Loyalties divided or identities as resources? The role of external relational identification in facilitating socialization

Peter Anzollitto, Danielle Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Although research regarding socialization processes recognizes the importance of organizational identification for newcomer adjustment outcomes, it has less frequently considered the impact of newcomer identification with targets external to the organization. This study aims to investigate whether relational identification with identities external to the organization can be beneficial for socialization outcomes, a relationship the authors describe through the conservation of resources theory. At a time when newcomers are expending resources and may not have a support system inside the organization, important identities may foster success through building a resource base of support available to the newcomer. Design/methodology/approach: Two studies were conducted with newcomers, both groups responded to multi-wave surveys. The authors conducted an initial study with undergraduate students (n = 45) in their first semester of college and a second study with working individuals employed full time in their first year in a new organization (n = 148). Findings: Relational identification with identities external to the organization is positively related to job engagement through the dual mediation of social support and psychological well-being. The results indicate that these external resources encourage well-being and free newcomers to invest in becoming physically, emotionally and cognitively engaged with their new jobs. Practical implications: The results suggest that organizations may wish to take care in helping newcomers maintain strong relational identities outside the organization while becoming connected with their new organization. Originality/value: The findings suggest that external relational identities are a neglected and important element influencing the socialization process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1702-1718
Number of pages17
JournalManagement Decision
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 12 2022


  • Job engagement
  • Psychological well-being
  • Relational identities
  • Social support
  • Socialization


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