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 and a superordinate group – 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 identify with the different groups naturally present in organizations, and highlight how identification can be used as an informal control to motivate important organizational behaviors. 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.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.