State of Research: The beneficial effects of social groups, such as peer or workgroups, have been the subject of substantial research. According to the social identity approach (SIA), identifying with a group – and referring to “we” and “us” instead of “I” and “me” – is associated with more well-being and with less ill-health.
Contribution: Our symposium deals with three aspects of the SIA which have received little attention so far. First, Braun et al. investigated the role negative supervisor behavior plays in developing a sense of “we-ness”. Their research highlights how abusive supervision relates to ambivalent and organizational identification and, in turn, to well-being. Second, the SIA primarily deals with psychological aspects of the importance of groups. Using social network analysis, Mojzisch et al. show the relevance of real group interaction parameters in the development of group identification. Third, the three following contributions point to potential downsides of social identification. Specifically, Junker et al. show that workaholism is associated with less self-care, which, in turn, is associated with less well-being, but only among highly identified individuals. Kaluza et al. demonstrate that leaders’ stress mindset (i.e., whether they perceive stress to be debilitating or enhancing) affects perceptions of subordinates’ stress and subsequent leader behavior and that these effects are contingent upon leaders’ team identification. Finally, Erkens et al. found that stress contagion (i.e., experiencing stress after watching someone else in a stressful situation) is more likely among members, who share a social identity.
Theoretical Implications: We advance research on the SIA by investigating contextual factors (negative leader behavior and real group interactions), and by pointing to potential downsides of identifying with one’s workgroup or peers. Doing so, we provide additional starting points for interventions.