PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of socially supportive relationships between co-workers in fostering organisational identification (OID). Adopting a Social Identity Theory perspective, the study investigates how employees’ ethnic self-identification (ESI) may influence co-worker social support (CWSS)–OID relationship depending on whether they are indigenes or non-indigenes.Design/methodology/approachRegression analysis was used to examine the relationship between CWSS (independent variable) and OID (dependent variable) at different levels of ESI (moderator variable). Data were collected from 1,525 employees from public and private employers in Nigeria.FindingsFindings supported a positive relationship between CWSS and OID that is moderated by an employee’s ESI. Specifically, the study finds that ESI matters in the strength of CWSS–OID relationship such that the relationship is weaker for indigenes compared to non-indigenes.Practical implicationsAs organisations develop policies that increase the representation of various ethnic groups or other forms of social identities at work, there is need to create an environment that fosters socially supportive relationships among co-workers.Originality/valueThis study contributes to the literature by adding a level of boundary conditions to the overall findings that workplace relationships are important for OID. The study also addresses how employees of different ethnic groups are influenced by the ethnicity of the context prevailing where an organisation is located.
- Organizational behaviour
- Organizational identification
- Social support