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org identification - Western Journal of Communication Vol...

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It Depends on Who You’re Talking To . . . : Predictors and Outcomes of Situated Measures of Organizational Identification Craig R. Scott & Keri K. Stephens Scholars have researched organizational identification extensively in recent years. Only occasionally, however, has this research examined multiple targets simultaneously and almost never has it examined variations that occur as individuals interact with others during different activities. The research reported here draws on Scott, Corman, and Cheney’s (1998) communicative model of situated identification to investigate identifica- tion with various organizational targets across three communication-based situations. Situated scores based on communication partner and identification target were related to several predictor and outcome variables. Keywords: Communication; Identification; Organization; Situational; Volunteers There is substantial evidence that strong levels of identification and other forms of attachment (e.g., commitment, loyalty) contribute to a number of desirable out- comes for organizations and their members, including increased work satisfaction, reduced absenteeism and turnover, and greater productivity in organizations (see Ashforth & Mael, 1989; Meyer & Allen, 1997; Scott et al., 1999). Identification has also been connected to powerful, but unobtrusive, forms of control in the workplace (see Barker, 1993; Barker & Tompkins, 1994; Papa, Auwal, & Singhal, 1997; Tompkins & Cheney, 1985). Additionally, because ‘‘an organization must reside in the heads and hearts of its members’’ (Albert, Ashforth, & Dutton, 2000, p. 13), internalizing a Craig R. Scott is in the Department of Communication at Rutgers University. Keri K. Stephens is in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Correspondence to: Craig R. Scott, Department of Communication, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. E-mail: [email protected] Western Journal of Communication Vol. 73, No. 4, October–December 2009, pp. 370–394 ISSN 1057-0314 (print)/ISSN 1745-1027 (online) # 2009 Western States Communication Association DOI: 10.1080/10570310903279075
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group or organizational identity as a definition of self provides members with a sense of meaningfulness and connection. Creating a sense of connection (i.e., identification), however, between organiza- tions and their members has become a growing challenge in an age where employees have increasing numbers of potential attachment targets and organizations appear less loyal to their members (Scott, 2001). Trying to keep members constantly identi- fied with an organization may exert substantial costs on all involved (Gossett, 2002). What may matter in terms of efforts to motivate and retain members is when a per- son is identified. If opportunities and situations can be created that foster strong identifications at appropriate times, those positive outcomes may be possible even amid more fleeting attachments.
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