Lefort, J. N. (2012). Work groups and organizations: An examination of commitment and motivation from a social identity perspective (Doctoral dissertation, CAPELLA UNIVERSITY).

Please reference to source, this paper for note only

Researchers have based their studies of human behavior on several paradigms. Each paradigm aligns with a distinct perspective of the world and human nature. Among the paradigms most commonly incorporated into behavioral research are the economic paradigm with its links to scientific management, the individual differences paradigm which considers the individual’s personality, the human relations paradigm which considers the influence of organizations on human behavior while stressing the importance of environmental factors and the cognitive paradigm which considers the influence of the individual’s cognitive response to the environment and its impact on human behavior (Haslam, 2008).
The economic paradigm relies on the notion that motivation in the work place is directly related to personal financial gain. Taylor and other advocates of the economic approach considered individual workers to be lazy and without motivation. Taylor advocated the selection of the best workers for the task and to pay the individual based upon a measurable output. During the early twentieth century, the economic paradigm embraced by many practitioners and scholars; however, research results demonstrated a conflict in the impact of financial incentives upon motivation and production. In addition, researchers note financial considerations are not always viewed as the primary attribute of an individual’s employment. Perhaps the greatest short- coming of the economic paradigm is its failure to consider the role of human nature in fulfilling the individual’s needs (Haslam, 2008).

While the economic paradigm is devoid of consideration of human nature, an alternative paradigm known as the individual differences paradigm considers the role of those differences as they relate to organizational behavior. The paradigm is based on the work of Munsterburg, the founder of industrial psychology, and his application of experimental methodology in studying organizational behavior. Munsterberg believed individual personalities and the organization’s environment greatly influenced behavior; however, an understanding of their impacts is hard to acquire due to the complexity of the attributes and the complexity of the interaction among the attributes. Through his work Munsterburg demonstrated the impact of groups upon decision-making. He noted the existence of relationships between the individual and the group. Later, the concept of these relationships contributed to the development of social identity theory (Haslam, 2008).
Other researchers questioned the adequacy of the economic paradigm as a means of studying organizational behavior. McGregor considered Taylor’s view of the organization and motivation as overly pessimistic. McGregor applied his Theory X and Theory Y notations as a means of describing two distinct perspectives of organizations.
Noting Theory X reflected Taylor’s views of the workplace, McGregor considered the perspective as constrained and not reflective of the true potential of motivation. McGregor’s Theory Y takes a more optimistic view of the individual and offers a means of meeting the workers higher order needs. Through his discussion of the two theories, McGregor discounts the value of the economic paradigm as a means of analyzing organizational behavior.
McGregor’s argument against the economic paradigm builds on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow contends humans have needs spanning a range from basic low-level needs to high-level needs. While Maslow suggests basic unsatisfied needs influence motivation, once these needs are met motivation can be obtained from the higher needs. Nevertheless, a true understanding of needs based motivation has proven to be difficult to develop. Herzberg’s contribution to the individual differences paradigm evolved from a series of studies concerning workers’ needs. Based on the research, Herzberg suggests the best way to motivate employees is through job enrichment (Haslam, 2008).
The individual differences approach to motivation holds that behavior is dependent on the individual’s personality. McClelland, an influential advocate of the individual differences paradigm, suggests a sharing of low-level physical and security needs across the population accompanied by a high-order need suitable for motivation possessed by a limited number of individuals. McClellan contends people possessing a high need for achievement possess high levels of motivation. McClellan’s motivation model has been tested in the lab, in large-scale field studies, and in cross-organizational and cross-cultural studies. The results of the studies highlight a spectrum of motivation patterns and serves as a  counter argument to the economic paradigm view of behavior (Haslam, 2008).
Objections to McClelland’s conclusions and model should be noted. Opponents of McClelland’s view note a conflict between the assumption that the need for achievement is developed during childhood and the potential for acquiring the need in adulthood. McClelland’s opponents argue if a change in need can be introduced the result is derived from training not inherent personality. Meanwhile, attempts to meet the challenges to McClelland’s model are based on the premise that motivation is based purely on the character of the individual (Haslam, 2008).
Unlike the economic paradigm and the individual differences paradigm, which emphasize the individual as the proper unit of psychological inquiry and prospective source of organizational efficiency, the human relations paradigm views the group as the proper unit for emphasis (Haslam, 2008). Early research by Fox and Scott (as cited in Haslam, 2008) demonstrates the impact of work groups on job performance, while Mayo’s (as cited in Haslam, 2008) reevaluation of earlier work led Mayo to oppose the accepted notion that workers were a self-centered rabble. Mayo concluded the group, not the individual, was the dominant influence of motivation and behavior. Although Mayo and his colleagues did not delve into the psychological processes of individuals and the groups they established, the researchers introduced a new perspective for the analysis of organizational behavior.
According to the cognitive paradigm, an individual’s behavior is a response to environmental factors and is mediated by the individual’s cognitive response to the environment. The origins of the cognitive paradigm are traceable to cognition models which have found support  among social psychologists. The cognitive paradigm consists of two primary approaches to organizational motivation and behavior, with each supported by an extensive history and body of research. One approach incorporates social exchange theories while the other approach relies on the concept of intrinsic motivation. The approaches share a common assumption that individuals act after considering the value and ramifications of their behavior (Haslam, 2008).
The social exchange approach includes: expectancy theory, goal-setting theory, and equity theory. Although expectancy theory and goal-setting theory share certain similarities, under expectancy theory individuals seek to maximize their personal outcome while goal-setting theory stresses the importance of the individual’s goals in choosing the appropriate behavioral response. Based on research findings, researchers suggest concrete goals, which are specific and realistic are superior to abstract and undemanding goals as a means of motivating individuals. Many organizations rely on goal setting with employee participation as a motivational technique; however, the results of these activities have been mixed. Equity theory is similar to expectancy theory; however, equity theory considers rewards and costs rather than just reward. Equity theory posits individuals act in a manner they perceive as being just with equilibrium of costs and benefits among the affected parties. A lack of a concrete measure of costs and rewards is a weakness of the exchange approach and the cognitive paradigm (Haslam, 2008).
Ambrose and Kulik (1999) performed a review of over 200 studies of motivation performed during the period from 1990 through 1997. Based on their review of the literature, the researchers note patterns in the area of motivation research. Motivation coupled with ability is considered a critical influence on employee performance, with motivation defined as the internal and external drivers of the employee’s behavior (Ambrose & Kulik,1999). In line with the paradigms related to the study of human behavior, Ambrose and Kulik (1999) found multiple studies based on each paradigm. Research addressing the concept of motivation has traditionally considered motives and needs (Aldefer, 1969). Ambrose and Kulik (1999) located several articles depicting research utilizing Herzberg’s notion of intrinsic and extrinsic elements. Intrinsic motivation refers to activities, which are undertaken for internal reasons, such as, enjoyment or interest rather than external factors. Researchers have noted the difficulty in classifying a motivator as intrinsic or extrinsic (Haslam, 2008). Herzberg’s theory has found greater support in organizational settings limiting the use of financial motivators. Meanwhile, needs research has been concentrated on the need for achievement and demonstrated a relationship between the need to achieve and the employee’s job performance (Bluen, Barling, & Burns, 1990). Expectancy theory, equity theory, goal-setting theory, and cognitive theory are included in numerous studies under review (Ambrose & Kulik, 1999). The theories share a degree of mixed results. Expectancy theory provides the basic framework for several studies and has been incorporated into motivational programs enacted by numerous organizations. The results obtained from research incorporating expectancy theory, as well as, the experiences of  practitioners using the theory as a basis for motivating employees has been mixed. Likewise, the adaption of equity theory in research and the workplace has led to mixed results. On the other hand, the literature is more supportive of the use of goal-setting as a means of motivation. The establishment of a goal is more concrete in nature than the hypothetical nature of expectancy theory and equity theory, which leads to an easier understanding of goal-setting; however, the concept has experienced mixed results in practice. According to Ambrose and Kulik (1999), cognitive theory has demonstrated strength in the area of defining motivation; however, the complexity of the relationships among the numerous attributes associated with the theory has proven difficult to fully resolve. Meanwhile, researchers are making progress in examining the interplay between motivational measures and performance. Research pertaining to motivation continues to evolve. In addition to studies centered on the primary paradigms, researchers are venturing into the areas of reinforcement theory, motivation and creativity, and group relations. The newer studies incorporating reinforcement theory examine the role of punishment as a motivator and have evolved from a laboratory setting into field settings. In addition, researchers are examining the implications of intrinsic motivation upon the creative process and are trying to identify the means for organizations to stimulate employee performance and creativity. Besides examining new approaches to the motivation of the individual, researchers have expanded the resource base to consider the role of groups and commitment. Of particular interest to researchers is the relationship between individual motivation and group motivation (Ambrose & Kulik, 1999).
Some researchers offer worker engagement as a means of understanding worker motivation and worker performance. Kahn (1990) considers engagement to be a motivational concept. Schaufeli and Bakker (2003) also view the mediation role of engagement in the motivation process. Building on Kahn’s premise, Rich, Lepine, and Crawford (2010) suggest engagement may better explain job performance than earlier posits. Law, Wong, and Mobley (1998) describe worker engagement as a motivational concept, which includes physical, cognitive, and emotional elements. Schaufeli and Bakker’s (2003) research demonstrates a positive association between engagement and positive work attitudes. In addition, Schaufeli and Bakker (2003) view engaged workers as energetic and motivated while demonstrating vigor, dedication, and absorption. Meanwhile, Schutte, Toppinen, Kalimo, and Schaufeli (2000) note the engaged worker’s dedication to work performance and inherent confidence in his or her effectiveness. While Maslach, Schaufeli, and Leiter (2001) differentiate engagement from organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and job involvement, Rich et al. (2010) demonstrate that employees with high levels of engagement possess corresponding high levels of individual task performance and organizational citizenship behavior. Given the demonstrated relationships between engagement and worker performance, engagement can be considered as a measure for motivated employees.

Changes in the work place have created an ambiguous environment in which workers are experiencing a realignment of their role in the organization. Traditional roles and functions are replaced by an onset of ad hoc groups and other forms of team centered alliances. The migration from a manufacturing economy to knowledge and service economy further exacerbate the situation. Confronted with this development traditional concepts of motivation and performance are muddled. Seeking an understanding of the interplay among individuals, groups and motivation, Ellemers, De Gilder, and Haslam (2004) use an empirically supported model to view the organization from a group perspective. Central to the researchers approach is the adoption of a perspective based on social identity theory.
According to social identity theory, identification with a group influences the individual’s behavior and can serve as a motivator. The individual’s motivation can be attributable to an emotional connection with the group and can lead to an effort to achieve the group’s goals. Through a social identity perspective researchers can identify the focus of the individual’s commitment and predict the consequences of the commitment. In instances of the individual identifying with multiple groups, the individual will tend to identity with particular attributes (Ellemers et al., 2004).
Based on their review of the literature, Ellemers et al. (2004) conclude the best way to motivate people is case dependent. In addition, the researchers conclude that social identity theory provides a suitable framework for understanding group and individual motivation; however, the authors recommend additional research should consist of studies in an organizational setting rather than the experiment focus of the studies under their review.
Commitment refers to the emotional ties between the individual and the organization. Research has demonstrated commitment can predict behavior, while involvement with the group can be a predictor of group-oriented efforts (Ellemers et al., 2004). Additional  complexity arises because an individual can simultaneously possess commitments to more than one group or entity. The occurrence of multiple commitments is most prevalent in the case of professionals holding commitments to their organization as well as to their profession (Lee, 1971). Adding to the complexity, scholars have a history of confusing organizational identity with organizational commitment. Scholars have defined and measured commitment in numerous ways. The lack of consensus in the definition of commitment; which, is compounded by research measures which do not correspond to a definition of commitment (Allen & Meyer, 1990) contributes to research difficulties as well as in the area of management practice (Mael & Ashforth, 1992). Meyer and Allen (1991) report three general themes relative to organizational commitment. The desire to maintain membership in the organization is known as affective commitment. This form of commitment is attributable to the individual’s feeling of comfort and personal confidence as a result of work experiences. Continuance commitment is a function of the individual’s realization of the costs associated with leaving the organization. Normative commitment is based on feelings of loyalty to the organization. As one of the components increases in strength the likelihood of an individual leaving the organization decreases; however, the effect of the components on job behavior is not easily determined.
In an effort to address the confusion resulting from the multiple definitions of commitment, Allen and Meyer (1990) discuss two studies; which, were conducted to test the three-component model of commitment. Research has demonstrated that the affective and continuance components of organizational commitment can be empirically distinguished and have different correlates. Although the effective and normative components are distinguishable,  hey remain related. According to the literature, individuals with strong organizational commitment are least likely to leave the organization.
Based upon their review of the literature pertaining to organizational theory and research, Meyer and Allen (1991) offer a commitment model. Citing earlier work by Mowday, Porter, and Steers; Meyer and Allen (1991) describe two approaches to commitment. Attitudinal commitment entails the process individuals apply todetermining their relationship with the organization, meanwhile behavioral commitment refers to the process, which binds the individual to the organization and how the individual reacts to that relationship. Any relationship among the components of commitment and group behavior is complicated by the independent influence of each component on behavior. Meanwhile, researchers assert that work experiences are major influences on the individual’s desire to remain with the organization. Bergman (2006) notes that despite the theoretical work performed by Meyer and Allen in the area of commitment, empirical evidence has not differentiated between affective commitment and continuance commitment. Bergman suggests the problem could be with clear definitions and the measurements based on those definitions.
Bergman also notes the concentration on organization commitment in the area of antecedents of commitment to the detriment of research pertaining to commitment over time. Based on an ontological function perspective of organizations, Schwartz (1987) discusses the antisocial actions of organizationally committed individuals. The author notes the ontological function pertains to the organizational ideal. Of particular concern is the content of the ideal,  the individual’s relationship to the ideal and the connection of identity defense to the defense of the organizational idea. Schwartz (1987) suggests the individual’s feelings of inadequacy in comparison to the organizational ideal can lead the committed individual to behave in an anti-social manner.

Postmes, Tanis, and De Wilt (2001) performed research to relate organizational communication to affective organizational behavior. Studies demonstrate horizontal communications have weaker relationships with commitment than do vertical communications. The relative strength of the relationships is constant at both the organizational level and the group level. Vertical communications consists of communication across levels of the organizational hierarchy, whereas horizontal communication remains an organizational level. The results are inconsistent with the premise that commitment evolves from interpersonal relations; however, the results support the premise based on social identity. Absenteeism, turnover, and intension to quit have been demonstrated to relate to commitment. Mathieu and Zajac’s (1990) metaanalysis showed a strong impact of communication on commitment.

While comparing horizontal communication to vertical communication, researchers note horizontal communication appears to be the weaker predictor of organizational commitment. The employees’ interaction with management has a greater influence on commitment than the interaction among colleagues. The study’s findings support the notion that horizontal communication does not necessarily contribute to group identification or commitment. Meanwhile, the findings suggest vertical communications adds to the distinctiveness of the organization thereby contributing to the organization’s identity.
Hogg and Terry (2000) performed work demonstrating the value of the social identity perspective to understanding organizational commitment and organizational identification. In addition, social identity can help the identification of antecedents. The social identity approach views organizational commitment and organizational identity contextually, not as single attributes of the organization.

Commitment versus Identity
Despite the dramatic changes in the workplace and work force, organizational commitment and organizational identification continue to influence employees and organizations; however, disagreement exists regarding the relationship between commitment and identification (Van Dick, Becker, & Meyer, 2006). Some researchers view organizational identity and organizational commitment as equal while other scholars view organizational identity as a facet of commitment (Mael & Ashforth, 1992). Mowday, Steers, and Porter (1979) refer to commitment as the individual’s belief in the organization’s goals, a desire to expend effort for the furthering of the organization and a desire to remain with the organization. Meyer, Becker, and Van Dick (2006) note the lack of agreement over the relationship between social identity and commitment and explain the relationship ranges from the two concepts as being synonymous, commitment as a component of social identity and social identity as an antecedent of commitment. Meyer et al. (2006) suggest “identity and commitment are distinguishable in terms of their essential meaning, foci of attachment, mindsets, volitionality and behavioral implications” (p. 665). In addition, the authors suggest social identities are antecedents to commitments while commitment can mediate the impact of identity. Meanwhile, Bishop and Scott (2000) suggest commitment enables the individual to bind to an organization and to partake in a course of action relative to the organization. Social identity and commitment differ in the sense that social identity reflects a sense of self and entails a comparison to the group, while commitment contributes to the individual’s course of action relative to the organization (Meyer et al., 2006). Gautam, Van Dick, and Wagner (2004) propose to differentiate between organizational commitment and organizational identification. The authors’ findings support the notion that organizational identity is distinguishable from affective commitment, continuance commitment, normative commitment, and attitudinal commitment. Through an analysis of empirical data, the authors conclude organizational commitment and organizational identification are correlated but distinct concepts. Researchers suggest organizational identification is the combination of the individual’s personal-self with the individual’s organizational-self while commitment reflects the individual’s attitude towards the organization. In an attempt to differentiate between organizational identity strength, organizational identification, and organizational commitment, Cole and Bruch (2006) determined the perception of a strong organizational identity, organizational identity, and organizational commitment could influence employee turnover intention. However, the influence is mitigated by the employees’ position in the organization. While knowledge of the factors contributing to employees’ intent to leave is important, an understanding of the process remains ambiguous. The Cole and Bruch (2006) study revealed a negative relationship between  organizational identification and intention to quit; however, the results were limited to certain types of workers. Nevertheless, a strategy based on social identification could influence the employees’ intent to quit.
Ellemers, Kourtekkas, and Ouwerkerk (1999) sought to distinguish between selfcategorization, commitment to  the group, and group esteem in the context of social identity. The authors concluded the three elements of social identity are distinguishable. Further, the authors determined the members’ self-categorization was affected by relative group size while group self-esteem is affected by group status. Meanwhile, affective commitment is influenced by both group status and the method of group assignment. Ingroup favoritism could be  influenced by group commitment.

Social identification includes an emotional component driven by the individual’s desire to enhance a perceived status and can contribute to group commitment (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). Ashforth, Harrison, and Corley (2008) note the existence of confusion relative to organizational identification and commitment. Identity cues contribute to organizational identity by creating a salience and providing information about identity. As each involves a relationship with the organization, organizational identity and organizational commitment interact. Unlike organizational identification, commitment is the emotional attachment to the organization and involvement with the organization. Commitment is an attitude towards the organization but is distinct from the individual. While organizational identity is group specific commitment is more fleeting. Although organizational identity and organization commitment demonstrate a strong correlation they are distinctly different attributes. While providing the individual with a context, identity provides an explanation of the individual’s thoughts and actions relative to a group (Chattopadhyay et al., 2004).
Van Knippenberg and Sleebos (2006) hold that identification is the self-definition of organizational membership, while commitment is a job attitude relying on a social exchange process between the individual and the organization. The authors continue, identity is related to the self-referential aspects of membership in the organization while commitment pertains to perceived organizational support, job satisfaction and turnover intentions. Therefore, identification is a psychological oneness with the organization while commitment is a relationship between separate entities. A central question examined in the study of organizational behavior concerns the influence of the psychological relationships between the individual and the organization on the individual’s attitude and behavior in relation to the organization. The authors’ findings suggest the impact of commitment on job satisfaction and turnover intension is greater than the impact of identification on job satisfaction and turnover intension. The findings support the authors’ contention that commitment aligns with other job related attitudes. Based on their findings, the authors suggest managers must design employee interventions in a manner suitable for achieving the desired results. Behaviors attributable to either identification or commitment result from different stimulus; therefore, managers must be aware of these differences and act based on an understanding of the differences (Van Knippenberg & Sleebos, 2006).
Social identity theory provides insight into understanding the behavior of individuals. Through the individual’s identification with the group, the individual attains a social identity and enhancement of self-esteem (Van Dick, Christ et al., 2004). The authors suggest job satisfaction influences the potential for worker turnover. The authors use empirical evidence to demonstrate a linkage among organizational identification, job satisfaction and turnover  intensions. Cascio (1982) (as cited in Van Dick, Christ et al., 2004) notes the detrimental impact of employee turnover on the effectiveness and profitability of organizations. While Griffeth, Hom, and Gaertner (2000) propose psychological explanations for turnover, confusion over the determinants of turnover remain. Van dick et al. (2004) suggests organizational identification influences job satisfaction, which affects turnover intensions.
Haslam et al. (2006) argue that shared social identity is a determinant of continued commitment to group projects. Their studies demonstrated a link between social identification and organizational commitment while the lack of social identification led to a loss of faith and loss of commitment. Allen and Meyer (1990) found a relationship between social identification and commitment which in-turn led to positive organizational outcomes. While identification has a cognitive element commitment does not. Riketta (2005) performed a meta-analysis and determined that organizational identification and affective commitment had distinct correlates: identification correlated less strongly than affective commitment with job satisfaction, intent to remain in the organization and absenteeism and more strongly with extra-role behaviors and job involvement. Although research has demonstrated links between emotions and organizational outcomes, the complexity associated with organizations contributes to discussions pertaining to the antecedents of emotions. Van Dick et al. (2006) examine the relationship between organizational identification and organizational citizenship behavior with the results supporting the findings that identification is related to organizational citizenship behavior.

Organizations and identity
Organizations are social devices established to perform a stated purpose, which could align with the reality of its functioning (Haslam, 2008). These organizations exhibit a group social identity, and psychological meaning derived from and contributing to their coordination towards achieving a common goal. From a social identity perspective, an entity is defined through the identity of its members and the identification of the members with the entity. Brown’s (2006) early work contributed to the concept that an organization’s multiple identities are the product of multiple narratives created by the membership and introduced into the organization. In meeting a need to view the organization as real, the members of the organization seek to define their role in the organization through self-categorization. Due to the diverse nature of organizations, individuals tend to inhabit different roles within the larger organization while belonging to different groups within the organization (Haslam, 2008). Building upon the notion of identity in an organizational setting, Fombrun and Shanley (1990) view image as the internal perception of insiders while reputation is assigned to the organization by outside forces. Contributing to an organization’s complexity and its accompanying challenges is the presence of conflicting internal goals. Research has demonstrated that group goals may replace organizational goals; thereby, impacting the organization’s functioning and its effectiveness (Rotondi, 1974).

As referenced by Dutton, Dukerich, and Harquail (1994), organizational identification reflects the degree to which a member aligns with the perceived attributes of the organization; however, organizational identification does not necessarily connote a pride towards the organization. Rotondi (1974) suggests identification includes the perception of shared attributes, a feeling of solidarity with the organization and demonstrated loyalty to the organization. Taking a holistic viewpoint, Van Dick, Wagner, Stellmacher, and Christ (2005) view identity as serving the needs of the individual seeking to attain affiliation, safety, and structure at one or multiple levels within the organization. Upon reviewing numerous studies Mael and Ashforth (1992) concluded individuals possessing a strong identification with an organization tend to support the organization; therefore, organizations should encourage the identification of employees with the organization. During a review of the literature prior to the development of a model of work organizations and identity, Dutton et al. (1994) note each member’s perception of the organization is unique to the member. In addition, the review found a fit between the organization and members’ values led to employee satisfaction and intent to remain with the organization. A high level of organizational identification contributes to in-group and out-group dynamics. As members attempt to benefit the organization they demonstrate obedience and loyalty to the organization. While identity defines the organization’s core, ambiguous identities can impact both individuals and organizations. Research acknowledges the importance of organizational identity; however, researchers remain in conflict over the nature of identity (Bouchikhi & Kimberly, 2003). Some of the ambiguity attributable to the concept of organizational identity can be traced to its origins based on several scholarly disciplines and research paradigms (Lievens, Van Hoye, & Anseel, 2007).

Social identification has become a major component of research in the area of organizational behavior. While early research examined organizational identification recent research examines the notion that organizations include multiple levels of identity and employees exhibit multiple identities within the workplace. Building from this new research, scholars have demonstrated the importance of these multiple identities upon the employees’ attitudes, intensions, and behaviors (Riketta & Nienaber, 2007). An individual’s identity and self-esteem are partly determined through membership in social organizations, such as, their work organization or workgroups within the larger organization. Based on empirical research, organizational membership contributes to the individual’s sense of identity, as well as their perceived goals and attitudes (Lievens et al., 2007). Reduced employee turnover, greater job satisfaction and increased employee motivation have been linked to the employee’s strong identification with the organization (Carador & Pratt, 2006). Researchers differ on the elements necessary to create strong identification with the organization. Some theorists contend personal relationships are not critical to the development of strong group identification while other researchers argue for strong interpersonal relationships. Markus and Wurf (1987) suggest selfidentification is an attempt to  explain the individual’s behavior in a certain domain. Proponents of role theory posit identities are related to role related behavior (Carador & Pratt, 2006).

Research suggests the individual’s identity changes as the individual’s career progresses. Some researchers suggest the change is transitional while other researchers believe the change is more incremental in nature (Pratt, Rockmann, & Kaufmann, 2006). An increase in identification with an organization leads to a depersonalized selfconception (Bergami & Bagozzi, 2000). However, individuals tend to seek distinctiveness while identifying with high social status organizations. Task interdependence, physical proximity, and interpersonal similarity contribute to group level identification. Organizational identity increases when members interact with groups external to the organization (Bartel, 2001). Various perspectives are offered during discussions concerning identity. Kuhn and Nelson (2002) note people often establish identities through their personal judgments of affiliated organizations, while the individual’s judgment of the organization contributes to the individual’s sense of self-worth. Kuhn and Nelson (2002) hold that the ability of individuals to identify themselves with an organization despite a lack of interpersonal contact supports the concept of identification as a cognitive function. Scott, Corman, and Cheney’s (1998) structural theory of identification suggests organizational identification results from the interaction of two elements. Scott et al. (1998) refer to these elements as duality and multiplicity. The duality perspective views identity and identification as not equivalent. Meanwhile, Scott et al. (1998) suggest the study of the identification process should consider the multiple identities of the individuals and the organizations. As noted by Kuhn and Nelson (2002) most existing research is limited to the static perception of being identified rather than becoming identified. Confronted by intergroup conflict, individuals are more likely to identify with a given group because they desire a positive self-concept. Through the creation of positive prototypes for their group and the development of negative prototypes for other groups, the individuals contribute to their own positive self-concept. Following Scott et al.’s (1998) structural perspective, the existing multiple identities are hierarchically organized with the individuals favoring a primary structure. Most research pertaining to organization identification has examined the role of organizational membership in the development of the individual’s self-concepts; however, the examination of self-identification of professionals could require a differ perspective. Professionals are normally defined by their work while other employees tend to be defined by where they work (Pratt et al., 2006).

While identification is one form of attachment to the organization, disidentification is another way the individual perceives the organization. Disidentification is not the opposite of identification; rather it reflects the employee’s perception of possessing attributes and principles not possessed by the organization. Membership’s disidentification with the organization can develop into conflict within the organization. Although workers do not identify with the organization they often remain with the organization due to strong continuance or normative commitment (Kreiner & Ashforth, 2004).

Research has identified several influences upon organizational identification. Through the act of identification the individual becomes a reflection of the organization. Since people desire a positive image they normally identify with high status groups over low status groups. As people seek optimal distinctiveness, relative group size can influence identification with the group (Van Knippenberg & Van Schie, 2000). The notion that people are more likely to identify with smaller groups is supported by Brewer’s (1991) posit that large groups can pose a threat to the individual’s distinctiveness, while Moreland and Beach (1992) note most employees spend most of their time in smaller groups, which, leads to a familiarity with the members of the group and to stronger, potentially, identification with the known group than an unfamiliar entity. Van Knippenberg and Van Schie (2000) explored the relationships of work-group identification to organizational identification. The authors conclude work-group identity more closely related to organizational attitudes than organizational identity. The authorsnote a stronger correlation between work-group identification and job satisfaction, turnover intentions, job involvement and job motivation than the impact of organization identity upon the same characteristics. This reality could have both negative and positive impacts upon the organization as a whole. However, the researchers acknowledge the potential for mitigating circumstances in some organizations, which would position organizational identity in a stronger position than work-group identification.
Reflecting on an environment populated by organizational mergers, takeovers, and restructuring, Van Knippenberg and Van Schie (2000) note the erosion of employee loyalty and suggest organizations take steps to increase employee identification with the organization as a means of improving both the organization and its members. Organizational identification is considered critical to effective organizations capable of achieving goals; however, it is difficult for organizational cultures to support both creativity and identification (Rotondi, 1974).
Identification contributes to self-stereotyping which in the workplace can contribute to job satisfaction. Dutton et al. (1994) demonstrate a positive relationship between an employee’s identification with an organization and the likelihood the employee will perform in the organization’s best interest. However, identification with an organization differs from organizational commitment. Meyerson and Scully (1995) note the waste of resources in those instances where members lacking identification with the organization limit their job performance. When confronted by work-identity integrity violations, individuals act to resolve the violations through the application identity customization processes (Pratt et al., 2006). Rotondi’s (1974) field study of a large Midwestern laboratory revealed that creativity is inversely related to organizational identity, but directly related to occupational identification. Meanwhile, organizational identification is inversely related to occupational identification. The concepts of organizations and identity are the subjects of a multitude of studies. Foote’s (1951) seminal work examined the interaction of identification and categorization as they relate to the individual, as well as, relationships among group members. According to Brown (2006), an organization’s identity is the critical and enduring essence of the organization. Dutton and Dukerich’s (1991) analysis holds that knowledge of an organization’s identity and image are crucial to an understanding of an organization’s actions, because individuals are motivated to respond to challenges to the organization’s image. In other words, identification with an organization influences the actions of the organization’s membership. Sengupta and Sinha (2005) performed a study demonstrating the importance of identification with an organization to the enhancement of an employee’s self-esteem. In the area of organizational identity and motivation, Riketta and Nienaber (2007) studied the role of perceived compatibility between nested organizational units and its influence upon identification and motivation. The researchers discovered a positive correlation between the perceived compatibility and the group’s identification and motivation.
Commitment to the organization continues to be ripe for examination. In their examination of identification with a psychological group (IDPG), Mael and Tetrick (1992) reviewed studies exploring the sharing of experiences and characteristics among group members. The studies under review demonstrated a correlation for identity lower than the correlation between commitment and job satisfaction, organizational satisfaction and job involvement. Mael and Tetrcik (1992) note the common confusion resulting from viewing organizational identification and organizational commitment as equivalents. Meanwhile, the authors note that due to IDPG random groupings result in significant in-group favoritism. During a study designed to distinguish between the various components of social identity within the organization, Bergami and Bagozzi (2000) examined cognitive, affective, and evaluative components, as well as, organization prestige and organization stereotypes, which are viewed as antecedents of the components. Based on their findings the authors concluded affective commitment and self-esteem are the primary motivators of citizenship behavior. In addition, cognitive identification acts as a mediator. The authors question the relevance of earlier studies utilizing artificial groups.   In discussing their study of the influence of communication climate and perceived       external prestige on organizational identification, Bartels, Pruyn, De Jong, and Joustra   (2006) note earlier studies have demonstrated the influence of the communication climate and perceived external prestige upon organizational identification. According to the authors, external prestige has a greater influence on identification at the organizational level while suggesting communications should include the work group level. Bartels et al. (2006) conclude communication climate exerts the greater influence upon employee identification at the work group level rather than the entire organization. In addition, the authors conclude organizational identification and communication climate are distinct  concepts. Finally, the study confirms the existence of organizational identification at various organizational levels as well as the positive relationship between communication climate and organizational identification.

Social Identity Theory
The social identity perspective has its conceptual origins in research by Henri Tajfel on perceptual accentuation effects of categorization Tajfel (1959) (as cited in Hogg et al., 2004), cognitive aspects of prejudice Tajfel (1969) (as cited in Hogg et al., 2004), effects of minimal categorization Tajfel, Billig, Bundy, and Flament (1971) (as cited in Hogg et al., 2004), and social comparison processes and intergroup relations Tajfel (1974) (as cited in Hogg et al., 2004). Tajfel working with John Turner combined social categorization, ethnocentrism, social comparison, and intergroup relations research around the concept of social identity. Tajfel expanded on the work of Berger and Luckmann while leveraging upon European social psychology (Hogg et al., 2004).
Researchers do not consider a dyad as a social group. Dyads are prone to interpersonal processes and lack the group processes of a group (Brown & Lunt, 2002). Social groups are defined as groups of three or more people sharing the same social identity. Based on the literature the authors note the importance of symbolic interactions in the creation situational definitions and self-definitions (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). The relational and comparative nature of identities leads to a dynamic situation (Ashforth et al., 2008). Identification can be influenced by situational clues or a fundamental connection between the individual and the group (Ashforth, Harrison, & Corley, 2008).Ashforth et al. (2008) trace the history of organizational identification and social identification as contributors to the development of organizational science. Albert et al. (2000) consider identity and identification to be root constructs of organizational science. Stryker and Burke (2000) conceive of identity as an individual’s perception of reality. Ashforth et al. (2008) expand the notion of identity beyond the traditional group
orientation to include occupations and careers. Tajfel’s (as cited in Ashforth et al., 2008) early definition of social identity referred to a self-concept derived from a social group. Postmes and Jetten (as cited in Ashforth et al., 2008) contrasts Tajfel’s definition of social identity with personal identity as an individual’s sense of self.
Beginning with its development in Europe, social identity theory serves as a tool to examine group antagonism and social competition. The application of social identity theory has subsequently been expanded from the initial studies to address issues such as prejudice, stereotyping, negotiation, and language (Haslam, 2008). As noted by Haslam (2008), social identity theory has found adherents around the world and across disciplines. Social identity theory examines the individual’s perception of group boundaries, their group’s stability and legitimacy. Researchers suggest the perceptions have an impact on social identity strategies (Haslam, 2008).
Among social identity theory’s strengths is the theory’s introduction of group dynamics into the analysis of social behavior. Other models limit themselves to the individual’s competence or general psychological forces while ignoring the impact of social groups upon the behavior of the individual. On the other hand, social identity
theory falls short in its approach to cognitive processes surrounding social salience identity (Haslam, 2008). Emerging from social identity theory, self-categorization theory goes beyond issues of social structure and intergroup relations and includes the implications of social identity. Relying on social identity, Haslam (2008) contends organizational behavior is dependent on organizational identity. Salient social identification emerges as individuals perceive of themselves and others not as individuals but as representatives of groups,
which serves to regulate social behavior.
Scholars have differed in their definition of social identity theory. Some theorists view social identity as aspects of individual self-concept while other scholars view social identities as extensions beyond the individual (Brewer, 1991). Brewer (1991) maintains personal identity is the characteristics differentiating individuals while social identities represent the self as an element of a social category. Social identities are chosen while membership is voluntary or imposed. An individual can belong to numerous social groups without identifying with those groups. Issues of self-esteem and social identity face difficulty when confronted by research results demonstrating that individuals choose low status groups. Research has shown that disadvantaged minorities do not consistently reject their group identity (Crocker & Major, 1989). Uniqueness theory is similar to social identity theory in proposing the individuals’ need for similarity to and differentiation from others. Through the adoption of in-group perspectives and theintergroup comparisons, social identity enables the individual to fulfill these needs (Brewer, 1991).
Social identity research has considered social and personal identity as separate constructs. In lieu of using the term identity in referring to both social and personal identities, Reid and Deaux (1996) refer to social identities and personal attributes. Personal identity differs from social identity because personal identity pertains to personal attributes not shared with other people (Brown & Lunt, 2002). Brewer and Gardner (1996) view the self as three levels and refer to the individual self, the relational self and the collective self, while suggesting social identity theory should be modified and offer a challenge to social identity theory. Brown and Lunt (2002) suggest that social identity theory’s “artificial separation of individual rational agent from wider processes of power and representation” (p. 7) is problematic.

Deleuze and Guattari (as cited in Brown & Lunt, 2002) view social identity as a feature of groups within a social machine. Their radical materialism calls for the consideration of social identities in conjunction with the structure organizing the relationships. Although society includes social injustice, unequal distribution of resources and group status differences, Tajfel and Turner (1979) (as cited in Eggins, Haslam, & Reynolds, 2002) posit group members faced with these burdens will attempt to overcome the difficulties. Instances of perceived impermeable or illegitimate group boundaries are most likely to experience a collective challenge. Eggins et al. (2002) hold that a perception of fairness is often more important than the resulting action. Research has demonstrated that in-group bias occurs when a positive social identity is not available.
Ashforth and Mael (1989) reference numerous studies, which demonstrate that randomly assigned groups have witnessed discrimination against the out-group while intra-group members demonstrated cooperation within the group. Turner (1975) defines a “psychological group” (p. 7) as a group of people sharing the same social identification. Ashforth et al. (2008) hold that out-group bias occurs in cases of strong group identification accompanied by comparison with the out-group and differing status between the in-group and out-group. A social identity approach can lead to an understanding of the organization. Members of minority demographic groups are more likely to identify with their own group than members of majority demographic groups. If they believe the group can improve its condition, people are willing to identify with lower-status groups (Eggins et al., 2002).
Researchers have found that organizational identity is negatively correlated with worker’s intension to leave the organization (Haslam, 2008). The level at which an individual defines the self impacts the individuals behavior and the organization (Haslam, 2008). According to Bruner (1957), fit is a critical factor in determining social category salience. Comparative fit relates to the differences between the members while normative fit concerns the content of the categorization. Haslam and Turner (1995) apply meta-contrast principles to predict the degree of commonality between the perceiver and the target as the frame of reference between the two is expanded. Through identification with a group, the individual uses a social categorization for self-identification (Doosje, Spears, & Ellemers, 2002), When people perceive themselves as sharing an identity with another person, they are more likely to be motivated to act in common with the other person. Context influences trust among members, communication, ability to influence each other and the ability to act collectively (Oakes & Turner, 1980).
Group identification includes the individuals’ perception of the group, experiencing the group’s success and failures; identification with a group has similarities with identification with an individual. Having developed a perception of the group’s prototype the identifying individual creates a self-stereotype based on the perceived stereotype. Through identification with the group or organization, the individual can enhance their organizational loyalty and indirectly adopt organizational values and beliefs. However, an individual’s personal identity may be in conflict with their social identity (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). As the individual becomes psychologically linked with the group, the individual views the group’s successes and failures as personal actions Tolman (1943) (as cited in Mael & Ashforth, 1992), thus allowing an individual to vicariously experience accomplishments outside the individual’s power (Mael andAshforth, 1992). Self-conception is the individual’s mental representation of self and contributes to the individual’s ability to adjust to the organization. Research has demonstrated that individuals with diverse experiences are better suited to make these adjustments (Beyer and Hannah, 2002). Eggins et al. (2002) discuss the three processes that are the basis for group-based social interaction. The categorization of individuals into groups is known as social categorization. Building upon social categorization, social comparison gives meaning to the social categorization. Meanwhile, the group information is related to the self through social identification.
Organizations exhibit complex relations, statuses, and prestige differentials (Hogg & Terry, 2000). The freedom to move between social groups with the intent to maintain or improve social status refers to social mobility, while social change addresses the group action resulting from the individual’s inability to escape their current group (Haslam, 2008). Conditions leading to social change include the perception of an illegitimate and unstable social system, a desire to intensify the impact of group membership, a desire to address vague group boundaries, or group conflicts that prevent the movement of individuals between (Haslam, 2008). Enhancement strategies, demographics, and dissimilarity of the group’s membership contribute to identification.
The process of improving or maintaining social identity is known as a status maintenance strategy. Social creativity, social competition and social mobility are status maintenance strategies. Tajfel and Turner (as cited in Chattopadhyay et al., 2004) define social creativity as the process of enhancing social identity through the comparison of ingroup and out-group from a new perspective. Since higher status groups are viewed as possessing valued qualities the lower-status individuals must identify alternative qualities. Under a social competition strategy, lower-status individuals seek to enhance their status through a collective approach. Meanwhile, a social mobility strategy witnesses the individual disassociating from a lower-status group in an effort to gain
membership in a higher status group. Cultural aversion is the process of individuals identifying with dissimilar others. When lower-status individuals conform to the expectations of high-status individuals a form of social mobility known as compliance occurs.
Strategies can vary. Depending on the security of their group’s status, high status group members may embark on differing forms of social creativity. In the case of secure status, high status groups have displayed magnanimity towards the lower status group (Haslam, 2008) while in other cases the higher status groups show favoritism to the lower group in meaningless ways (Ellemers, 1993). However, when their status is not secure members of the higher level group attempt to justify their status over the other group. Breakwell (as cited in Haslam, 2008) noted an instance of low-status workers adopting new identities as a means of countering the lower of their status. Social creativity occurs when the status of low status groups is perceived to be secure (Ashforth & Kreiner, 1999). In those instances where boundaries are impermeable, social competition normally occurs with the resulting social conflict and potential for hostility between the groups. Terry and O’brien (2001) note that a perception of legitimacy contributes to acceptance of the status quo by low status members.
The need to belong is in conflict with the need to be different and can be fulfilled by strategies to overcome this paradox (Hornsey & Jetten, 2004). According to social identity theory, individuals can fulfill the need to belong through group memberships. This eliminates the need for interpersonal relations. In addition, in-group favoritism is not a function of strong leadership, group member interdependence or group member interaction (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). Sherif (1965) (as cited in Hornsey & Jetten, 2004) has demonstrated the desire of individuals to form strong bonds with casual relations. Identification can be a negative influence within the organization (Ashforth et al., 2008). In an organizational setting, social identification can impact group formation (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). Self-categorization contributes to the individual’s positive social identity (Chattopadhyay et al., 2004). Groups search for positive differences between themselves and out-groups (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). Employees classify their environment through identity salience which provides orientation to the employee (Chattopadhyay et al., 2004). Traditionally race and gender are the most common stereotypes in the workplace (Chattopadhyay et al., 2004). Within groups, the core values of the dominant members give the group an identity. The strategies can be segregated into strategies, which maximize the distinctiveness of the group and strategies, which reframe the members’ perceptions of their social role and their place within that world (Hornsey & Jetten, 2004). Social identity complexity refers to the perceived overlap across in-groups.
Research has demonstrated a relationship between social identity complexity and tolerance of out-groups (Roccas & Brewer, 2002). Miller, Brewer, and Arbuckle (2009) reviewed three studies examining the determinants of social identity complexity. The review led the authors to conclude that social identity complexity relates to cognitive style particularly a need for cognition and the significant correlation between social identity complexity and this need could aid in predicting race-related attitudes. Jackson (2002) examines the multidimensional aspect of group identity and considers how the various dimensions relate to the in-group and out-group. The author notes a significant negative influence of perceived conflict upon group attitudes towards the outgroup and the impact of  roup identification upon the positive evaluation of the in-group. Hodson, Dovidio, and Esses (2003) suggest low salience conditions could contribute to group re-categorization and influence the extent of discrimination. Petersen and Blank’s (2003) study of self-esteem and in-group bias supports earlier social identity theorist’s views that low self- esteem leads to in-group bias. However, the authors note self-esteem in conjunction with different conditions could lead to multiple degrees of discrimination and should be further examined. This study and Vonk (2002) suggests that in-groups view out-group members as either meeting or not meeting the group’s stereotype while viewing in-group members in shades of grey.
Social identification began as a holistic concept; Van Dick, Wagner, Stellmacher, and Christ (2004) continues that approach by suggesting that through identification with organizations the individual can meet holistic needs. Social identity contributes to an understanding of organizations (Dutton et al., 1994). Of particular interest to researchers is social identification in an organizational context as well as the consequences of social identification in the organizational setting. Individuals can identify on the individual, group or organization level. Social identity seeks to reduce uncertainty through the depersonalization of individuals into a group environment (Hogg & Terry, 2000). Social identity includes a cognitive component, an affective dimension, and an evaluative aspect (Van Dick, Wagner et al., 2004). Research demonstrates the contribution of group categorization to the discrimination in the allocation of resources and the development of in-group bias over out-group members (Hodson et al., 2003). Perrault and Bourhis (1999) note the role of social identification in the creation of group discrimination.

Self-Categorization Theory
While presenting a seminal paper discussing social comparison and the need for positive in-group identity, Turner differentiates between social identity and social categorization. According to Turner, social identity refers to the individual’s emotional connection to a social group while social categorization provides a means of orientating the individual within society. Individuals tend to identify with the current group but will identify with a new group if the identification contributes to the individuals sense of positive social identity. Positive social identity is achieved through social categorization and intergroup comparisons (Turner, 1975). While the bulk of early research considered how individuals form a perception of the group, Tajfel (1982) stresses the importance of cognitive processes as they relate to an understanding of attitudes.
Sherif (1966) (as cited in Tajfel, 1982) provides a definition of intergroup behavior as the interaction of individuals belonging to one group interacting with members of another group while maintaining their group integrity. Central to Tajfel’s (1982) analysis is the individual’s awareness of group identification and the assignment of values to the group (Tajfel, 1982). Critical elements of intergroup behavior include the consistent behavior and attitudes of in-group members to the out-group and as the groups become more distant the out-group members come to become more perceived in an interpersonal manner (Tajfel, 1982).
Oakes and Turner (1980) note the acceptance of social categorization as a cause of intergroup discrimination. Studies have suggested individuals are motivated due to a desire for self-esteem, which leads to the favoring of the in-group and the assignment of positive connotations with the in-group while the out-group is viewed negatively and with unfavorable attributes. Intergroup discrimination increases self-esteem. Tajfel (1982) cites Summer’s early research, which identified a negative correlation between conflict and group relations. As conflict with the out-group increases, so does the adhesion of in-group members to the in-group. Tajfel (1982) notes illegitimate status differentiation contributes to in-group bias in both higher and lower status groups. Numerous studies demonstrate that an increase in-group salience leads to in-group favoritism with the increase in favoritism the result of intergroup comparisons. Intergroup cooperation reduces discrimination while intergroup competition increases competition (Tajfel, 1982).
Studies conducted by Tajfel, Billig, and Bundy (1971) sought to determine the effects of social categorization on intergroup behavior in the absence of preexisting attitudes or hostilities towards the out-group. The researchers performed multiple studies demonstrating that the absence of competition among groups nevertheless resulted in favorable actions in relation to the in-group and unfavorable actions toward the outgroups. The participants acted  against the benefit of the out-group to the extent of limiting the benefit to the in-group. Although intergroup conflict and competition contribute to intergroup discrimination, they are not the only contributors to the discrimination. The need to establish a positive social distinctiveness, which contributes to a positive social identity
for the group’s membership, also contributes to intergroup discrimination. The social group provides a positive social identity for the group’s members through internal comparisons while creating a value differentiation by distinguishing the group from the out-group perceived as socially inferior (Tajfel, 1982).
Self-enhancement and uncertainty reduction lead the individual to undertake the social identity process as a means of becoming better and more distinct than others (Hogg et al., 2004). Concern with uncertainty may contribute to the acceptance of groups of a lower status rather than risking the uncertainly associated with challenging the higher status group (Hogg et al., 2004). Individuals develop social categories in an effort to reduce uncertainty and for purposes of self-enhancement (Hogg & Terry, 2000).
A central element of categorization is the concept of prototypes. Tajfel (1982) notes that a stereotype is an over-simplified mental image. Meanwhile, prototypes vary from situation to situation and are a function of the social comparative framework (Hogg et al., 2004). Through the categorization process individuals are viewed as prototypes and become depersonalized (Hogg et al., 2004). Although depersonalization is a perceptual change towards the self and others, it does not reflect a negative connotation (Hogg & Terry, 2000). As group membership becomes salient, evaluations transform from personal identity-based evaluation to prototype-based depersonalized (Hogg et al., 2004). Categorization contributes to the self-perceived similarity to the group prototype (Albert et al., 2000). Prototypes are critical to self-categorization theory. Prototypes help reduce uncertainty. Simple and clear prototypes are best at reducing the uncertainty (Hogg & Terry, 2000).
By viewing identity and self-concept in a dynamic perspective organizational scholars and practitioners can develop techniques designed to impact organizations. The manipulation of the intergroup social comparative context could modify attitudes, motives, goals, and practices. Benchmarking is a technique of manipulating the intergroup social comparative context. The more in-group members represent the ingroup prototype the more  likely they are viewed favorably by the other group members (Hogg & Terry, 2000). Individuals tend to be members of several groups simultaneously leading to multiple social classifications, which in turn have a role in relationships (Crisp & Hewstone, 2001). Researchers have evaluated different patterns of crossing two dimensions of categorization. The bulk of the research focused on direct evaluative measures of bias. Cross categorization is common in the real world thus social categories vary on a number of qualitative criteria. Crisp and Hewstone (2001) successfully demonstrated that individuals can process multiple dimensions of categorization. In addition, anthropological studies reveal tribal societies use crossing techniques to reduce intergroup conflict and hostility (Tajfel, 1982).
Historically organizations have taken different approaches to modifying group relations. Activities designed to strengthen personal relationships are not suitable for increasing adherence to group norms. Hogg and Terry (2000) suggest the strengthening of depersonalized social attraction would be a more effective strategy. By creating uncertainty and emphasizing desirable organizational attributes managers would encourage an increase in organizational social attraction and solidarity. By making the group identity of a subgroup and supersuperordinate salient, managers could improve intersubgroup relations. A balancing of group loyalty and identification with the subunit and superordinate organization can improve relations among the groups, meanwhile; cross cutting structures have proven successful in managing diverse workforces (Hogg & Terry, 2000).
Group Status
The existence of inequality among groups leads to the separation of groups into relatively advantaged and disadvantaged groups (Wright, 1997). Group identification and social identification derived from intergroup relationships influence current group relations as well as the potential for future group interaction (Doosje et al., 2002).
Relative status is one measure which contributes to inequality among groups and organizations (Chattopadhyay et al., 2004). It should be noted that the term status relates to demographic categories and does not translate in terms of relative superiority in relation to job, occupation or organization (Chattopadhyay et al., 2004). Additional examples of inequality across groups and organizations include the possession of resources and power. While individuals desire positive group status, people also possess a strong desire for group distinctiveness, thus the need for identity distinctiveness can be found in low status groups and high status groups (Hornsey & Hogg, 2002).

Social identity can lead to social change (Doosje et al., 2002). According to social identity theory the best means of achieving self-enhancement is through the development of the perception of in-group superiority relative to an out-group; however, the development of in-group bias can be impacted by structural variables such as group power and group status or by the legitimacy and the permeability of group boundaries (Hornsey & Hogg, 2002). Since group relations and social structural variables change, the potential for social change also changes (Reynolds, Turner, & Haslam, 2000). Given their exposure to inequality, lower status groups are more prone to instigating social change than higher status groups. Leveraging on their social identity and group identification, low status groups can change the status quo, particularly in those instances where the intergroup relationships are unstable (Doosje et al., 2002).
Social identity theory provides several strategies for low-status groups attempting to improve their social identity (Hornsey & Hogg, 2002). A collective effort to change the group’s position in the status hierarchy is the most aggressive of the strategies available to group members. If collective effort is not a viable change strategy, lowstatus group members can  attempt to vacate the low-status group and gain membership in a higher status group. In the case of impermeable boundaries and a stable status hierarchy, the low-status group members are forced to retain membership in the lowstatus group. If collective action is not a viable alternative and the group members cannot change groups, they can apply a social creativity strategy to improve their own perception of their status while maintaining their distinctiveness. Examples of social creativity include revaluing group characteristics and comparing the in-group with lower-status outgroups (Hornsey & Hogg, 2002).
Efforts by lower-status group members to improve their social status can be influenced by the group relationship hierarchy’s permeability, legitimacy, and stability (Chattopadhyay et al., 2004). Permeability describes the potential for individuals to breach group boundaries. Under social identity theory, perceived permeability is critical to social mobility (Chattopadhyay et al., 2004). In those instances of severe restriction on group membership, intergroup discrimination known as tokenism occurs (Wright, 1997). As in the case of permeability, perception is important when considering the influence of stability. The lower-status individuals adopt a social strategy, which aligns with their perception of the hierarchy’s stability (Chattopadhyay et al., 2004). According to social identity theory, if intergroup boundaries are impermeable and the in-group status is illegitimate or unstable, collective action is available to low-status group members (Wright, 1997). On the other hand, if the boundaries are permeable lower-status individuals will not adopt collective strategies for obtaining social identity improvement (Chattopadhyay et al., 2004). Unlike members of disadvantaged groups, individuals in advantaged groups are more likely to strive to maintain their dominant position and privileges relative to the disadvantaged groups and will refrain from efforts to change the social order (Wright, 1997). Possessing a positive identity, higher-status groups will act in manners, which support the status quo because it further enhances their social identity (Chattopadhyay et al., 2004).

Comparing Paradigms
Early studies of human behavior took an individual-centric perspective and created paradigms based on that point of view. Under this perspective, groups are considered a setting for individual behavior (Haslam, 2008). Noting the impact of groups upon the behavior of individuals, Mayo (as cited in Haslam, 2008) assisted with the introduction of the group perspective to the study of human behavior. Building on the analysis of groups upon behavior, the social identity approach stresses the influence of the group on the individual’s behavior. Tajfel’s (1982) studies demonstrated the impact of perceived group membership on the behavior of the individual. In addition, Doosje et al. (2002) discovered the individual’s positive feelings towards the in-group are dominant regardless the nature of the out-group. Mummendey and Simon (1989) suggest in-group favoritism is most prevalent when the individual bases self-concept on group membership, the existing environment is conducive for comparison between groups and the individual perceives the relevance of the out-group for comparison purposes. Thus, although social identity theory was originally offered for the purpose of studying intergroup discrimination it has evolved into a tool for understanding behavior in a group setting (Haslam, 2008).
Given social identity theory’s value to the understanding of behavior, proponents of the theory support its use in the study of motivation. The researchers suggest an understanding of motivation depends on an understanding of self; therefore, motivational theories which do not consider the impact of social categorization fail to construct a complete understanding of self, thereby, failing to fully understand motivation.
According to social identity theorists, motivation derives from a sense of group membership, as well as, the individual’s attributes (Haslam, 2008). Haslam, Powell, and Turner (2000) suggest motivation is attributable to selfcategorization and the needs of the categorization. The context of self-categorization influences the individual’s response to external and internal stimuli. When the person is categorized as an individual, enhancement of personal identity becomes the primary motivator, while self-categorization in a group context requires motivation perceived to enhance the group’s identity. The notion of a needs hierarchy relative to levels of selfcategorization is not unlike  the needs hierarchies championed by Maslow, Alderfer, McClelland, McGregor, and Herzberg (Haslam, 2008). For instance, based on McGregor’s Theory X workers seek to avoid work. Self-categorization suggests the workers perceive themselves as members of low-status social groups opposing the values of a high-status out-group. An understanding of self-categorization and needs can contribute to a methodology for motivating employees in an organizational setting (Haslam, 2008).
Viewing other behavior theories from a social identity perspective helps clarify or counter the subject theories. While Herzberg et al. propose motivator and hygiene factors provide insight into employee motivation, self-categorization theory adherents suggest responses to motivator and hygiene factors change with the individual’s selfcategorization (Haslam, 2008). Findings from a study performed by Haslam, Postmes, and Ellemers (2003) support the argument that the role of motivator and hygiene factors in motivation is not static as suggested by Herzberg, but are dependent of the selfcategorization process.
Meanwhile, the argument that social categorization is critical in establishing motivation sheds a new perspective on equity theory. The application of social categorization to the analysis of motivation provides researchers with guidance in predicting when equity considerations are motivational factors. Equity theory assumes a setting which consists of permeable group boundaries and personal identity salience (Haslam, 2008). However, the setting assumed by equity theory is one of many possible settings. Group boundaries are not always permeable and group status is not always static. Equity theory does not adequately address motivation in those circumstances. The theory also fails to explain the change in the behavior of equitable individuals when they are placed in a group environment and attempt to enhance group self-esteem through intergroup discrimination (Hogg & Sunderland, 1991).
By including a social identity approach to individual differences theory, scholars suggest the need for achievement derives from a social process (Sorrento & Field, 1986) and as the individual increases identity with the group the need for personal achievement diminishes. Ellemers, Wilke, and Van Knippenberg (1993) demonstrate the importance of organizational stratification, group border permeability and legitimacy of the group hierarchy to the individual’s identification with a group and the role of the group identity in terms of motivation. An understanding of group relations and identity can lead to a prediction of group and individual behavior (Haslam, 2008).
As in the case with the other behavior paradigms, the economic model of behavior is diminished by a comparison to social identity theory. Akerloff and Kranton (2000) note the findings obtained from studies performed by Tajfel and Turner is counter to the predictions of models of economic self-interest. The participants of the studies behaved in a manner which placed competition with an out-group above their own economic interest. Brown, Condor, Mathews, Wade, and Williams’ (1986) research performed in a manufacturing facility further confirmed the position that individual’s are more concerned with their position relative to an out-group than personal economic gain. Beginning with Ashforth and Mael’s suggestion for applying social identity theory to the study of organizations,  confusion has existed as to the relationship between organizational identity and commitment (Haslam, 2008). However, researchers have demonstrated that the two concepts are distinct from each other while exhibiting a correlation (Dutton & Dukerich, 1991). While commitment has been demonstrated to be a predictor of employee behaviors, such as, turnover and acceptance of values; identification includes an internalization of organizational goals which can be leveraged to obtain desired behaviors (Haslam, 2008). Numerous studies have resulted in the empirical distinguishing of organizational identification and organizational commitment (Mael & Tetrick, 1992).
Researchers suggest social identification is a significant influence on organizational behavior, particularly in employee compliance, extra-role proorganizational behavior and loyalty. Among the studies supporting this position is a major research program performed by Tyler (as cited in Haslam, 2008). As part of the multinational study, Tyler notes the difficulty associated with large-scale attempts at social exchange. The study demonstrated the impact of internalized values as predictors of cooperative organizational behavior. In addition, Tyler suggests that through the enhancement of social identification with the group, status-based constructs act as effective motivators. Pride, an example of a status-based construct, emerges from the relative status of the organization and translates into an individual’s positive feelingstowards the group (Dukerich, Golden, & Shortell, 2002). Studies performed by Smith and Tyler (1996) support the claim that the employee’s motivation is derived from social identification with the group not the social exchange among individuals. In addition, studies have shown a relationship between organizational identification and the distinction of the in-group from the out-group (Haslam, 2008).
However, depending on the individual’s level of identification the in-group can range from the entire organization to a work group within the organization. Based on the principles of comparative fit and positive distinctiveness employees most often identify with a sub-group or team rather than the organization as a whole (van Knippenberg & van Schie, 2000). The researchers caution that identification with the work group is not always the best predictor of behavior. In those instances of external organizational comparisons, organizational identity could be the bettor predictor of behavior. Due to the stratification of social identification and self-categorization, motivational techniques should vary depending on the circumstance (Haslam, 2008). If the individual is self-categorized based on personal identity, then the behavior is influenced by techniques which lead to an enhanced personal status. On the other hand, an individual adapting a group perspective will react most favorably to techniques which add to the group’s status. Lembke and Wilson (1998) suggest teams are best motivated by considering the team’s social identity rather than individual gain


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