In search of normative goal alignment within organisations: the role of employee seniority and identification with the leader


  • Marco Balzano
  • Grazia Garlatti Costa
  • Guido Bortoluzzi



normative goal alignment; goal-framing theory; normative goals; identification with the leader; employee seniority


Frame of the research: In today's fast-paced business environments, it is key to understand what facilitates alignment between employees and managers on organisational goals for enhanced performance. Drawing from Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) and goal alignment literature, this study aims to fill a gap in the existing literature by exploring the nuanced roles of employee seniority and identification with the leader in shaping normative goal alignment.
Purpose of the paper: This study investigates the role of employee seniority and leader identification in shaping normative goal alignment, thus contributing to the existing literature and offering practical implications to enhance normative goal alignment within organisations.
Methodology: Data are collected from 719 white-collar staff and 313 managers in 20 manufacturing firms. A survey is designed for measuring normative goal alignment, employee seniority, and leader identification. Hypotheses are tested through regression analysis.
Findings: The study finds a negative relationship between employee seniority and normative goal alignment. However, leader identification positively moderates this relationship, suggesting that employees who identify strongly with their leaders are more likely to be aligned with managers on normative goals, regardless of seniority.
Research limits: The research is limited by its focus on Northeast Italy’s manufacturing industry and its cross-sectional design. Future studies could explore normative goal alignment in different contexts and employ longitudinal research designs.
Practical implications: The results highlight the importance of employee seniority and leader identification in shaping normative goal alignment. Organisations should be aware of these factors and take steps to ensure effective alignment, such as investing in leadership development programmes or implementing strategies to encourage alignment between employees of different seniority levels.
Originality of the paper: This study contributes to the goal alignment literature by focusing on employee seniority and leader identification in shaping normative goal alignment between employees and managers.


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