Comet Calendar

Dr. Bryan Edwards
Professor, Department of Management
PhD Coordinator
Joe Synar Chair
Oklahoma State University

Authenticity Climates and Perspective-Taking: Increasing the Social Identity Affirmation and Organizational Involvement of Black Employees

Abstract:  Many diversity initiatives focus on majority members or fail to appreciate the tension Black (and other minority) employees face in whether to express their social identities in majority-dominated workplaces. Applying theoretical concepts from the emotion management and social decision-making literatures, we develop a new theoretical model that highlights important contextual (authenticity climate) and psychological (perspective-taking) precursors to social identity affirmation by Black employees. We propose that authenticity climates facilitate social identity affirmation and bolster organizational involvement because these climates help Black employees feel more certain about how their colleagues will treat their social identity expressions. Additionally, building on theorizing that perspective-taking facilitates people’s ability to understand others and navigate interpersonal relationships, we propose that perspective-taking by Black employees is a critical facilitator of these effects. We first present interview data that captures Black professionals’ workplace experiences regarding their social identity and illuminates our theoretical constructs and hypotheses. Three survey and experimental studies involving samples of Black working adults then test our predictions. We consistently find that the level of authenticity climate positively predicts social identity affirmation by Black employees, and that this relationship is further strengthened when these employees engage in perspective-taking. We also find that social certainty is a mechanism driving these effects and that social identity affirmation increases organizational involvement. The current research links the organizational-level variable of authenticity climate with the psychological process of perspective-taking to better understand the social identity expressions and organizational involvement of Black employees. 

Naveen Jindal School of Management (JSOM), JSOM 2.717
800 W. Campbell Road, Richardson, Texas 75080-3021

Naveen Jindal School of Management
Junfeng Wu
(972) 883-5053

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