Advances in Group Processes: Volume 28


Table of contents

(15 chapters)

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.

In this chapter, I detail a procedure for incorporating status characteristics with more than two ordered states, or graded status characteristics, into status characteristics theory. I revise theoretical definitions and assumptions accordingly. The new procedure adds a weighting function to the existing mathematical structure of the theory. I show that estimates using the new procedure are consistent with findings drawn from four experiments that were run in the standard setting for status characteristics theory. I also show that the procedure explains more variation and improves global model fit when predicting expectations using newly collected vignette data. I conclude with a general discussion of the procedures and implications for other expectation states theories and for research conducted outside the laboratory.

We detail the evolution of open interaction coding schemes that have long been used to capture behavioral indicators of the power and prestige order in status characteristics research. Although the theoretical variables ostensibly measured with these methods are few and explicit, the implementation of open interaction coding is not standardized and different projects have keyed on different specific behaviors. We argue that open interaction coding could benefit from the utilization of a more refined and standardized coding scheme. We offer precise operational definitions and some illustrations from our own recent projects in hopes of fostering more transparency in future research.

Sociologists often treat groups and organizations as if they had collective intentionality – that is, a collective impetus for action that exists semi-independently of the members of the group. At present, however, we lack a sound understanding of how collective intentionality is achieved or maintained. Furthermore, although organizations provide a well-defined and distinctive setting for an empirical and theoretical investigation of collective intentionality, organizational intentionality in its own right has received little attention. In this chapter, we seek to address the relationship between collective intentionality, organizational identity, and organizational decision-making, using the potentially powerful method of meta-ethnography: the comparison, contrast, and synthesis of multiple ethnographies.

This research uses identity theory to examine the individual variability in moral behavior for acts of commission (committing a bad act) and omission (failing to do a good act). Most research using identity theory has examined behavior in the active sense as in doing something while neglecting behavior in the passive sense as in not doing something. Doing something may carry more information as to who one is than not doing something. Thus, behavior in the active sense may be more likely to implicate the self and thus activate the identity process than behavior in the passive sense. I investigate this by placing individuals in the moral dilemma of a testing situation in which they have the opportunity to cheat (an act of commission) (Condition 1) or not report that they were over-scored on a test (an act of omission) (Condition 2). Participants' moral identities and emotions are obtained. The results reveal that the identity process helps explain moral behavior and emotions for an act of commission but not an act of omission. The results suggest that compared to an omitted act, a committed act generates more cognitive processing as to who one is thereby activating the identity process. Furthermore, in omission, individuals may not see themselves as responsible for an outcome, thus failing to frame the situation in moral terms – as having done a bad thing.

Environmental jolts and shifting membership challenge a group's efficacy and survival. Group identity is critical for a shared interpretation of and response to these challenges, but external and internal changes may require corresponding changes in a group's core identity. In a qualitative study of longshoremen in San Pedro, California, we observe an evolution in group identity as we track communication spoken and printed in the hiring halls, on the docks, and during casual social interactions. The emphasis in the shared language gradually shifts from safety and solidarity to safety, collaboration, and economic power. The newly developed language supports and shapes the longshoremen's identity and provides an interpretive guide for how to react to and benefit from disruptive external events.

We suggest that globalization, a process that fosters greater interdependence and mutual awareness among actors around the world in their economic, political, social, and cultural interactions, will also decrease the social distance among them and thus increase individuals' propensities to cooperate with distal others. We demonstrate in a multi-country public goods experiment that among the four domains of individual participation in globalization, economic participation in globalization has the least effect in prompting cooperation. Conversely, the other three domains of globalization have strong effects on individual cooperation, and this is robust to different specifications of the econometric model.

The relationship between intergroup conflict and intragroup cohesion is a longstanding concern in sociology and related disciplines. Past work suggests that intergroup conflict shapes emotional bonds between group members, promotes in-group and out-group stereotyping, encourages self-sacrifice for the group, and changes the social structure of groups. Conflict thus plays an important structural role in organizing social interaction. Although sociologists contributed much to the beginnings of this research tradition, sociological attention to the conflict–cohesion link has waned in recent decades. We contend that despite advances in our understanding of the conflict–cohesion hypothesis, more remains to be done, and sociologists are especially equipped to tackle these unanswered questions. As such, we encourage sociologists to revisit the study of intergroup conflict and intragroup cohesion and offer some possibilities for furthering our understanding of this phenomenon. After reviewing and evaluating the relevant literatures on the conflict–cohesion hypothesis, we consider ways in which a broad range of current theories from the group process tradition – including theories of status, exchange, justice, identity, and emotion – could contribute to understanding the conflict–cohesion hypothesis and how those theories could benefit from considering the conflict–cohesion hypothesis. In doing so, we make a case for the continuing importance of sociology in explaining the link between intergroup conflict and intragroup cohesion.

An ongoing debate in social exchange theory centers on the benefits and drawbacks of reciprocal versus negotiated exchange for dyadic relationships. Lawler's affect theory of social exchange argues that the interdependent nature of negotiated exchange enhances commitment to exchange relations, whereas Molm's reciprocity theory suggests that reciprocal exchange fosters more integrative bonds than the bilateral agreements of negotiation. In this chapter, we use data from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with poor and working-class couples to explore the effects of both types of exchange on relationship satisfaction. Consistent with reciprocity theory, we find that couples who engage in reciprocal exchange are happier and more satisfied with their relationship than those who explicitly negotiate the division of labor in their households and that the expressive value of these exchanges play an important role in this outcome. However, reciprocity is not enough. As predicted by the affect theory, the couples with the best outcomes also perceive supporting a family as a highly interdependent task, regardless of their family structure. Our results point to the complementary nature of these two theories in a natural social setting.

Constructing a theory of the legitimacy of groups, especially groups that mobilize the resources of their own members and provide pure or impure public goods such as collective action, raises some questions not encountered by theories of the legitimacy of acts, persons, or positions. Among these are: First, groups are typically nested in other groups. Groups nested in other groups may differ from each other both in their situations of action and in the larger social framework of norms, values, beliefs, practices, and procedures that guide action in them; or, in other words, in the two chief sources of their legitimacy. Does this pose a problem for the legitimacy of groups? If it does, with what consequences and under what conditions? Second, groups that mobilize the resources of their members for the purpose of providing them with pure or impure public goods have problems of both agency and collective action. Problems of agency and collective action make compliance with the claims made by the group on the resources of its members problematic. Even those willing to comply with them may be deterred by fear of the opportunism of others. Under what conditions do those who would be willing to comply were it not for fear of opportunism by others actually comply? Third, legitimacy is in some sense a resource. It is a characteristic instrumental to the mobilization of resources by a group. But is it a resource like any other? Absent land, labor, capital, technology or organization, does it matter how much legitimacy a group has? If not, what is the relation between legitimacy and resources?

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Advances in Group Processes
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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