The purpose of this paper is to explore processes of group member evaluation and the interpersonal behavioral consequences of perceived group membership, within the…
The purpose of this paper is to explore processes of group member evaluation and the interpersonal behavioral consequences of perceived group membership, within the context of a temporary group with evolving members.
Based on data from an autoethnographic study, the author investigates individual socialization into a new group, with a focus on how gender influences interpersonal evaluation processes. The author analyzes the interpersonal organizing behaviors of surf lineups, which are a male-dominated group that is continually socially constructed through changing membership.
Findings support an association between denial of group membership and outcomes including incivility and denial of resources. The author develops a model of dynamic member evaluation, which identifies how group members continuously evaluate proximate individuals at the stage of impending membership, with identified outcomes of those evaluations.
A limitation of this design is that it generalizes organizing processes from a non-traditional setting to more traditional organizations. The model predicts dynamic member evaluation as individuals organize into groups in a shifting environment, with implications for scholarship on intragroup dynamics, incivility, gender and inclusion.
Understanding dynamic member evaluation provides a path for aspiring or new group members to employ signaling behaviors, which can help to prevent incivility and enhance resource availability. Evidence suggests that the proactive act of signaling competence may help to foster inclusion at the stage of impending membership, which is particularly important given how impending member evaluation is subject to bias. Such understanding also raises the awareness of how majority group members can manage their evaluations and refrain from letting judgments of impending members impact interpersonal behaviors, which may prevent incivility.
The findings and resultant model illustrate the process and experience of group inclusion, showing how incivility can manifest and resources can be limited toward impending members who are excluded.
This study contributes to scholarship by introducing dynamic member evaluation, including the content and process of evaluation at the stage of impending membership, how resultant selective incivility can be predicted, and potential contagion effects of such incivility.