Employees' responses to an organizational merger: Intraindividual change in organizational identification, attachment, and turnover

Wookje Sung*, Meredith L. Woehler, Jesse M. Fagan, Travis J. Grosser, Theresa M. Floyd, Giuseppe Joe Labianca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The authors used pre-post merger data from 599 employees experiencing a major corporate merger to compare 3 conceptual models based on the logic of social identity theory (SIT) and exchange theory to explain employees' merger responses. At issue is how perceived change in employees' own jobs and roles (i.e., personal valence) and perceived change in their organization's status and merger appropriateness (i.e., organizational valence) affect their changing organizational identification, attachment attitudes, and voluntary turnover. The first model suggests that organizational identification and organizational attachment develop independently and have distinct antecedents. The second model posits that organizational identification mediates the relationships between change in organizational and personal valence and change in attachment and turnover. The third model posits that change in personal valence moderates the relationship between changes in organizational valence and in organizational identification and attachment. Using latent difference score (LDS) modeling in an SEM framework and survival analysis, the results suggest an emergent fourth model that integrates the first and second models: Although change in organizational identification during the merger mediates the relationship between change in personal status and organizational valence and change in attachment, there is a direct and unmediated relationship between change in personal valence and attachment. This integrated model has implications for M&A theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)910-934
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Applied Psychology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Mergers and acquisitions (M&A)
  • Organizational attachment
  • Organizational identification
  • Organizational valence
  • Personal valence


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