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Company, Country, Connections: Counterfactual Origins Increase Organizational Commitment, Patriotism, and Social Investment, Psychological Science

Abstract

Four studies examined the relationship between counterfactual origins thoughts about how the beginning of institutions and relationships might have turned out differently and increased feelings of commitment to organizations, countries and social connections. Study 1 found that counterfactually reflecting on the origins of one's country increased patriotism. Study 2 extended this finding to organizational commitment and examined the mediating role of poignancy. Study 3 found that counterfactual reflection boosts organizational commitment even in the face of other commitment-enhancing appeals and that perceptions of fate mediate the positive effect of counterfactual origins on commitment. Finally, Study 4 temporally separated the counterfactual manipulation from a behavioral measure of commitment, and found even two weeks later that counterfactual reflection predicted whether participants emailed social contacts. The robust relationship between counterfactual origins and commitment was found across a wide range of companies and countries, with undergraduates and MBA students, and on attitudes and behaviors.

Type

Article

Author(s)

Hal Ersner-Hershfield, Adam Galinsky, Laura J. Kray, Brayden King

Date Published

2010

Citations

Ersner-Hershfield, Hal, Adam Galinsky, Laura J. Kray, and Brayden King. 2010. Company, Country, Connections: Counterfactual Origins Increase Organizational Commitment, Patriotism, and Social Investment. Psychological Science. 21: 1479-1486.

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