Dedicate Your Life to the Company! A Terror Management Perspective on Organizations


Eva Jonas, Department of Psychology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunner Str. 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria. E-mail:


Terror management research has examined many institutions and beliefs, which provide people with a sense of psychological security against death awareness. However, one important area has yet to receive attention: the workplace. For many employees, corporate culture is not only connected to earning a salary, but also to a sense of security and even personal transcendence. We present evidence that pro-company judgments can serve as psychological defenses under existential threat. In Study 1, following mortality salience, employees gave a more favorable evaluation of the company-praising essay and a more negative evaluation of the critical one. In Study 2, employees and students at a German university were more likely to endorse aspects of organizational culture under mortality salience.