Antecedents and Consequences of Customer-Company Identification: Expanding the Role of Relationship Marketing

Michael Ahearne, C. B. Bhattacharya, Thomas Gruen
2005 Journal of Applied Psychology  
This article presents an empirical test of organizational identification in the context of customercompany (C-C) relationships. It investigates whether customers identify with companies and what the antecedents and consequences of such identification are. The model posits that perceived company characteristics, construed external image, and the perception of the company's boundary-spanning agent lead to C-C identification. In turn, such identification is expected to impact both in-role behavior
more » ... (i.e., product utilization) as well as extra-role behavior (i.e., citizenship). The model was tested in a consultative selling context of pharmaceutical sales reps calling on physicians. Results from the empirical test indicated that customers do indeed identify with organizations and that C-C identification positively impacts both product utilization behavior and extra-role behavior even when the effect of brand perception is accounted for. Second, the study found that the organization's characteristics as well as the salesperson's characteristics contributed to the development of C-C identification.
doi:10.1037/0021-9010.90.3.574 pmid:15910151 fatcat:nf55pwpfm5htbc3leq4cma7fou