Advances in Group Processes: Volume 17


Table of contents

(13 chapters)

Discrimination is an intergroup as well as an interpersonal phenomenon and is related to fundamental processes associated with social categorization and the development of in-group favoritism. We propose in the Common In-Group Identity Model that by understanding the factors that underlie the development of these inter-group biases, these forces can be redirected to improve intergroup relations. In particular, if members of different groups are induced to recategorize themselves as a superordinate group rather than as two separate groups, intergroup prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination will be reduced through the extension of pro-in-group bias to former out-group members. Moreover, recategorization in the form of a dual identity, in which superordinate and subgroup identities are both salient, can achieve the benefits of a strong superordinate identity without requiring groups to forsake valued ethnic and racial identities. Data reported from laboratory studies, field experiments, and surveys involving a range of different types of groups offer converging evidence in support of the model.

Most of the research on stereotyping and intergroup relations in social psychology has been conducted within the social cognition paradigm of psychological social psychology. In this paper we identify three deficits of the social cognition approach to stereotyping and intergroup relations that have hindered its developing a satisfactory explanatory model: first, an overemphasis on cognition and a concomitant neglect of affect; second, the confounding of affect and cognition by recent attempts to redress this imbalance; and, third, the tendency to treat the relations among cognitive, affective, and behavioral aspects of intergroup relations as a one-way causal process, rather than as a system of reciprocal effects and cybernetic control. We show how affect control theory, with its twofold emphasis on affect and control, and its clear distinction between cognition and affect, provides a comprehensive, explanatory model for analyzing stereotyping and intergroup relations. To illustrate this claim, we report three studies based on intergroup attitudes for Canadian regional identities. The first applies the in-group bias/ethnocentrism and out-group homogeneity hypotheses from social cognition research on intergroup perceptions to affect control theory data on intergroup attitudes. The second employs the attribution equations of affect control theory to demonstrate how stereotypic traits can be generated from intergroup attitudes for social identities. The third applies the impression formation equations of the theory to analyze the affective outcomes of intergroup relations between Canadians with different regional identities. Our findings reveal qualified support for the application of the in-group bias and out-group homogeneity hypotheses to affect control theory data on intergroup attitudes. In addition, the generation of stereotypic traits from intergroup relations, yield plausible results. Following a discussion of the limitations of our research, we show how social cognition theory and affect control theory are complementary approaches to the study of stereotyping and intergroup relations.

Widely shared status beliefs that characterize people in one social category as more esteemed and competent than people in another category play an important role in the organization of inequality. Status construction theory argues that the terms on which people interact across a social difference boundary can cause shared status beliefs to form and spread widely throughout a population. This chapter reviews the evidence for status construction theory and develops it further by offering an explicit theoretical account of the mechanism by which interactional contexts induce participants to form status beliefs even when those beliefs disadvantage the participant. I derive testable hypotheses from this account. I show as well how this account can be represented in the graph-theoretic terms of expectation states theory, allowing further testable predictions to be derived.

A theoretical extension of Berger, Webster, Ridgeway, and Rosenholtz's (1986) theory of status cues is proposed, which argues that task cues which contradict expectations based on categorical cues may reduce or overcome the effects of the latter on status processes. Possible mechanisms for these differential effects were suggested. Two studies examined the relative impact of verbal fluency and ethnic accent on perceptions of competence, and on acceptance of influence in a group task. In Study 1 tape-recorded passages read by Greek- and Anglo-Australian speakers were judged by independent groups on rating scales which tapped three dimensions: intelligence, competence/education, (referred to as status dimensions), and solidarity. Fluency of speaker affected raters' judgments of confidence and intelligence, but not solidarity; ethnic identity of speaker affected only ratings of intelligence. Tape

This paper introduces a methodology for strategic intervention in collective decision making. The methodology is based on (1) a decomposition of the problem into a few main controversial issues, (2) systematic interviews of subject area specialists to obtain a specification of the decision setting, consisting of a list of stakeholders with their capabilities, positions, and salience on each of the issues; (3) computer simulation. The computer simulation models incorporate only the main processes through which differences in positions and salience are accommodated in binding decisions: management of meaning through the provision of convincing information, challenges, and exchanges. The methodology generates insights into the likely outcomes of the process, the amount of conflict involved, and the stability of the outcomes. These insights and the investigation of the effects of strategic moves provide major strategic advantages to the user. This is likely to lead to a better representation of the user's own position in the decision outcome and the creation of a broader political and social support behind the decision outcome.

In most theories of authority, normative regulation is the price that power pays for legitimacy. But what are the mechanisms by which norms regulate power and under what conditions do they in fact constrain its use? In an experimental study of a three-level hierarchy of power and authority, we found that the internal constraint of conscience alone was not sufficient to constrain the abuse of power by authority: Where authority had something to gain, one in four Ss abused power out of self-interest; where it had nothing to gain, one in three followed their own conscience rather than the situation's norms.But internal constraints are not the only constraints on the exercise of power by authority. The mechanisms of the normative regulation of power depend on the fact that the exercise of authority, at least in organizations, is a collective phenomenon. It is not simply a matter of a superior, A, exercising authority over a subordinate, B, but of multiple actors executing the directives of A in such a way that the behavior of B is in fact directed. The normative regulation of power depends on how norms regulate these other agents of power and how dependence on these other agents, in turn, controls the behavior of A.

Emerson's (1987) theory suggests that some notion of “the whole actor” is axial to a comprehensive understanding of value in social exchange. Building from this notion, the present paper explores four pathways along which the theory might be clarified and extended. First, it explores the intricate connections that exist among need, uncertainty, and value, bringng to bear the operant conditioning and the rational choice perspectives. Second, it examines the complex interplay among extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation, and value. Third, it considers the dynamic oscillation that may occur between rational/cognitive and mindless/emotional processes in behavioral decision making. Fourth, it distinguishes socially intrinsic from socially extrinsic environmental value domains. The present analysis provides a basis for continued theoretical refinement and focused empirical research on Emerson's potentially important theory of value.

Social psychologists interested in the study of group processes have largely ignored social interactions in the context of the family. In contrast, much of the research in developmental psychology has focused on parent-child interactions and how they facilitate children's and adolescents' social and emotional development and adjustment. This chapter focuses on one aspect of family interactions, parent-adolescent conflict, and describes the results of an ongoing program of research that investigated adolescents' and parents' interpretations of conflicts, or the meaning different family members ascribe to their disputes. Research employing middle-class European-American and African-American families and lower-class Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong is used to illustrate cultural differences and similarities in types of conflicts, conflict frequency and intensity, reasoning about conflicts, and conflict resolution. The proposition advanced here is that adolescent-parent conflict helps to transform and restructure family relationships and to facilitate adolescent development. These findings challenge researchers interested in group processes to develop models that describe how groups change and evolve in response to conflict.

The purpose of this paper is to address recent theoretical and methodological developments relating to social and organizational aspects of stress. Further advances are dependent on a more thorough exploration of stress contagion processes. Contagion is defined as a cascade of demands and consequent emotional arousal from one area of life into another, between closely related individuals, and across the life course. Stress originates in the daily course of life as a consequence of social interaction in dyads and groups, opportunities and challenges shaped by social structure, and constraints and demands channeled by organizations and institutions. The paper focuses on three types of stress contagion as social aspects of the stress process, spillover, crossover, and stress trajectories. The review raises new questions to address in this area, and reviews data and methodological work that sheds light on the three types of contagion. In the view of the author, the most fruitful path for advancing research on stress contagion is to combine the insights of more qualitative research with data derived from empirically rigorous quantitative designs and analytic strategies. Researchers should combine careful theoretical analysis of stress processes with measurement technologies capable of distinguishing individual personality factors from situational, socially created factors. The paper also examines the relative strengths and shortcomings of several different research design strategies to advance theory and measurement: (1) life event measurement techniques more sensitive to stress contagion, (2) life history data collection, measuring stress contagion over time, (3) longitudinal prospective studies of stress contagion, (4) paired-informant and group-level designs, (5) daily diary techniques, and (6) experience sampling.

Social policy often involves establishment of principles pertaining to the distribution of benefits and, as such, is certainly within the purview of distributive justice processes. The intent of this paper is to apply theoretical notions about the establishment of justice principles, the perception of injustice, and the means to resolve disputes over what constitutes a just distribution of environmental resources. Given the nature of these resources, the question of securing a just distribution across generations arises. To illustrate issues of justice and intergenerational justice, we present a case study of the water rights litigation between the City of Los Angeles and certain environmental interest groups over the city's diversion of water from the Mono Basin area of the Sierra Mountains in the state of California. Our analysis highlights a variety of group processes inherent in the environmental debate as well as stimulates future directions for both applied and basic research.

A conceptual framework for analyzing the relations among macro-, meso-, and micro-level forces is introduced. This framework is used to develop propositions (enumerated in Appendices A-J) explaining the dynamics of embedded encounters. Encounters are viewed as embedded within corporate and categoric units which, in turn, are lodged in institutional domains. Meso-level corporate and categoric units determine the number of individuals present, the nature of the distinctions among these individuals, the locations of individuals in structures, and the broader cultural scripts that circumscribe interaction of those in focused interaction. The encounter itself reveals its own dynamic properties revolving around demographic, status, symbolic, and transactional forces which, on the one side, reflect the structure and culture of corporate and categoric units and which, on the other side, reveal the potential to change meso- and macro-level structures and their associated cultural symbols.

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Advances in Group Processes
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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