Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2018

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 08/31/2020

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Business Administration

First Advisor

Colbert, Amy E

First Committee Member

Brown, Kenneth G

Second Committee Member

Crawford, Eean R

Third Committee Member

Li, Ning

Fourth Committee Member

Firth, Brady M


Individuals have an increasing number of work-related role-identities (RIDs). Identity theory (IDT) helps explain how the psychological importance (i.e., centrality) of one’s RIDs—arranged in a relatively stable, cognitive schema—and perceived social cues from one’s leader interact to shape role-related behaviors and work-related attitudes. Despite the theory’s emphasis on dyadic interaction, the extant literature has focused primarily on only one side of the interaction at a time, either from the leader’s perspective (e.g., getting followers to identify more strongly with a team RID) or more commonly from the follower’s perspective (e.g., how a high-centrality RID influences positive emotional states). Furthermore, the literature has ignored how dyadic interactions relating to one focal RID may influence an individual’s other RIDs contained within the same cognitive hierarchy.

This study extends the original interactional aspects of IDT by investigating first the effects of perceived leader-follower centrality congruence on follower performance and attitudes. Next, it seeks to further our understanding of whether the effects of perceived RID-centrality congruence differ, depending on a given RID’s relative position in the centrality hierarchy: congruence effects should be greater for more-central RIDs. Finally, this study expands our understanding IDT by examining how the perceptions of the leader’s centrality on the follower’s most-central RID moderates the effects of perceived congruence on separate RIDs contained in the follower’s cognitive centrality hierarchy. Specifically, I propose that for the follower’s most-central RID, perceptions of high leader centrality of this RID will mitigate the negative relationships of incongruence on followers’ least-central work-RID.

I collected data from a sample of 442 respondents who were online panel participants, and I tested my hypotheses and research questions utilizing moderated polynomial regression with response surface analysis. Results indicate that RID-centrality congruence is an important variable relating to performance and work attitudes. Furthermore, my results suggest that the positive effects of perceived centrality congruence are stronger when congruence occurs on one’s most-central RID compared to RIDs that are less central to followers. Researchers and practitioners should therefore consider not only the centrality of a particular type of work-RID (e.g., Team identity), but they should account for a RID’s centrality relative to the centrality of other concurrent work-RIDs. My results further suggest that verification of one RID can mitigate the effects of incongruence on other, concurrent work-RIDs lower in followers’ centrality hierarchies.


x, 193 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 171-185).


Copyright © 2018 Daniel Denton Goering