When Moral Identity Symbolization Motivates Prosocial Behavior: The Role of Recognition and Moral Identity Internalization
Journal of Applied Psychology, Forthcoming
36 Pages Posted: 7 May 2013 Last revised: 18 May 2014
Date Written: May 6, 2013
This paper examines the role of moral identity symbolization in motivating prosocial behaviors. We propose a three-way interaction of moral identity symbolization, internalization, and recognition to predict prosocial behavior. When moral identity internalization is low, we hypothesize that high moral identity symbolization motivates recognized prosocial behavior due to the opportunity to present one’s moral characteristics to others. In contrast, when moral identity internalization is high, prosocial behavior is motivated irrespective of the level of symbolization and recognition. Two studies provide support for this pattern examining volunteering of time. Our results provide a framework for predicting prosocial behavior by combining the two dimensions of moral identity with the situational factor of recognition.
Keywords: prosocial behavior, symbolization, internalization, recognition, moral identity
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