How relational and organizational identification converge: Processes and conditions

David M. Sluss, Blake Ashforth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

283 Scopus citations


Separate research literatures focus on the individual's identification with relationships, groups, organizations, and other workplace targets. We propose that identification with one referent may converge with or extend to another, thus suggesting the potential for more parsimonious perspectives on identification. We illustrate this argument by examining how the subordinate's identification with the subordinate-manager role relationship ("relational identification") (RI) may converge with the subordinate's organizational identification (OI). We propose that convergence occurs through cognitive, affective, and behavioral mechanisms, including social influence, anthropomorphization, personalization, affect transfer, and behavioral sensemaking. We also propose that convergence is conditioned by task interdependence (inherent in the role relationship) and prototypicality (of the relational other). We discuss the implications of our convergence model for future research on multiple identifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-823
Number of pages17
JournalOrganization Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008


  • Organizational identification
  • Relational identification
  • Role relationships
  • Work relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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