A recent theoretical proposal is that relational identification generalizes to organizational identification through affective, cognitive, and behavioral mediating mechanisms. The generalization process is strengthened when a relational other is prototypical - that is, is seen as promoting core organizational values. We investigate these propositions via two field studies. First, we find, via temporally lagged data from 186 newcomers to the telemarketing industry, that relational identification with a supervisor generalizes to organizational identification through affective (i.e., affect transfer), cognitive (i.e., social influence), and behavioral (i.e., behavioral "sensemaking") mediating mechanisms. Second, we find, via temporally lagged data from 1,101 newcomers to the U.S. Army, that a newcomer's relational identification with his/her supervisor generalizes to the newcomer's organizational identification, but only when the supervisor is perceived to be prototypical. Our combined findings suggest that (1) multiple identifications are more integrative than exclusive and (2) organizational membership may be more personalized and relational than previously assumed in extant research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation