How perceptions of one's organization can affect perceptions of the self: Membership in a stable organization can sustain individuals' sense of control


Journal Article

© 2018 Elsevier Inc. Building on contemporary perspectives regarding the role that group identification can play in sustaining control motives, we propose that being a member of a stable organization—one experienced as predictable and consistent rather than changing and in flux—can maintain individuals' sense of control. Four studies test this prediction. We observe that higher social identification as an organizational member (as compared to lower identification) is associated with an increased generalized sense of personal efficacy in life specifically when one's organization is experienced as relatively stable (Study 1 and Study 2). Further, the perceived stability of one's organization moderates the extent to which those who recently experienced a threat to personal control—and are thereby motivated to reestablish feelings of control—seek increased social identification as an organizational member (Study 3 and Study 4). Results suggest that membership in a stable organization can provide a psychological buffer against threats to personal control encountered in daily life outside work. Contributions to understanding the ways in which people maintain feelings of personal control in the social world are discussed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Proudfoot, D; Kay, AC

Published Date

  • May 1, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 76 /

Start / End Page

  • 104 - 115

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-0465

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1031

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jesp.2018.01.004

Citation Source

  • Scopus