An investigation of salesperson appearance and organizational identification

Jennifer Yurchisin, Mary Lynn Damhorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this research is to investigate the relationship that exists, if any, between employee appearance and organizational identification in the context of apparel retail stores. Design/methodology/approach: Salespeople from a variety of apparel retail stores were interviewed using a semi-structured technique. Findings: Salespeople's level of identification was related to the congruency they perceived to exist between their identity and store's identity. Those who identified with their employment organization felt uncomfortable when the apparel items they wore to work were inconsistent with the store's identity. Additionally, those who identified with their employment organization did not feel uncomfortable wearing apparel items from that store to engage in activities outside of work. Research limitations/implications: The study contributes to the body of literature on employee-organization identification by providing evidence of a relationship between appearance and identification. Future research is needed to examine the relationship with a random sample of employees from additional employment contexts. Practical implications: Participants indicated that their level of identification was positively related to their level of job satisfaction, which in turn was negatively related to their intention to leave. Apparel retail store managers may be able to use appearance-related factors to select employment candidates who will most likely experience identification with the apparel retail store. Furthermore, potential apparel retail salespeople should be encouraged to consider image congruency when applying for employment. Originality/value: In this study, a first effort was made to investigate the previously hypothesized relationship between employee appearance and employee-organization identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-470
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Fashion Marketing and Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Garment industry
  • Identification
  • Retailing
  • Sales force
  • Work identity


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