We integrate insights from the social identity complexity and dual identification literature to explore the influence of workplace identification on cross-functional conflicts at work. We propose that patterns of identification across multiple identity targets will affect the development of cross-functional conflicts within an organization. We test our hypotheses in a two-wave study of 156 military personnel over a period of 4 months, finding support for our propositions. Specifically, we find that less complex patterns of identification (defined as dominant identification with a single workplace identity) are associated with higher increases in process, task and relationship conflict during cross-functional working, compared to complex patterns of identification (identification with two or three targets) and weak identification. These findings have important implications for cross-functional working, and also provide new insights into the role of identification complexity in shaping workplace outcomes.

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Keywords boundary spanning, complexity, conflict, cross-functional, Identification
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2016.1259215, hdl.handle.net/1765/94393
Journal European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Horton, K.E, & Griffin, M.A. (2017). Identification complexity and conflict: how multiple identifications affect conflict across functional boundaries. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 26(2), 286–298. doi:10.1080/1359432X.2016.1259215