Us and them: Disentangling forms of identification in MNCs

Davina Vora*, Jennie Sumelius, Kristiina Mäkelä, Sofia John

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


When employees identify with both the subsidiary and multinational corporation (MNC), they are likely to make decisions and engage in behaviors that benefit both. Previous work has concentrated on strength of identification, but we know much less about form – how the two identification foci relate to each other in employees' minds. Introducing an innovative methodology focusing on pronoun usage, we identify three empirical forms: single, extended, and coupled. Single refers to when individuals only identify with one entity (in this case the subsidiary). Extended is similar to single in that there is no separate MNC identification, but some MNC identification is intertwined with subsidiary identification. Coupled occurs when individuals identify with both the subsidiary and the MNC separately, and these identifications are also intertwined. We also explore some work-related factors that may provide tentative insights into ways MNCs might manage the development of form of identification. Preliminary results indicate that expatriation, prior within-firm international mobility, prior within-firm role mobility, job interdependence with headquarters, and job interdependence with other units are associated with the coupled form of identification. This research demonstrates differences from previous theoretical work and provides insight into how MNCs might manage the development of form of identification.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100805
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of International Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 03.2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Form of organizational identification
  • MNC
  • Subsidiary

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Leading for growth and well-being


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