Advances in Group Processes: Volume 31
Table of contents(15 chapters)
The primary purpose of this chapter is to assess the effects of twenty-five years of the Group Processes Conference on advances in the study of group processes that have taken place between 1988 and 2014.
This chapter places the twenty-five years of the Group Processes Conference in the context of the changes that have taken place between small groups research in the 1950s and group processes research in the 1980s and beyond.
Between the 1950s and 1980s small groups research reinvented, reconceptualized, and reinvigorated itself as group processes research. In this period, small groups research, its applied research, and its research programs became increasingly theory-driven, and its concept of the group and its levels increasingly abstract, general, and analytic. As a consequence of these changes, the concept of the field itself became increasingly analytic. The Group Processes Conference was at once a reflection of these changes and a driving force in the subsequent advances in group processes research. It both quickened and amplified the effects of individual-level factors and of thirty years of Advances in Group Processes on the transformation of the field and was also, like Advances in Group Processes, a driving force in the subsequent advances in group processes research. The present chapter concludes with an analysis of the mechanisms of the effects of the Group Processes Conference on group processes research.
The program for the twenty-fifth year of the Group Processes Conference celebrates its effects on the field of group processes research.
List of Contributors
We survey and organize over fifty years of theoretical research on status and expectation state processes. After defining some key terms in this theoretical approach, we briefly describe theories and branches in the program.
We also focus on a few theories that illustrate distinct patterns of theory growth, using them to show the variety of ways in which the research program has grown.
The program structure developed from a single set of theories on development and maintenance of group inequality in the 1960s to six interrelated branches by 1988. Between 1988 and today, the overall structure has grown to total 19 different branches. We briefly describe each branch, identifying over 200 resources for the further study of these branches.
Although the various branches share key concepts and processes, they have been developed by different researchers, in a variety of settings from laboratories to schools to business organizations. Second, we outline some important issues for further research in some of the branches. Third, we emphasize the value of developing new research methods for testing and applying the theories.
These theories have been used to explain phenomena of gender, racial, and ethnic inequality among others, and for understanding some cases of personality attributions, deviance and control processes, and application of double standards in hiring.
Status and expectation state processes often operate to produce invidious social inequalities. Understanding these processes can enable social scientists to devise more effective interventions to reduce these inequalities.
Originality/Value of the Chapter
Status and expectation state processes occupy a significant segment of research into group processes. This chapter provides an authoritative overview of ideas in the program, what is known, and what remains to be discovered.
The purpose of this chapter is to review the historical development of identity theory from 1988 to the present, and then outline some thoughts about future directions for the theory.
The chapter discusses major advances in identity theory over the past 25 years such as the incorporation of the perceptual control system into the theory, the introduction of “resources” in which symbolic and sign meanings are important, new views of the social structure, the relevance of the situation in influencing the identity process, the idea of different bases of identities, broadening our understanding of multiple identities, studying identity change, and bringing in emotions into the theory.
Throughout the review, empirical work is identified and briefly discussed that supports the major advances of the theory.
The chapter suggests a number of ways that identity theory may be developed in the future such as examining negative or stigmatized identities. Additionally, there is a discussion as to ways in which the theory may be tied to other theoretical traditions such as affect control theory, exchange theory, and social identity theory.
Identity theory has had a number of applications to various areas in society, including understanding crime, education, race/ethnicity, gender, the family, and the environment.
Originality/Value of Chapter
This is the most recent overview of identity theory over the past 25 years. It becomes clear to the reader that the theory offers a way of understanding the person as a cognitive, emotional, and behavioral agent who influences the structure of society but who is also influenced by the social structure.
This chapter analyzes the ways that individuals develop person-to-group ties. The chapter reviews the development and evidentiary basis of the theory of relational cohesion, the affect theory of social exchange, and the theory of social commitments.
We survey twenty-five years of published literature on these theories, and review unpublished theoretical tests and extensions that are currently in progress.
The research program has grown substantially over the past twenty-five years to encompass more varied and diverse phenomena. The findings indicate that structural interdependencies, repeated exchanges, and a sense of shared responsibility are key conditions for people to develop affective ties to groups, organizations, and even nation-states.
The research implies that if people are engaged in joint tasks, they attribute positive or negative feelings from those tasks to their local groups (teams, departments) and/or to larger organizations (companies, communities). To date, empirical tests have focused on microlevel processes.
Our work has practical implications for how managers or supervisors organize tasks and work routines in a way to maximize group or organizational commitment.
This research helps to understand problems of fragmentation that are faced by decentralized organizations and also how these can be overcome.
Originality/Value of the Chapter
The chapter represents the most complete and comprehensive review of the theory of relational cohesion, the affect theory of social exchange, and the theory of social commitments to date.
To provide a comprehensive review of theoretical and research advances in affect control theory from 1988 to 2013 for academic and student researchers in social psychology.
Against the background of a concise history of affect control theory from its beginnings in the 1960s to its maturation in the late 1980s, a comprehensive review of research and publications in the last 25 years is reported in five sections: Theoretical Advances (e.g., self and institutions, nonverbal behavior, neuroscience, artificial intelligence); Technological Advances (e.g., electronic data collection, computer simulations, cultural surveys, equation refinement, small groups analysis); Cross-Cultural Research (archived data and published analyses); Empirical Tests of the Theory; and Substantive Applications (e.g., emotions, social and cultural change, occupations/work, politics, gender/ideology/subcultures, deviance, criminology, stereotyping, physiological behavior).
Reveals an impressive number of publications in this area, including over 120 articles and chapters and four major books, and a great deal of cross-cultural research, including European, Asian, and Middle-Asian cultures.
Research Limitation/Implications (if applicable)
Because of limitations of space, the review does not cover the large number of theses, dissertations, and research reports.
No other review of affect control theory with this scope and detail exists.
This exposition explains how Elementary Theory works and how it has been developed over the last two-and-a-half decades. Both increased scope and heightened precision are covered.
Theoretic methodology is explained. Using that method formal models are constructed analogous to empirical events. Those models predict events, design experiments, and guide applications in the field.
There is a widely held belief in sociology that theory becomes more vague and imprecise as its scope broadens. Whereas broader generalizations are more vague than narrower ones, this exposition shows that abstract theory becomes more precise as its scope broadens.
Here implications and limitations are closely connected. Regarding implications, this exposition shows that scientific explanations and predictions are viable today in sociology but only when exact theory is employed. Regarding limitations, the theory and research included in this exposition make clear why the empiricist search for regularities that dominates sociological research is so very limited in its results.
Originality/Value of Chapter
This exposition demonstrates that theory is the method of all the sciences and in particular the science of sociology.
This chapter develops and tests a theory on relationships between perceptions of ability and adherence to rules, guidelines, and tradition. Drawing from theory and research on status processes in groups, the theory proposes that adherence to rules can provide an alternative to task ability in demonstrating competence at a group task and that persons who perceive themselves to be low in ability will become especially likely to strictly adhere to rules.
In an experimental study, participants received feedback that they had high or low ability at a group task that involved making judgments about bonuses in a fictitious organization.
Supporting the theory, participants who perceived themselves to be low in ability gave less money to employees technically ineligible for raises, even when the reason for the ineligibility was arguably trivial.
The proposed theory and supportive results have a number of theoretical implications for how status processes shape individual behavior in groups. For example, the theory might help explain collective enforcement against free riding, with people low in ability being motivated to enforce norms against free riding to compensate for their perceived lack of ability to contribute.
It is easy to conjure examples in which persons who are seen as exceptionally competent also seem to be given wide leniency in adhering to rules. The theory and experimental test presented here can help in understanding the extent to which the following of rules may be seen as the domain of the incompetent.
This study examines how the structure of referent networks, or the social network defined by knowing others’ reward levels, affects perceptions of distributive justice. The homogeneity of rewards in the referent network, the amount of inequality in the referent network, and an individual’s reward level are all associated with distributive justice perceptions. Several moderating relationships are also examined.
We relied on data from a controlled laboratory experiment to test a series of theoretically derived hypotheses.
The study shows that several aspects about the structure of the referent network are important for shaping perceptions of distributive justice. Specifically, the reward heterogeneity and amount of inequality in the network are found to be negatively associated with distributive justice, while reward levels are found to be positively associated with distributive justice. Furthermore, the effect of reward levels on distributive justice is moderated by both (i) the presence of a referential standard for rewards and (ii) the amount of inequality in the network.
While being among the first studies to demonstrate effects of referent networks on perceptions of fairness, it is unclear how group memberships combine with referent network effects and which factors may blur these relationships in uncontrolled environments. Subsequent scholarship on the effect of referent networks on justice perceptions should leverage multiple data sources.
Originality/Value of Chapter
Research on the effects of referents on justice perceptions has focused on particular referent individuals. We recast this issue in terms of referent networks, which highlights the empirical reality that individuals have a variety of sources or alters which could operate as referents.
The research community currently employs four very different versions of the social network concept: A social network is seen as a set of socially constructed role relations (e.g., friends, business partners), a set of interpersonal sentiments (e.g., liking, trust), a pattern of behavioral social interaction (e.g., conversations, citations), or an opportunity structure for exchange. Researchers conventionally assume these conceptualizations are interchangeable as social ties, and some employ composite measures that aim to capture more than one dimension. Even so, important discrepancies often appear for non-ties (as dyads where a specific role relation or sentiment is not reported, a specific form of interaction is not observed, or exchange is not possible).
Investigating the interplay across the four definitions is a step toward developing scope conditions for generalization and application of theory across these domains.
This step is timely because emerging tools of computational social science – wearable sensors, logs of telecommunication, online exchange, or other interaction – now allow us to observe the fine-grained dynamics of interaction over time. Combined with cutting-edge methods for analysis, these lenses allow us to move beyond reified notions of social ties (and non-ties) and instead directly observe and analyze the dynamic and structural interdependencies of social interaction behavior.
Originality/Value of the Paper
This unprecedented opportunity invites us to refashion dynamic structural theories of exchange that advance “beyond networks” to unify previously disjoint research streams on relationships, interaction, and opportunity structures.
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- Advances in Group Processes
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- Emerald Publishing Limited
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