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Title: Re-examining the link between group identification and emotional fit: The role of context
Authors: Delvaux, Ellen ×
Mesquita, Batja #
Issue Date: 27-May-2014
Conference: Annual Meeting of the Belgian Association for Psychological Sciences location:Leuven, Belgium date:27 May 2014
Abstract: Research has shown that group identification and emotional fit with the group are strongly tied to each other: the emotions of high group identifiers are more closely linked to the group’s emotions than the emotions of low group identifiers (e.g., Tanghe, Wisse, & van der Flier, 2010; Totterdell, Kellett, Teuchmann, & Briner, 1998; Totterdell, 2000). Whereas previous research has focused mainly on default, positive experiences within groups, we propose that the link between group identification and emotional fit with the group may depend on the valence of the situation in which the emotions take place. More specifically, we will argue that the positive relationship between group identification and emotional fit with the group may be attenuated or even reversed when group members are faced with a negative situation. In such a situation, high group identifiers may have a more positive outlook and thus react in a more positive way as compared to the other members of their group.

In the current research, we investigated the link between group identification and emotional fit with the group, both in reaction to a positive and a negative event. More specifically, in 85 teams (N = 789) of a large Belgian non-profit organization, we examined the association between team identification and emotional fit with the team in response to two vignettes, describing either a positive situation or a negative situation at work. In response to a positive situation at work, the relationship between team identification and emotional fit with the team was positive, replicating earlier research. However, in response to a negative situation at work, the relationship between team identification and emotional fit with the team was negative. Thus, in a negative situation, high team identifiers showed less emotional fit with the team as compared to low team identifiers. Our research thus suggests that it is important to take into account the context when studying the link between group identification and emotional fit, and that it may not always be beneficial to show emotional fit with the group.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: AMa
Appears in Collections:Social and Cultural Psychology
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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