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Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 4
American Economic Association
Stories and Identity in Organizations
Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM (PDT)
- Chair: Niko Matouschek, Northwestern University
Individual Identity and Organizational Attachment: Evidence from a Field Experiment
AbstractThis paper explores the relationship between individual identity (defined by personal values) and organizational attachment. Using individual data from employees at a large employer in the services sector with an internationally diverse workforce we show that, in the cross‐section, individuals who report a higher alignment to their individual (eudaimonic) values, are also more attached to the organization. But this could reflect a selection process by the firm, reverse causation or other mechanisms. So next, we run a field experiment where we make individual values salient (through a value affirmation) and assess how this changes alignment to the organization. We find that on average, making individual values salient reduces organizational attachment. In addition, this effect is heterogenous across individuals: those who were initially attached to the organization increase their attachment when their values are made salient, those who started off less identified with the organization reduce their attachment, and this result does not vary by other initial characteristics. Overall, the results illustrate the importance of heterogeneity and how individual identity/values and organizational attachment can conflict.
Stories at Work
AbstractOrganizational stories are commonplace and a crucial force shaping employee behavior. We show how an organization's choice of story can be formally incorporated into its design problem. In our simple model, the organization optimally becomes either "purpose-driven," which involves pairing flat money incentives with a story that emphasizes the importance of generating output (e.g. saving lives, putting a person on the moon), or "incentive-driven," which involves pairing steep money incentives with a narrower story that emphasizes the importance of maintaining ethical standards (e.g. maintaining quality, helping peers). We illustrate the applicability of these results using a variety of examples.
- D2 - Production and Organizations
- L2 - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior