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A Psychological Approach To Intergenerational Dimensions of Group Identities

In this paper, I integrate previously unconnected literatures that examine intergenerational dimensions of group identities (social psychology & organizational behavior) and offer a framework for interpreting their psychological dimensions. These dimensions involve the transmission of knowledge and culture through the group’s history, the inclusion of different generations in the group’s identity, and the (dis)affection felt towards past and future generations. I further propose these three dimensions correspond to either a cognitive (inclusion, transmission) or affective (disaffection) component of group identity. This framework is used to theorize consequences of, and key ingredients for, highlighting connections between past and present generations of an organization. Special interest is considered regarding how (dis)connections to past generations influence organizational member’s legacy concerns and self-concept.

David Reinhard
Gies College of Business, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
United States


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