Organizational identification is an important predictor of workplace behavior. The more strongly an individual identifies with their employing organization, the more motivated they will be to behave in ways that promote its success. In this paper we develop a new approach to fostering organizational identification based on principles of mental simulation. Across seven experiments we demonstrate that imagining positive contact with an organizational leader increases identification with the organization they represent. Experiments 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A and 3B replicated the basic effect against progressively varied control conditions, utilizing both scenario and field experiments. Experiment 4 demonstrated that as a consequence of heightened organizational identification following the imagined contact task, participants reported greater intentions to engage in organizational citizenship behaviors. We conclude by discussing the potential application of this technique as a simple and effective way for organizations to foster employees’ motivation and performance.
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- organizational identification
- social identity
- mental simulation