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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Should Managers Bring Their Whole Selves to Work? How Integration of Nonwork and Work Identities Influences Marketing Managers' Interpretation of Market Research Insights

Published: May 27, 2020


Peter Fischer, University of St. Gallen; Anne-Laure Sellier, HEC Paris


market insights; managerial and organizational cognition; work and non-work identities


Conventional wisdom suggests that managers should bring their full-blown possibility to work. Even though research has demonstrated positive outcomes such as increased job satisfaction, decreased turnover, or increased creativity, the current research depicts a “dark side” of integrating non-work and work identities when it comes to data-driven decision-making. More specifically, three studies and two pretests with 524 experienced marketing managers consistently show that managers’ non-work identity deleteriously affects strategic marketing decisions if market research insights clash with a manager’s activated identity. We show that this unfavorable effect does not happen if managers clearly distinct between private and work life, and identify the relationship norm between the decision maker and the provider of market insights as a boundary condition. Overall, this research raises the question, whether and particularly when managers should be motivated to bring their “whole selves” to work and when companies may take active steps against such an integration.