Advances in Group Processes

ISBN: 978-1-78190-976-8

ISSN: 0882-6145

Publication date: 23 September 2013


(2013), "Preface", Advances in Group Processes (Advances in Group Processes, Vol. 30), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. ix-xii.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Advances in Group Processes publishes theoretical analyses, reviews, and theory-based empirical chapters on group phenomena. The series adopts a broad conception of “group processes.” This includes work on groups ranging from the very small to the very large, and on classic and contemporary topics such as status, power, trust, justice, influence, decision-making, intergroup relations, and social networks. Previous contributors have included scholars from diverse fields including sociology, psychology, political science, business, philosophy, computer science, mathematics, and organizational behavior.

Volume 30 represents a very important milestone for the series – marking 30 years of Advances in Group Processes. Over this time the series has seen a number of publishers (JAI Press, Elsevier Science, and now Emerald), benefited from the specialized-expertise of an occasional guest editor, varied formats between open topic volumes and those organized around a particular theme, and proudly published theoretical and empirical work relating to a wide assortment of group processes. Edward J. Lawler initiated the series 30 years ago in 1984 and Shane R. Thye joined as a series coeditor 16 years later in 2000. As editors it has been very gratifying to see the series flourish, its impact on the field grow, and the flexibility the series has provided authors over the years. Virtually all of the publishers have echoed these sentiments.

The current volume opens with somewhat unique chapters for the series. In “Thirty Years of Advances in Group Processes: A Review Essay,” Morris Zelditch reflects on the evolution of group processes research over the past decades and comments on the role that the series has played in that progression. And while we did not realize this when he was invited, as series editors, it was affirmed for us that “Buzz” was the perfect person to write a review piece when we inadvertently discovered that he had published papers in volume 1 of Advances in Group Processes in 1984 (Zelditch and Henry Walker’s Legitimacy and the Stability of Authority), again in the 20th anniversary volume in 2003 (Zelditch and Walker’s The Legitimacy of Regimes), and now in the 30th anniversary volume. Buzz has had the benefit of seeing the discipline change over the past 30 years as one of the most creative, diverse, widely-read, and productive among group processes scholars. In some ways it is befitting that he should comment on 30 years of Advances in Group Processes given that he has occupied a front row seat to the show, and had a major hand in determining the program. We are very pleased to have his insights open this 30th anniversary volume. Students of group processes will learn much from his analysis.

The next two chapters review and summarize the state of group processes research as it pertains to race. In “Still Color-Blind? The Treatment of Race, Ethnicity, Intersectionality, and Sexuality in Sociological Social Psychology,” Matthew O. Hunt, Pamela Braboy Jackson, Samuel H. Kye, Brian Powell, and Lala Carr Steelman update an earlier analysis regarding the treatment of race in social psychological scholarship. In this chapter they conduct a content analysis of articles published between 2000 and 2012 in Social Psychology Quarterly to determine the extent to which such articles refer to or seriously engage the topics of race/ethnicity and sexuality. They find a substantial increase in articles that incorporate race or ethnicity relative to the prior decade, yet, articles addressing sexuality in some important manner remain rare. The following chapter examines how race/ethnicity can be examined using experimental methods. In “Race and Ethnic Composition of Groups: Experimental Investigations,” Carla Goar, Jane Sell, Bianca Manago, Calixto Melero, and Bobbi Reidinger review the current experimental literature that focuses on race/ethnicity. They report data from a new experiment that examines interaction among (i) Mexican American and white participants in Texas and, (ii) African-American and white participants in Ohio. Like the previous authors, they argue that more could be done to promote the understanding of race/ethnicity among those who investigate group processes. Both chapters make salient the importance and often neglected role of race in group processes investigations.

The following four chapters address some aspect of status or social influence in groups. Joseph Berger and M. Hamit Fişek formally theorize how it is that status valued elements come into existence via their relations to other status valued elements. In “The Spread of Status Value: A Theoretical Extension,” Berger and Fişek build on several strands of work related to the creation and spread of status value. Most important for those interested in status characteristics theory is that Berger and Fişek represent this phenomenon using the graph theoretical procedures of that theory. The effect should be to more fully integrate and represent the spread of status value with existing theoretical structures. Next, Scott V. Savage, David Melamed and Aaron Vincent work to integrate faction size with status characteristics theory in “The Role of Uncertainty in Social Influence.” The basic premise is that status matters most when the distribution of opinions regarding the correctness of a choice are evenly divided (i.e., group members equally select different options). Under such conditions, the theory predicts that a given decision maker will experience uncertainty, and thus rely on other information such as status to guide a choice. Data from a new laboratory study are generally supportive. In the next chapter Martha Foschi investigates whether being (i) native to an area or an immigrant, and (ii) the country of credentials serve as status characteristics in “The Professional Credentials of Immigrants: A Status-and-Expectations Approach.” Foschi reviews Canadian evidence from surveys, evaluations, and employment statistics to determine if these factors operate as status characteristics, and overall, the evidence suggests that they do. Based on these findings, she proposes a program of research for future investigations. Overall, these three chapters use the established core of status characteristics theory to forge new connections with related phenomena and all should stimulate new theoretical research. Finally, Arnout van de Rijt examines various dimensions of assimilation among Canadian immigrants in “Selection and Influence in the Assimilation Process of Immigrants.” Whereas previous theory and research has focused on the exogenous factors that alter the rate of assimilation, Arnout van de Rijt offers a new model that suggests variation in immigration outcomes can emerge endogenously, through cognitive dissonance processes. This new model is tested with data from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada. The result is a cutting edge analysis how the number of assimilated dimensions affects homophily.

The next two chapters are aimed at the intersection of emotion and identity. Joseph Dippong offers new experimental simulations in “Using Simulated Interactions to Explore Emotional Processes and Status Organizing Processes: A Joint Application of Expectation States Theory and Affect Control Theory.” Dippong uses affect control theory’s Interact program to investigate the emotional and identity processes that undergird status structures. This represents one of the most thorough and useful joint investigations of how status processes interact with affect and identity processes to date, and will interest both senior and junior scholars interested in these and related phenomena. Next, Kathryn J. Lively explores the correlational structure of emotion in “Age and the Experience and Management of Emotion.” Using data from the 1996 General Social Survey’s emotion module, Lively examines the correlational structure of positive and negative emotions for individuals over (and under) the age of 60. Notable variation in emotion structure are found for older and younger individuals, and Lively draws out the implications for how these affect the psychology of aging and the process of emotion management. Both chapters are at the cutting edge of theory and research on emotion.

The volume closes with two chapters related to leadership and socialization. Christabel L. Rogalin offers new theoretical insights in “A Generalized Theory of Conflicting Identity on Group Performance.” In this contribution she brings together elements from identity control theory and role congruity theory to explain the identity-related consequences for female leaders of groups both large and small. This theory builds on a long tradition of gender work in the status and identity traditions, and importantly, offers new solutions to improve group performance, and guidelines for women in leadership positions. A key theoretical contribution is that this work builds cumulatively on gender scholarship that traverses many facets of the group processes arena. Finally, David Peterson offers a new theory of socialization in “The Ivy and the Trellis: Agency, Biology, and Socialization.” This work synthesizes and brings together work in modern neuroscience, developmental psychology, and sociological theory. One key contribution is that this work suggests new mechanisms to explain and answer questions regarding cultural transmission. Overall, this chapter poses fresh questions and offers new solutions for contemporary theories of socialization.