Factors Leading to Group Identification: A Field Study of Winners and Losers

Psychology & Marketing, Volume 15, Issue 1, pages 23–40, January 1998

University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-381

18 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2014

See all articles by Robert Fisher

Robert Fisher

University of Alberta - Department of Marketing, Business Economics & Law

Kirk Wakefield

Baylor University

Date Written: 1997

Abstract

Why do fans of losing sports teams, alumni of poorly ranked educational programs, and patrons of charities that are rocked by scandal maintain or even increase their support? The present research investigates this issue by examining how differences in group success affect the factors that lead to identification and ultimately the incidence of group-supportive behaviors. The results of a two-group field study of professional sports fans suggest that members of unsuccessful groups identify on the basis of their involvement with the domain in which the group operates and the attractiveness of group members. Also, whereas perceived group performance is the most important factor leading to identification for members of successful groups, this factor is irrelevant to members of unsuccessful groups. In addition, the study finds a strong association between the strength of identification and the incidence of group-supportive consumption behaviors for members of both types of groups. The research has important implications for organizations that depend upon member support, such as sports teams, educational institutions, musical groups, and charities.

Keywords: sports marketing, identification, competition

Suggested Citation

Fisher, Robert and Wakefield, Kirk, Factors Leading to Group Identification: A Field Study of Winners and Losers (1997). Psychology & Marketing, Volume 15, Issue 1, pages 23–40, January 1998; University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-381. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2275247

Robert Fisher (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Department of Marketing, Business Economics & Law ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

Kirk Wakefield

Baylor University ( email )

Waco, TX 76798
United States

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