A well-known downside of organizational mergers is that employees fail to identify with the newly formed organization. We argue that developing an understanding of factors that affect post-merger identification requires taking the pre-merger status of the merger partners relative to each other into account. This is because relative pre-merger status determines employees' susceptibility to different aspects of the merger process. Specifically, for employees of a high status pre-merger organization, we expected post-merger identification to be strongly influenced by (i) pre-merger identification and (ii) the perceived change in the status. In contrast, we expected post-merger identification of employees of a low status pre-merger organization to be strongly affected by the perceived justice of the merger event. Longitudinal data were obtained from a merger of two public sector organizations and the results supported our hypotheses. Our study shows that the extent to which pre-merger identification, status change, and justice are important determinants of post-merger identification depends on the relative pre-merger status of the merger partners. Our discussion focuses on theoretical implications and managerial ramifications of these findings. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.