The identity-matching principle: Corporate and organizational identification in a franchising system

Johannes Ullrich*, Jan Wieseke, Oliver Christ, Martin Schulze, Rolf Van Dick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines corporate and organizational identification in franchisee organizations from the perspective of the social identity approach. We propose the identity-matching principle (IMP) as a heuristic for understanding and predicting the different effects of nested identifications. According to the IMP, when identifications and relevant behavioural or attitudinal outcomes address the same level of categorization, their relationship will be stronger. A study is presented with employees (n=281) matched to managers (n=101). Supporting the IMP, organizational identification (but not corporate identification) predicted customer-oriented behaviour on the level of the local organization, whereas corporate identification (but not organizational identification) predicted attitude toward corporate citizenship behaviour. Furthermore, multilevel analyses showed that these relationships were enhanced in organizations where managers displayed the respective behaviours themselves to a greater extent. Implications for theorizing about leadership and organizational attachments are discussed alongside recommendations for organizational practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2007


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