Advances in Group Processes: Volume 23


Table of contents

(13 chapters)

List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Several years we began a new trend in the Advances in Group Processes series. Our goal then was to publish a set of interrelated volumes that examine core issues or fundamental themes in the group processes arena. Each volume was to be organized around a particular problem, substantive area, or topic of study, broadly defined to include a range of methodological and theoretical orientations. Volume 23 represents the fifth volume in the series, addressing issues pertinent to the Social Psychology of the Workplace.

Sociologists, social psychologists, and organizational theorists alike have shown a great deal of interest in the concept of social capital. To a large extent, this interest has been fueled by accumulating evidence that social capital plays a vital role in the development of more cooperative relationships within groups and organizations. Inspired by this evidence, a primary goal of the present paper is to examine more systematically the psychological underpinnings of social capital within contemporary workplaces. Drawing on social identity theory and related theories on the self, this paper develops a framework for conceptualizing how individuals’ psychological identification with a workgroup enhances their willingness to engage in behaviors that contribute to the creation of social capital within that workgroup. The paper reviews empirical evidence in favor of the framework, and draws out theoretical and applied organizational implications of the framework.

The academic literature within social psychology focuses on describing what leaders and groups do wrong rather than what they do right. We refer to this as the “negative psychology” of leaders and groups. This chapter reviews the negative and positive research perspectives on leadership and groups. We propose that scholarly research makes more references to the shortcomings of leaders and groups rather than their successes. We conjecture that the pressure by the academic community to produce compelling counterintuitive research findings fuels the tendency to concentrate on failures. In contrast, we suggest that popular articles and books more often focus on the positive achievement of leaders and groups because their audience, namely managers, are more interested in learning how to achieve positive results than to avoid negative outcomes. Finally, we suggest that scholarly research on the psychology of leaders and groups could benefit from understanding how to achieve and maintain positive outcomes, whereas popular press may better prevent organizational failure and ruin by understanding managers’ blunders and faults.

This paper sets forth a theory on how the articulation of a salient vision on the part of a team leader enhances team effectiveness in terms of innovativeness, efficacy, and performance. In addition to vision salience – determining, as it were, one dimension of successful leadership influence – this study postulates another dimension of leadership influence, i.e., self-sacrificial leader behavior. A leader's self-sacrificial behavior is shown to play a key role in communicating the credibility of her vision to the team, a critical factor on the basis of which team members may decide to commit themselves to its implementation. Drawing upon the roles of salient vision and self-sacrifice, this study hypothesizes a synergistic effect of leadership on team effectiveness when a salient vision by a team leader is conjoined with her self-sacrifice. The study also hypothesizes that a leader's self-sacrifice and salient team vision are more prominent in a collectivistic team climate, and predicts that a collectivistic team environment will be more conducive in increasing a leader's influence through vision salience and self-sacrifice than an individualistic team climate. The hypotheses were tested in a sample of teams (n=53) at the team level. The results support the positive moderating effects of vision with sacrifice, vision with collectivism, and sacrifice with collectivism, respectively, on team performance. In addition, vision salience and self-sacrifice exert their main effects on team innovativeness and team efficacy. This paper provides a detailed discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.

Gender inequality in paid work persists, in the form of a gender wage gap, occupational sex segregation and a “glass ceiling” for women, despite substantial institutional change in recent decades. Two classes of explanations that have been offered as partial explanations of persistent gender inequality include economic theories of statistical discrimination and social psychological theories of status-based discrimination. Despite the fact that the two theories offer explanations for the same phenomena, little effort has been made to compare them, and practitioners of one theory are often unfamiliar with the other. In this article, we assess both theories. We argue that the principal difference between the two theories lies in the mechanism by which discrimination takes place: discrimination in statistical models derives from an informational bias, while discrimination in status models derives from a cognitive bias. We also consider empirical assessments of both explanations, and find that while research has generally been more supportive of status theories than statistical theories, statistical theories have been more readily evoked as explanations for gender inequalities in the paid labor market. We argue that status theories could be more readily applied to understanding gender inequality by adopting the broader conception of performance favored by statistical discrimination theories. The goal is to build on the strong empirical base of status characteristic theory, but draw on statistical discrimination theories to extend its ability to explain macro level gender inequalities.

In this paper, we examine the effects of legitimation and delegitimation of female leaders in male- and female-dominated organizations on leader behavior toward their subordinates. Drawing upon status and legitimacy theories, we argue that delegitimation represents one event that makes gender stereotypes salient in different organizational contexts, and by this means affects leader–subordinate interaction. Gender stereotypes will be more salient in male- than in female-dominated organizations, but only when female leaders are delegitimated. Specifically, we hypothesize that deauthorized female leaders will exhibit more deferential and less directive behavior than authorized female leaders, and this effect will be stronger in male- than in female-dominated organizations. Authorized female leaders, however, will express a similar amount of deferential and directive behavior, regardless of organizational sex composition. To test these hypotheses, we created a laboratory experiment with simulated organizations. Results are mixed. Deauthorized leaders are marginally more deferential than authorized leaders, and this effect is stronger in male-dominated organizations; authorized leaders express similar amounts of deferential behavior in both types of organizations. Yet, leaders are more directive in male- than in female-dominated organizations, whether they are deauthorized or authorized. We discuss the implications of these results and future directions for this research.

Within the organizational literature, the emphasis on group performance has tended to overshadow issues of group composition and structure. In this chapter we urge group scholars to turn their attention to the topic of hierarchy in organizational groups. We focus on hierarchy as defined by both status and power. We propose that understanding how organizational groups resolve conflicts, make decisions, and ultimately perform, must stem from an understanding of the hierarchical structure in the team. Hierarchy imposes constraints on group interactions and should therefore be more central in our frameworks, theories, and research. We look at three areas that could benefit from bringing a hierarchical perspective to the forefront: (1) Information exchange and discussion biases in group decision making, (2) The study of conflict management and negotiation, and (3) Creativity and effectiveness in diverse teams.

Fundamental theories of power and status have developed sufficiently to apply in educational and organizational contexts. The path from basic theory to program development is neither simple nor direct. We trace the application of theoretical principles taken from network exchange theories of power as well as status characteristics and expectation states theories through the interdisciplinary field of leadership studies to applications that interrelate basic research, applied research, undergraduate educational programs, and organizational development. Two proposals result (1) a leadership training program that will produce university graduates with effective leadership skills, while also bringing diverse high school students to participate in a university program and (2) basic status characteristics research to explain the glass ceiling phenomenon.

Research consistently finds that procedural justice affects emotional reactions to inequity. This research, however, has failed to examine the ways in which contextual factors may alter the impact of fair procedures on emotions. Here, I argue that collective legitimacy is one such contextual factor, and I develop hypotheses related to this argument. I also suggest that procedural justice researchers should examine discrete emotions, because the combined effects of legitimacy and procedural justice vary depending upon the emotion in question. In highlighting the interplay between legitimacy and procedural justice, this paper also underscores the necessity of studying procedural justice within the context of the group.

The processes of legitimation and institutionalization are difficult to study because they are hard to measure. Instead, theories of legitimacy use its elements to explain various effects. We propose that these effects are due to the trust-building aspects of legitimation and institutionalization. If research can establish the trust-building nature of legitimation, then theoretical research programs in the area may progress more rapidly. Research on leadership in groups can be used to assess fundamental questions of legitimacy and trust because group leadership represents an interface between research on organizations and basic group processes. We describe an experimental setting to investigate legitimation, institutionalization, and trust.

Affect control theory describes a process in which individuals work to maintain existing situated identities. In this paper, we extend affect control theory to explain selective identity preferences in occupational settings. We argue that individuals form preferences about potential future identities with an eye to maintaining consistency between their potential experiences and their existing biographical identities. In particular, we suggest that occupational identity preferences reflect work-specific biographical identities called worker identities. We then predict that individuals who are seeking alternative or additional occupational identities will prefer those that evoke sentiments that are similar to those evoked by their worker identities. We find that current worker sentiments predict reports of desired and undesired future occupational identities, to include generalized military identities, to a remarkable degree. We discuss the implications for research on occupational mobility, work, and life course, as well as for existing identity theories.

This paper examines the attempts to create new online markets for the trading of wholesale standardized goods during the late 1990s. The vast majority of these business-to-business (“B2B”) exchanges failed. These failed attempts provide invaluable data on the necessary underpinnings of online commodity markets and the social dynamics that drive them. Focusing on the US market for propane as our case, we discuss the model that drove the development of many business-to-business exchanges, the social dynamics of the propane industry and the attempts to create an online propane market, the role of informal risk management, and some initial lessons about the design of markets. Ignoring the behavioral realities of markets led to designs and technology that in many cases were incompatible with the needs of market participants.

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Advances in Group Processes
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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