This study examines the role of perceived compatibility between nested organizational units in identification and work motivation. A survey was conducted in German pharmaceutical stores that had joined a large cooperative network several months before the investigation. Employees judged how compatible the network was with their individual stores on four dimensions (ensuring future, preserving tradition, preserving distinctiveness, and maintaining autonomy). Further, employees indicated their identifications with store and network and their intentions to exert effort on behalf of these units (store motivation and network motivation, respectively). As predicted, perceived compatibility correlated positively with both network identification and network motivation. It also moderated the correlations between store identification and network identification as well as between store motivation and network motivation. Several underlying mechanisms are discussed (e.g. evaluation of store and network, social projection). Overall, perceived compatibility between organizational units appears to be a crucial but under-researched factor affecting identification and motivation at work.
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