Advances in Group Processes: Volume 34

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Table of contents

(11 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xi
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Purpose

To review three theoretical research programs accounting for the spread of status beliefs and their effects on inequality, and to identify similarities and differences in scope and theoretical principles in the three. We describe suggestions for further research that we hope readers may wish to pursue.

Methodology/approach

We summarize recent theory and research, identify areas of overlap and dissimilarity, and show how certain research topics could extend understanding of the processes and make connections among the three programs.

Findings

The three programs were built on ideas first codified more than five decades ago. Those ideas have been the foundation for empirical research and findings from that have been used to develop the theories, improving the range of situations addressed and the precision of predictions. While the programs here address similar issues, each presumes different initial conditions and behavioral outcomes. With some overlap, the programs also address different situations and propose different mechanisms for the spread of status.

Research limitations

Our review of the programs is necessarily incomplete, because work continues on the programs. The analyses and suggestions about important topics to pursue are ours, and others may identify other topics for theoretical and empirical development.

Practical implications

We hope that our interpretations of these programs make them more accessible to interested scholars who will extend the theoretical and empirical bases of the work. The processes described have implications for the status of immigrant groups, the social position of women, and the value attached to collector’s objects. We hope to foster applications of these theories to understand and alleviate some cases of unmerited inequality.

Social implications

The processes involved affect mixed-gender interaction in businesses, hiring biases, anti-immigrant exclusion sentiments, influence and bargaining power of individuals, desirability of certain furniture and clothing styles, ability inferences, and other phenomena. We mention instances where these theories can help to understand processes and to develop interventions to produce desirable outcomes.

Originality/value

No readily accessible summary of these programs and no theoretical comparison of them has yet been developed. Formal theories such as these sometimes seem obscure and we hope to show how they apply to important actual situations. Of course, the interpretations and suggestions in this chapter are our own and the scholars whose work we discuss might interpret the work differently.

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Purpose

We test the proposition that criminal sentiments, which we define as a negative and potent view of a juvenile delinquent (JD), moderate the effect of a delinquency adjudication on self-sentiments. We expect criminal sentiments to reduce self-evaluation and increase self-potency among juvenile delinquents but have no effect on self-sentiments among non-delinquents. We also examine the construct validity of our measure of criminal sentiments by assessing its relationship to beliefs that most people devalue, discriminate against, and fear JDs.

Methodology

We test these hypotheses with self-administered survey data from two samples of college students and one sample of youths in an aftercare program for delinquent youths. We use endogenous treatment-regression models to identify and reduce the effects of endogeneity between delinquency status and self-sentiments.

Findings

Our construct validity assessment shows, as expected, that criminal sentiments are positively related to beliefs that most people devalue, discriminate against, and fear JDs. Our focal analyses support our self-evaluation predictions but not our self-potency predictions.

Practical implications

Our findings suggest that the negative effect of a delinquency label on JDs’ self-esteem depends on the youths’ view of the delinquency label.

Originality/value

This study is the first to test a modified labeling theory proposition on juvenile delinquents.

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Purpose

To determine the role of status information conveyance in a negative reward allocation setting.

Methodology

Using previously published experimental data, we test the relative effects of status information conveyed by expressive and indicative status cues on the allocation of a negative reward. Further, we construct an alternative graph theoretic model of expectation advantage which is also tested to determine its model fit relative to the classic model of Reward Expectations Theory.

Findings

Results provide strong support for the conclusion that status information conveyed by expressive status cues influences reward allocations more than information conveyed by indicative cues. We also find evidence that our alternative graph theoretic model of expectation advantage improves model fit.

Originality

This research is the first to test the relative impact of expressive versus indicative status cues on the allocation of negative rewards and shows that status characteristics can have differential impacts on these allocations contingent on how characteristics are conveyed. Furthermore, the research suggests a graph theoretic model that allows for this differentiation based on information conveyance and provides empirical support for its structure in a negative reward allocation environment.

Research limitations

Future research is required to validate the results in positive reward situations.

Social implications

The results show that an individual’s expectations are altered by varying the manner in which status information is presented, thereby influencing the construction and maintenance of status hierarchies and the inequalities those structures generate. Thus, this research has implications for any group or evaluative task where status processes are relevant.

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Purpose

To determine the age at which influence peaks for men and women at work, then use empirical data to develop procedures predicting complex combining effects of diffuse status characteristics.

Methodology/approach

A survey experiment with a nationally representative sample is used to measure the age at which the status value of men and women at work reaches a maximum. Research results are then incorporated into equations adapted from current status characteristics theory (SCT) procedures to model the combined effects of age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income, occupation, and beauty.

Findings

Analyses reveal that the status value of men and women reaches a maximum in middle age, and that women reach a maximum status value at work at an earlier age than men.

Research limitations/implications

This approach maintains core assumptions of SCT and uses ongoing research results to calibrate a model predicting complex combining effects of diffuse status characteristics. Limitations include the need to develop additional empirical constants to make predictions in new research settings.

Practical implications

Predictions from the model can be used in hiring situations to adjust for interviewers’ nonconscious expectations related to status characteristics of job applicants.

Social implications

The disadvantage for women at work that increases through mid-career helps to explain the continuing underrepresentation of women in senior leadership positions. Awareness of the impact of socially valued characteristics like age and gender can help individuals respond more effectively to challenging social situations.

Originality/value

Extend the current SCT model to make predictions in contexts where people are being evaluated such as elections, hiring, and promotions.

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Purpose

This paper introduces a method by which researchers can assess the strength of their status manipulations in experimental research by comparing them against Monte Carlo simulated distributions that use aggregate Status Characteristics Theory (SCT) data.

Methodology

This paper uses Monte Carlo methods to simulate the m and q parameter distributions and the proportion of stay (P(s)) score distributions for four commonly used status situations. It also presents findings from an experiment that highlight the processes by which researchers can utilize these simulated distributions in their assessment of novel status manipulations.

Findings

Findings indicate that implicitly relevant status manipulations have considerably more overlapping P(s) scores in the simulated distributions of high and low states of a status characteristic than explicitly relevant status manipulations. Findings also show that a novel status manipulation, the handedness manipulation, sufficiently creates high- and low-status differences in P(s) scores.

Research implications

Future researchers can use these simulated distributions to plot the mean P(s) scores of each of their experimental conditions on the overlapping distribution for the corresponding status manipulation. Manipulations that produce scores that fall outside of the range of overlapping values are also likely to create status differences between conditions in other settings or populations.

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Purpose

To investigate two explanations for how variations in social network structure might produce differences in cognitive and perceptual orientation. One explanation is that the extent to which structures lead people to feel strong social bonds encourages holism. The other is that the extent to which a network leads individuals to be concerned about distal network relations leads to holistic thinking.

Methodology

An experimental study in which participants interacted in three-person networks of negotiated (with or without a one-exchange rule), generalized, or productive exchange before being administered the framed-line test, a common measure of cognitive and perceptual orientation.

Findings

Participants in network structures more likely to lead participants to be concerned about what was happening in relationships in the network of which they were not part performed relatively more holistically on the framed-line test. However, these effects did not extend to both modules of the test, and a check on the ordering of networks as reflecting concern with distal network relationships failed.

Research limitations and implications

The experimental design was structured such that only one of the presented explanations could possibly be supported, whereas they both could be correct. Nevertheless, results do indicate that cognitive orientation did respond to variations in network structure.

Value

Explanations for cultural differences typically implicate social structure, although the explanations often cannot be directly tested. Results show that social structure can produce effects that mirror differences thought to reflect profound cultural variations.

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Purpose

Role-taking, perspective taking, and empathy have developed through parallel literatures in sociology and psychology. All three concepts address the ways that people attune the self to others’ thoughts and feelings. Despite conceptual and operational overlap, researchers have yet to synthesize existing research across the three concepts. We undertake the task of theoretical synthesis, constructing a model in which role-taking emerges as a multidimensional process that includes perspective taking and empathy as component parts.

Approach

We review the literatures on role-taking, perspective taking, and empathy across disciplines. Focusing on definitions, measures, and interventions, we discern how the concepts overlap, how they are distinct, and how they work together in theoretically meaningful ways.

Findings

The review identifies two key axes on which each concept varies: the relative roles of affect and cognition, and the relative emphasis on self and structure. The review highlights the cognitive nature of perspective taking, the affective nature of empathy, and the structural nature of role-taking. In a move toward theoretical synthesis, we propose a definition that centers role-taking as a sociological construct, with perspective taking and empathy representing cognition and affect, respectively.

Social implications

Role-taking is an important part of selfhood and community social life. It is a skill that varies in patterned ways, including along lines of status and power. Theoretical synthesis clarifies the process of role-taking and fosters the construction of effective interventions aimed at equalizing role-taking in interpersonal interaction.

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Purpose

This study engages an understudied presupposition that values are relatively impervious to situational pressures. We do this within a key sociological context, incorporating social status as a meso-level structure, by measuring values before and after a competition situation with an experimentally controlled outcome to determine the situational robustness of values.

Methodology/approach

We incorporate measures of values into a standard competition experiment, looking at how winning or losing and the status of the perceived competition influence peoples’ values.

Findings

Drawing on the well-established expectation states literature, we demonstrate that perceptions of gaining or losing a competition influence core values. Overall, positive, related situational feedback seemed to heighten all of the values-measures, while receiving (manipulated) negative, specific feedback dampened the rating of all values.

Research limitations

This is an initial exploration of the received wisdom; future work should involve different manipulations, wider arrays of values-measurement, and more diverse samples.

Practical implications

We hope that our interpretations of these results suggest how perceived status influences core internal experiences. The processes described have implications for the experiences of groups that win or lose political competitions, and other social interactions whereby people feel more or less affirmed in terms of their core beliefs.

Social implications

This suggests that individuals and groups who perceive themselves as winning competitions, elections, or challenges will feel affirmed in their core beliefs, and be more motivated to pursue those valued ends. People who perceive themselves as being situationally unsuccessful will feel a general dampening of these core beliefs.

Originality/value

This chapter is the first to link the internal study of values with the general expectation states tradition. It is exploratory, and results suggest this is a fertile area for future inquiry.

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Purpose

A long-standing question is how group perception, which is the perception of a whole group, becomes an exaggerated perception of the individuals who comprise the group. The question receives scant attention within computer-mediated communication (CMC), which is increasingly a communication mode for groups and a research tool to study groups. I address this gap by examining bias in group perception when rating copresence, which is the sense of being together, with the group.

Methodology/approach

I model bias as occurring when perceivers differentially weigh ratings of individual group members on a variable while rating the whole group on the same variable. I analyzed how the degree of bias in participants’ ratings of copresence with a status-differentiated group varied by the availability of visual cues during CMC in an experiment. I also examined how the group’s status hierarchy impacted bias.

Findings

Bias increase as the availability of visual cues decreased and ratings of middle status members were weighed more in group perception than ratings of other members.

Research limitations

Middle status was based on possessing inconsistent statuses. Inconsistency, and not status position, may have rendered these members more salient than others.

Social implications

Interventions that target group perception may benefit from targeting the group’s middle status members. Researchers and practitioners can minimize bias in group perception through increasing the availability of visual cues in CMC.

Originality/value

The findings illustrate the underpinnings of copresence with an entire group. This is important because copresence shapes several group processes during CMC.

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Index

Pages 219-227
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Cover of Advances in Group Processes
DOI
10.1108/S0882-6145201734
Publication date
2017-08-12
Book series
Advances in Group Processes
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78743-192-8
Book series ISSN
0882-6145