Does rejection lead to disidentification? The role of internal motivation and avoidance strategies



Getting rejected can either push newcomers out of the group or make them try harder to become accepted. It is suggested that newcomers' internal motivation to become a group member and their strategies determine the outcomes of rejection. It was expected that in rejected newcomers, avoidance strategies (but not approach strategies) lead to stronger disidentification. Moreover, the disidentification effect of avoidance strategies is predicted to be buffered by the internal motivation to become a group member. Two studies supported these predictions. Study 1 manipulated the group's feedback (rejection vs. acceptance) and assessed internal motivation and strategies. Study 2 measured feedback and replicated the findings in the field. Thus, by the adoption of the right motivational approach, newcomers can prepare themselves not to be driven out of a new group by the almost unavoidable experiences of rejection. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.