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Abstract

What leads some people to maintain commitment to faltering organizational projects while others abandon them? Building on previous work that has examined the link between social identity and the characteristics of decision-making associated with groupthink, this paper argues that one key determinant of continued commitment to group projects is the extent to which group members define themselves in terms of a shared social identity rather than as individuals. This hypothesis is tested in two experiments that manipulate social identity salience and monitor attitudinal and financial commitment to an organizational project that encounters increasing difficulties over time. As predicted, in both studies, experimentally induced social identification leads to sustained commitment to the project across three temporal phases, while individuation of participants leads to a loss of faith and reduced financial commitment. These results contribute to theoretical understanding of the important role played by social identity in unfolding patterns of organizational and team commitment. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.