Inducing Support for Organizational Visions through Person-Vision Congruence in Values and Identity
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Organizational visions articulate a desirable future state in connection to some shared values or identity among organizational members. Theories in both visionary and transformational leadership suggest that values and identity are an integral component of visions that can enhance employee motivation. However, empirical studies have rarely tested this claim. Some available studies on vision-based motivation have been subject to criticism, primarily on the basis of potential confounds or experimental designs that do not allow for claims to be made about the motivational effects of vision as a stand-alone component of leadership. On the other hand, empirical research has repeatedly demonstrated that actions or messages that are framed to be congruent with the self (in values and identity) can motivate behaviour while incongruence can be de-motivating. The purpose of this research is to integrate these domains and examine whether person-vision congruence can motivate support for a vision. In Study 1, a field survey with full-time employees, value congruence between employees and their organization’s vision was associated with greater intentions to support the vision. In Study 2, a laboratory study, person-vision congruence in identity was associated with greater vision support intentions among participants with lower tenure. In Study 3, a laboratory experiment, there were statistically significant interactions between participants’ identity (their self-construal), primed values, and a vision’s corresponding value emphasis on vision support intentions. Across the studies, participants’ views about the self in relation to the value or identity aspect of the vision (i.e., identification with vision in Studies 1 and 3; beliefs about identity-related consequences of the vision in Study 2) mediated the relationship between congruence and vision support motivation. Taken together, the findings suggest that visions can motivate behaviour by forging a link with followers’ values and identity.