Identity, Threat Aversion, and Civil Servants' Policy Preferences: Evidence from in the European Parliament
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPublic Administration, 2017, 95(4), 1009-1025 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/padm.12348
Distinct policy options are typically characterized by a number of advantages (or ‘opportunities’) and disadvantages (or ‘threats’). The preference for one option over another depends on how individuals within an organization perceive these opportunities and threats. In this article, we argue that individuals' identification with an organization's core aims and objectives constitutes a key determinant of this perception. We propose that stronger identification shifts individuals' attention towards potential threats rather than opportunities in the payoff distribution, encouraging avoidance of negative outcomes. Moreover, we argue that this ‘prevention focus’ in individuals' motivational basis will be stronger under negative than under positive selection strategies. An original survey experiment with civil servants in the European Parliament finds significant evidence supporting the empirical implications of our argument.
The accepted and peer reviewed manuscript to the article