Organizational Identification During a Merger: The Role of Self‐Enhancement and Uncertainty Reduction Motives During a Major Organizational Change

31 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2014

See all articles by Mirdita N. Elstak

Mirdita N. Elstak

Central Bank of Suriname

Mamta Bhatt

Boston College

C.B.M. van Riel

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Michael G. Pratt

Boston College

Guido Berens

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Date Written: January 2015

Abstract

Past research focuses predominantly on self‐enhancement as a motive underlying organizational identification even though there have been several calls for examining multiple motives of identification. Our research explores the interplay of the self‐enhancement and the uncertainty reduction motives in shaping identification during a major organizational change: a merger of a business unit with its parent corporation. Based on analysis of survey responses collected from 751 employees of the merging business unit, we find that the self‐enhancement motive, measured via attractiveness of perceived organizational identity and perceived external prestige, continues to influence identification during this merger. However, its effects are diminished when considering the effect of the uncertainty reduction motive. In particular, in addition to affecting identification directly, this latter motive, measured via agreement with projected identity of the business unit and identification with a distal target (i.e., the parent corporation), decreases the effect of perceived external prestige on business unit identification. Our research answers longstanding calls for understanding organizational identification motives beyond self‐enhancement, and shows how multiple identification motives work during a major organizational change: a time when identification is strongly needed, yet hard to garner.

Keywords: identification motives, organizational change, organizational identification, quantitative

Suggested Citation

Elstak, Mirdita N. and Bhatt, Mamta and van Riel, Cees B.M. and Pratt, Michael G. and Berens, Guido, Organizational Identification During a Merger: The Role of Self‐Enhancement and Uncertainty Reduction Motives During a Major Organizational Change (January 2015). Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 52, Issue 1, pp. 32-62, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2538022 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/joms.12105

Mirdita N. Elstak (Contact Author)

Central Bank of Suriname

Waterkant 20 Paramaribo
Suriname

Mamta Bhatt

Boston College ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

Cees B.M. Van Riel

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Michael G. Pratt

Boston College ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

Guido Berens

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

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