The Effects of Multi-Level Group Identification on Intergroup Helping Behavior

47 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2017 Last revised: 22 Jul 2020

See all articles by Jason Brown

Jason Brown

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Accounting

Geoffrey B. Sprinkle

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Accounting

Dan Way

Clemson University - School of Accountancy

Date Written: December 1, 2017

Abstract

We conduct an experiment to examine the effects of multi-level group identification on intergroup helping behavior. We predict and find that stronger identification with a sub-group (one’s immediate work-group) and a superordinate group (the organization in which that group is nested) – separately and interactively – increase helping behavior. We provide evidence that the relationships between stronger identification and helping behavior operate in part through increased salience of superordinate group boundaries, perceived potential benefits to one’s own group of intergroup helping, and positive affect. Collectively, our findings illustrate the importance of understanding how individuals perceive and identify with the different groups naturally present in organizations, as well as highlighting how identification can be used as an informal control to motivate important organizational behaviors like intergroup helping. Such an understanding can help firms determine the best organizational hierarchy, develop communication and control strategies to build identification at appropriate levels, and establish evaluation and compensation systems that measure and reward outcomes in a manner that accounts for these group effects.

Keywords: Groups; incentives; group identification; helping behavior; cooperation

Suggested Citation

Brown, Jason and Sprinkle, Geoffrey B. and Way, Dan, The Effects of Multi-Level Group Identification on Intergroup Helping Behavior (December 1, 2017). AAA 2018 Management Accounting Section (MAS) Meeting, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2948658 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2948658

Jason Brown (Contact Author)

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Accounting ( email )

1309 E. 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Geoffrey B. Sprinkle

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Accounting ( email )

1309 E. 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-855-3514 (Phone)
812-855-4985 (Fax)

Dan Way

Clemson University - School of Accountancy ( email )

101 Sikes Ave
Clemson, SC 29634
United States

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