Article by Mathieu Molines, Anthony Perrier
Publised in Public Administration Review
How do public employees respond to organizational identity threats?
The present study investigates how public employees make sense of and react to threatening events that may call into question organization’s core attributes and status. Using social identity theory and the appraisal theory of emotions, we develop a model in which organizational identity induced by negative media coverage threat provokes shame that results in exemplification.
We further explain the role of public service motivation as a moderator of the proposed mediated relationships. Predictions are tested in an experimental study and a field study involving French police officers.
Our results show that shame mediated the positive effect of organizational identity threat on police officers’ exemplification behaviors. When public service motivation is high, police officers are more likely to engage in exemplification to cope with organizational identity threat than when it is slow. Theoretical and practical implications and future research directions are discussed.