When Do Employees Identify? An Analysis of Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Predictors of Training Group and Organizational Identification1


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    The research reported in this article was supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)/International Graduate College (IGC), “Conflict and Cooperation Between Groups: Perspectives From Social and Developmental Psychology.”
    The authors thank Rupert Brown and Steffen Giessner for their comments on an earlier draft of the article, and Katrin Wodzicki for her help with data collection.

Sabine Otten, Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, University of Groningen, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, NL-9712 TS Groningen, The Netherlands. E-mail: s.otten@rug.nl


Organizational research has shown the impact of organizational identification on employees' attitudes and behavior, and its relevance for economic success (Haslam, 2004). Furthermore, the necessity to differentiate levels of identification within organizations has been emphasized (van Knippenberg & van Schie, 2000). Little is known, however, about predictors of different identification levels within organizations and their influence on the development of identification. In a longitudinal study with training groups of flight attendants, we investigated how foci of identification (training group, organization) were differentially predicted by cross-sectional and longitudinal variables. Interpersonal attraction related to training group identification, whereas professional motivation related to organizational identification. Furthermore, expected job circumstances and professional motivation were longitudinal predictors for training group identification and organizational identification, respectively.