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Organizational identification and the communication of identity: Effects of message characteristics on cognitive and affective identification


Martin Tanis, VU University, Department of Communication Science, De Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (e-mail:


This paper reports an experimental study (N= 321) that tests how the cognitive and affective component of organizational identification (OI) can be affected by peripheral characteristics of organizational communication. Results show that adding cues in emails that signal organizational identity, such as the company logo, font, and colour of text, positively affect the cognitive component of OI, but not the affective component. In contrast, a personal focus in the message had a positive effect on the affective, but not on the cognitive component of OI. This study supports the idea that OI is a multi-faceted construct comprising a cognitive and affective component, and that these different components can be affected by different characteristics of organizational email messages.