Would you be surprised if I said that Valence Theory offers an explanation? I didn't think so...
It's all right here, under the section "Coordination":
When a person’s Identity-valence relationship to the organization is predominantly fungible, there is, by definition, a tradable value associated with the status, class, and privilege that the Identity connection conveys. It becomes difficult for that individual to separate a personal view from that of the organizational role since it is nearly impossible for someone so constructed to publicly separate his or her self from that f‑Identity-valence connection. Thus, it is not uncommon for an individual to feel compelled to assume either an untenable, illogical, seemingly irrational, or unethical position with respect to a particular issue because s/he presumes – often incorrectly – that is the appropriate position for the Identity-role to assume. Because the person cannot separate him/herself from that f‑Identity-valence connection, s/he (to paraphrase Marshall McLuhan) loves her/his label – Identity – as her/his self. Amidst the dehumanizing influences that characterize BAH organizations, a strong, extrinsically created, f‑Identity-valence connection helps to disconnect the individual from acting on personal judgements, feelings, and core values...So the solution to this sort of behaviour is really very simple. If you hold high office or a position of responsibility, all you have to do is - as my grandmother used to say - settle down and act like a mensch!
...Put another way, a BAH manager will ask him/herself the f‑Identity question: “What decision would a manager in my position take; how (that is, through what defensible process) would s/he come to that decision?” In contrast, a UCaPP manager would ask an Identity-ba question: “What decision accurately represents the collective values of this organization to create the intended effects – the tactility – to which this organization aspires?”
Considered in a slightly different way, understanding the action of f‑Identity can help explain seemingly arbitrary, onerous, or self-righteous decisions that occasionally occur in BAH organizations.
Update (30 June 2010): Jon Stewart has noticed exactly the same phenomenon with Candidate Barack Obama becoming President Barack Obama. (Linked clip from June 15 available only in Canada; Americans must visit Comedy Central's site for the clip).
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