other fields, such as
management, that may have different distributions of personal political orientations as compared
to psychology. Moreover, researchers could conduct field experiments by manipulating political
orientation bias in the “real world” (e.g., e-mails with different content sent by professional
associations to their members).
Second, we focused on participants reactions to a presumed political orientation bias in
their occupational field (i.e., neoliberal, left-wing). However, we did not answer the important
questions of what constitutes an ideological bias and how it may emerge, and we did not
empirically test whether such a bias exists. Our exploratory results on perceptions of political
values represented by the field (see online supplemental material) and previous research (Anseel
et al., 2018) suggest that the field of I-O psychology is not strongly biased by one political
ideology. Instead, the field appears more pluralistic than recent position papers suggest (e.g., Bal
& Dóci, 2018; Mumby, 2019), with dominant values from different political ideologies present
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 27
(e.g., both profit and social welfare). In this regard, we included depictions of I-O psychology
research has being politically pluralistic and neutral as control conditions only and did not
anticipate differences in these conditions. It may be possible that other, potentially more complex
conceptualizations and measures of personal political orientation (e.g., discrepancy between
personal values and political party affiliation; Swigart et al., 2020) are associated with different
reactions to these conditions.
Third, consistent with the focal interests of I-O psychology research and practice, we
focused on economic values of neoliberal and left-wing political ideologies and neglected social
and cultural values attached to these ideologies (e.g., importance of tradition, personal rights,
family values). Although political scientists have argued that the economic program of modern
neoliberalism is largely consistent with conservative or right-wing political values (Bettache &
Chiu, 2019; Davidson & Saull, 2017), our research design could be criticized for not including a
right-wing political ideology condition and for surveying participants only on their standing on
the left-right political orientation continuum and not their personal opinion regarding neoliberal
political ideology. The goal of our study was to empirically address the potential psychological
consequences of recent claims that I-O psychology research is dominated by neoliberal values,
and the authors of respective position papers and commentaries more or less explicitly suggest
left-wing alternatives to neoliberalism (Bal & Dóci, 2018; Mumby, 2019; Weber et al., 2020).
Nevertheless, research should differentiate between neoliberal, left-wing, and right-wing
economic, social, and cultural values, and also measure personal political orientation in
additional ways, for instance in terms of political party affiliation (Swigart et al., 2020). A
related limitation of our study is that we are unable to address international and cross-cultural
differences in reactions to political depictions of I-O psychology. Indeed, our study does not
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 28
allow us to investigate how political orientation may differ across different countries and for
people of different national origins. Although research suggests that measures of political
orientation such as that used here (i.e., those that distinguish between liberalism and
conservativism along a continuum) generalize across cultures, there are nuances to political
ideologies (e.g., the manifestations of specific left-wing and right-wing values) that are certain to
differ across countries. Research should endeavor to unpack whether and how these
differentiation manifest and affect identification processes. Specifically, research could replicate
our experiment with a nationally and culturally more diverse sample, for example by recruiting
members of the International Association for Applied Psychology. Research may also consider
other ways in which differences in political orientations manifest, for example by considering
other features of institutions (e.g., public vs. private) that might manifest ideological differences.
Fourth, consistent with suggestions that political orientation is closely linked to people’s
social identity (Swigart et al., 2020) and that in-group identification is linked to important work
and employee outcomes (Riketta, 2005), we focused on occupational identification as the central
outcome variable in our study. Research could explore the specific reasons why personal and
left-wing occupational orientation had joint effects on overall occupational identification and its
dimension of self-investment, but not on the dimension of self-definition (Leach et al., 2008). As
noted above, this may involve distinguishing between participants’ personal political orientation,
how they perceive the political orientation of their occupational field as a whole, and how they
perceive the political orientation of a prototypical or ideal member of their profession. Moreover,
studies should include additional important outcomes, such as actual investments into an
occupation (e.g., volunteering) or occupational mobility (e.g., changing occupations).
Additionally, although we suggest that identity threat could be one explanation for why
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 29
experiencing political disagreements at work might reduce occupational identification, our
design did not allow us to test this (assumed) mechanism. Research should consider alternative
experimental research designs that allow for the manipulation of both independent and
intermediary mechanisms to further tease apart this implied causal process (Stone-Romero &
Rosopa, 2011).
Finally, although our supplemental results showed that the experimental manipulation did
not have a significant effect on participants’ personal political orientation, future research could
assess this moderator variable before the experimental manipulation. However, potential priming
effects associated with how participants react to the experimental manipulation after having
reported their political orientation would then have to be considered, which could be an
interesting research question in-and-of itself.
Conclusion
Based on theorizing on person-environment fit and social identification, the results of our
experimental study showed that conservative I-O psychologists identify less with their
occupation than liberal I-O psychologists when I-O psychology research was depicted as having
a left-wing bias. In contrast, we found no difference between conservative and liberal I-O
psychologists in terms of occupational identification when I-O psychology research was depicted
as having a neoliberal bias, or as being politically pluralistic or neutral. Contrary to recent claims
that research in I-O psychology increasingly represents neoliberal values, most participating I-O
psychology academics and practitioners reported holding a liberal personal political orientation.
Overall, these findings contribute to the literature on the role of political orientation in the work
context and raise several interesting questions that could be examined in future research.
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 30
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POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 40
Table 1. Participant Demographics
Neoliberal
Left-Wing
Pluralistic
Neutral
Overall
(N=199)
(N=200)
(N=202)
(N=199)
(N=800)
Age
Mean (SD)
42.4 (14.2)
42.2 (14.0)
41.7 (15.1)
41.3 (15.7)
41.9 (14.7)
Median [Min, Max]
40.0 [18.0, 82.0]
40.0 [22.0, 79.0]
38.5 [21.0, 81.0]
36.0 [21.0, 85.0]
39.0 [18.0, 85.0]
Sex
Female
100 (50.3%)
100 (50.0%)
96 (47.5%)
96 (48.2%)
392 (49.0%)
Male
99 (49.7%)
99 (49.5%)
105 (52.0%)
103 (51.8%)
406 (50.8%)
Diverse
0 (0%)
1 (0.5%)
1 (0.5%)
0 (0%)
2 (0.2%)
Professional Tenure (Years)
Mean (SD)
14.3 (12.3)
14.8 (12.8)
14.4 (13.3)
14.2 (13.7)
14.4 (13.0)
Median [Min, Max]
10.0 [1.00, 52.0]
10.0 [1.00, 50.0]
8.00 [1.00, 55.0]
9.00 [1.00, 57.0]
10.0 [1.00, 57.0]
Organizational Tenure (Years)
Mean (SD)
8.02 (9.80)
8.53 (9.32)
8.17 (9.76)
8.09 (9.63)
8.20 (9.61)
Median [Min, Max]
4.00 [1.00, 52.0]
4.00 [1.00, 50.0]
4.00 [1.00, 55.0]
4.00 [1.00, 40.0]
4.00 [1.00, 55.0]
Position Tenure (Years)
Mean (SD)
5.59 (8.22)
6.25 (7.97)
6.13 (8.57)
6.32 (8.49)
6.07 (8.31)
Median [Min, Max]
2.00 [1.00, 52.0]
3.00 [1.00, 44.0]
3.00 [1.00, 55.0]
3.00 [1.00, 40.0]
3.00 [1.00, 55.0]
Highest Degree Earned
Masters
29 (14.6%)
29 (14.5%)
27 (13.4%)
36 (18.1%)
121 (15.1%)
Ph.D.
110 (55.3%)
114 (57.0%)
100 (49.5%)
85 (42.7%)
409 (51.1%)
Other
60 (30.2%)
57 (28.5%)
75 (37.1%)
78 (39.2%)
270 (33.8%)
SIOP Member Status
Associate
21 (10.6%)
19 (9.5%)
16 (7.9%)
25 (12.6%)
81 (10.1%)
Fellow
14 (7.0%)
15 (7.5%)
21 (10.4%)
12 (6.0%)
62 (7.8%)
International Affiliate
4 (2.0%)
14 (7.0%)
12 (5.9%)
10 (5.0%)
40 (5.0%)
Member
99 (49.7%)
100 (50.0%)
80 (39.6%)
83 (41.7%)
362 (45.2%)
Student Affiliate
53 (26.6%)
48 (24.0%)
70 (34.7%)
65 (32.7%)
236 (29.5%)
Other
8 (4.0%)
4 (2.0%)
3 (1.5%)
4 (2.0%)
19 (2.4%)
Personal Political Orientation
Mean (SD)
3.71 (1.77)
4.00 (1.87)
3.60 (1.86)
3.67 (1.79)
3.74 (1.83)
Median [Min, Max]
3.00 [1.00, 9.00]
4.00 [1.00, 9.00]
3.00 [1.00, 9.00]
3.00 [1.00, 9.00]
3.00 [1.00, 9.00]
Academic/Practitioner
Academic
88 (44.2%)
93 (46.5%)
102 (50.5%)
85 (42.7%)
368 (46.0%)
Practitioner
111 (55.8%)
107 (53.5%)
100 (49.5%)
114 (57.3%)
432 (54.0%)
Occupational Identification
Mean (SD)
5.22 (0.812)
5.22 (0.847)
5.22 (0.760)
5.29 (0.745)
5.24 (0.791)
Median [Min, Max]
5.29 [2.36, 6.79]
5.29 [2.29, 6.79]
5.21 [2.07, 7.00]
5.36 [2.64, 7.00]
5.29 [2.07, 7.00]
Self-Definition
Mean (SD)
4.74 (0.850)
4.66 (0.948)
4.73 (0.833)
4.76 (0.858)
4.72 (0.872)
Median [Min, Max]
4.71 [2.71, 6.71]
4.71 [1.86, 6.71]
4.71 [2.14, 7.00]
4.71 [2.29, 7.00]
4.71 [1.86, 7.00]
Self-Investment
Mean (SD)
5.70 (0.970)
5.78 (0.902)
5.72 (0.850)
5.82 (0.843)
5.75 (0.892)
Median [Min, Max]
5.86 [1.71, 7.00]
5.86 [2.00, 7.00]
5.86 [1.86, 7.00]
5.86 [1.14, 7.00]
5.86 [1.14, 7.00]
Note. SIOP = Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 41
Table 2. Summary of Model Effects for Occupational Identification
Effect
SS
df
F
p
fCohen's
Condition [C]
4.013
3
2.146
0.093
0.09
Personal Political Orientation [PPO]
1.134
1
1.819
0.178
0.048
C × PPO
5.357
3
2.864
0.036
0.104
Residuals
493.715
792
Table 3. Follow-up Linear Trend Analysis
Condition
Est.
df
95% CI
Lower
95% CI
Upper
Neoliberal
0.043
792
-0.019
0.105
Left Wing
-0.076
792
-0.135
-0.018
Pluralistic
-0.013
792
-0.072
0.046
Neutral
0.020
792
-0.042
0.081
Table 4. Follow-up Contrasts
Contrast
Est.
SE
df
t
p
Neoliberal Left-Wing
0.119
0.044
792
2.732
0.033
Neoliberal Pluralistic
0.056
0.044
792
1.281
0.576
Neoliberal Neutral
0.023
0.045
792
0.518
0.955
Left-Wing Pluralistic
-0.063
0.042
792
-1.496
0.440
Left-Wing Neutral
-0.096
0.043
792
-2.218
0.119
Pluralistic Neutral
-0.033
0.043
792
-0.756
0.874
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 42
Figure 1. Graphical Depiction of Linear Trend Analysis
Note. Solid lines represent linear trends (see Table 3). Grey bars around trends represent 95%
confidence intervals predicted for each level of personal political orientation.
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 43
Appendix
Vignettes Used in the Experimental Study
Condition 1: Neoliberal Ideology
New Study: Research in industrial and organizational psychology has a neoliberal ideology
bias
Findings of a new, currently still unpublished study show that research published in top-tier
journals in the field of industrial and organizational psychology has a neoliberal ideology bias.
Key characteristics of neoliberal ideology include an emphasis on private ownership of the
means of production and distribution, competition, accumulation of profit, free trade, and
deregulation of markets.
The study authors conducted a content analysis of over 5,000 empirical journal articles published
in the 10 most highly-ranked industrial and organizational psychology journal over the past 20
years.
They conclude that “neoliberal ideology has a strong influence not only on the selection of
research topics, research questions asked, and methods, but also on the content of scientific and
practical implications derived from research findings in industrial and organizational
psychology.”
Condition 2: Left-Wing Ideology
New Study: Research in industrial and organizational psychology has a left-wing ideology
bias
Findings of a new, currently still unpublished study show that research published in top-tier
journals in the field of industrial and organizational psychology has a left-wing ideology bias.
Key characteristics of left-wing ideology include an emphasis on public ownership of the means
of production and distribution, economic equality, social welfare, controlled trade, and economic
planning.
The study authors conducted a content analysis of over 5,000 empirical journal articles published
in the 10 most highly-ranked industrial and organizational psychology journal over the past 20
years.
They conclude that “left-wing ideology has a strong influence not only on the selection of
research topics, research questions asked, and methods, but also on the content of scientific and
practical implications derived from research findings in industrial and organizational
psychology.”
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 44
Condition 3: Pluralistic
New Study: Research in industrial and organizational psychology is politically pluralistic
and different ideologies have equally strong influences
Findings of a new, currently still unpublished study show that research published in top-tier
journals in the field of industrial and organizational psychology is politically pluralistic and that
different ideologies have equal influences.
The study sought to identify key characteristics of neoliberal ideology and left-wing ideology.
Key characteristics of neoliberal ideology include an emphasis on private ownership of the
means of production and distribution, competition, accumulation of profit, free trade, and
deregulation of markets.
Key characteristics of left-wing ideology include an emphasis on public ownership of the means
of production and distribution, economic equality, social welfare, controlled trade, and economic
planning.
The study authors conducted a content analysis of over 5,000 empirical journal articles published
in the 10 most highly-ranked industrial and organizational psychology journal over the past 20
years.
They conclude that “neoliberal ideology and left-wing ideology had equally strong influences on
the selection of research topics, research questions asked, and methods, as well as on the content
of scientific and practical implications derived from research findings in industrial and
organizational psychology.”
Condition 4: Politically Neural
New Study: Research in industrial and organizational psychology politically neutral and
not ideologically biased
Findings of a new, currently still unpublished study show that research published in top-tier
journals in the field of industrial and organizational psychology is politically neutral and not at
all biased by ideologies.
Key characteristics of neoliberal ideology include an emphasis on private ownership of the
means of production and distribution, competition, accumulation of profit, free trade, and
deregulation of markets.
Key characteristics of left-wing ideology include an emphasis on public ownership of the means
of production and distribution, economic equality, social welfare, controlled trade, and economic
planning.
POLITICAL ORIENTATION MISFIT 45
The study authors conducted a content analysis of over 5,000 empirical journal articles published
in the 10 most highly-ranked industrial and organizational psychology journal over the past 20
years.
They conclude that “neither neoliberal ideology nor left-wing ideology influence the selection of
research topics, research questions asked, and methods, or the content of scientific and practical
implications derived from research findings in industrial and organizational psychology.”
Occupational Identification Scale (Adapted from Leach et al., 2008)
(Scale ranging from 1 = very strongly disagree to 7 = very strongly agree)
Self-Investment Solidarity
1. I feel a bond with industrial and organizational psychologists.
2. I feel solidarity with industrial and organizational psychologists.
3. I feel committed to industrial and organizational psychology.
Satisfaction
4. I am glad to be an industrial and organizational psychologist.
5. I think that industrial and organizational psychologists have a lot to be proud of.
6. It is pleasant to be an industrial and organizational psychologist.
7. Being an industrial and organizational psychologist gives me a good feeling.
Centrality
8. I often think about the fact that I am an industrial and organizational psychologist.
9. The fact that I am an industrial and organizational psychologist is an important part of my
identity.
10. Being an industrial and organizational psychologist is an important part of how I see myself.
Individual Self-Stereotyping
11. I have a lot in common with the average industrial and organizational psychologist.
12. I am similar to the average industrial and organizational psychologist.
In-Group Homogeneity
13. Industrial and organizational psychologists have a lot in common with each other.
14. Industrial and organizational psychologists are very similar to each other.
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We investigate the relationship of morality and political orientation by focusing on the influential results showing that liberals and conservatives rely on different moral foundations. We conducted a comprehensive literature search from major databases and other sources for primary studies that used the Moral Foundations Questionnaire and a typical measure of political orientation, a political self-placement item. We used a predefined process for independent extraction of effect sizes by two authors and ran both study-level and individual-level analyses. With 89 samples, 605 effect sizes, and 33,804 independent participants, in addition to 192,870 participants from the widely used YourMorals.org website, the basic differences about conservatives and liberals are supported. Yet, heterogeneity is moderate, and the results may be less generalizable across samples and political cultures than previously thought. The effect sizes obtained from the YourMorals.org data appear inflated compared with independent samples, which is partly related to political interest and may be because of self-selection. The association of moral foundations to political orientation varies culturally (between regions and countries) and subculturally (between White and Black respondents and in response to political interest). The associations also differ depending on the choice of the social or economic dimension and its labeling, supporting both the bidimensional model of political orientation and the findings that the dimensions are often strongly correlated. Our findings have implications for interpreting published studies, as well as designing new ones where the political aspect of morality is relevant. The results are primarily limited by the validity of the measures and the homogeneity of the included studies in terms of sample origins. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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Political polarization has increased significantly in society over the past decade, and whether intended or not, employees at all levels bring their political ideologies into organizations. We posit that political ideology is unique and warrants the attention of organizational scholars. We begin by integrating literature from political science and political psychology to review the various conceptualizations of political ideology as representing values, identity, and political affiliation. Next, we review the literature of political ideology in organizational sciences which has examined political ideology through a values-based lens,understanding it to be a source of motivated reasoning that influences strategic decisions. We then review a smaller subset of literature that has examined political ideology through an identity-based lens, exploring its influence on social dynamics including stereotyping, diversity in teams, and person-organization fit. Finally, we chart a course for future research on political ideology, focusing on (1) conceptual expansions, (2) contextual determinants, (3) diversity, (4) cross-level alignment, and (5) the acknowledgment of possible researcher bias.
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What could critical theory have done to help my father? (Absolutely nothing) - Volume 12 Issue 4 - Ramon J. Aldag
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Recent research in political science, along with theory in applied psychology, has suggested that political affiliation may be associated with substantial levels of affect and, thus, might influence employment decision-makers. We designed 2 experiments using social media screening tasks to examine the effects of political affiliation similarity on ratings of hireability. Our findings in both studies suggest that the identification (capturing positive affect) and disidentification (capturing negative affect) of a decision-maker with a job applicant's political affiliation were important variables that influenced perceived similarity. Consistent with the similarity-attraction paradigm, perceived similarity was related to liking and, in turn, liking was related to expected levels of applicant task and organizational citizenship behavior performance. Further, in both studies, political affiliation related variables influenced hireability decisions over and above job-relevant individuating information. Future research should continue to examine political affiliation similarity, particularly in light of its frequent availability to decision-makers (e.g., via social media websites). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).