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Research
Jul 9, 2019

#BlackEmployeesMatter: Mega-Threats, Identity Fusion, And Enacting Positive Deviance In Organizations

Abstract

Despite recognizing the importance of events, researchers have rarely explored the influence of broader societal events on employee experiences and behaviors at work. We integrate perspectives on events and social identities to develop a cross-level theoretical model of the spillover effects of mega-threats, which we define as negative, large-scale, diversity-related episodes that receive significant media attention. With a focus on highly publicized instances of violence enacted against Black Americans by law enforcement as the mega-threat under study, we propose that the coupling of intrapsychic and group-level processes that occur as a result of a mega-threat leads minorities to experience identity fusion that involves the blurring of organizational and social identities through both affective and cognitive pathways. We further propose that identity fusion compels minorities to engage in task and relational positively deviant behaviors: progroup voice and relational bridging. We also propose that factors within the organizational context, including leader compassion, organizational climate for inclusion, and organizational demography, serve to empower minority employees, heightening the functional outcomes of mega-threats.


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