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This chapter describes a theory of intergroup leadership. Research on reducing prejudice and intergroup conflict identifies a number of conditions, such as empathy, shared…
This chapter describes a theory of intergroup leadership. Research on reducing prejudice and intergroup conflict identifies a number of conditions, such as empathy, shared goals, crossed categorization, recategorization, and intergroup contact, which can be beneficial. It also identifies social identity threat as a stumbling block – processes intended to reduce conflict often threaten people’s sense of having a unique and distinctive social identity and thus provoke a defensive reaction that sustains conflict. But social psychology says little about the role of group leadership in conflict resolution.
I summarize what we know from social psychology about conditions that attenuate intergroup conflict; then focus on social identity and influence processes to present a new theory of leadership across conflicting groups.
Prejudice and intergroup conflict reduction rests on effective messaging and influence, which is often a matter of intergroup leadership where a leader must bridge and integrate warring factions within a superordinate entity. The challenge of intergroup leadership is to construct an intergroup relational identity that focuses on collaboration and avoids identity threat. I describe a model of intergroup leadership and discuss strategies, such as identity rhetoric, boundary spanning and leadership coalition-building, that such leadership should adopt to effectively reconstruct social identity to reduce conflict and prejudice between groups.
This is a development and extension of a more narrowly focused theory of intergroup leadership in organizational contexts. It will be of value to social psychology, the behavioral and social sciences, and those seeking to reduce prejudice and intergroup conflict through leadership.
This study aims to investigate the relationship between leader group prototypicality and intergroup conflict, as well as its mechanisms and contextual factors using the…
This study aims to investigate the relationship between leader group prototypicality and intergroup conflict, as well as its mechanisms and contextual factors using the social identity theory.
The research model was empirically tested using multi-phase, multi-source and multilevel survey data in China. The final sample consisted of 75 group leaders and 231 group members. Multilevel structural equation modelling and a Monte Carlo simulation were used for hypothesis testing.
The results showed that leader group prototypicality would engender intergroup conflict via intergroup distinctiveness. Further, leaders’ benchmarking behaviour moderated this indirect effect. In particular, leader group prototypicality resulted in higher intergroup distinctiveness and intergroup conflict, only when the leaders’ benchmarking behaviour was higher rather than lower.
First, this study addresses the question of whether leader group prototypicality would lead to intergroup conflict to provide theoretical and empirical insights to supplement extant literature. Second, the study advances the understanding of mechanisms (intergroup distinctiveness) and the consequences (intergroup conflict) of leader group prototypicality in an intergroup context. Third, the study shows that leaders’ benchmarking behaviour moderates the effect of leader group prototypicality on intergroup conflict through intergroup distinctiveness. As such, the findings are of value to future management practice by offering precise, practical interventions to manage the intergroup conflict caused by leader group prototypicality.
This study examined the relationship between the headquarters and the foreign subsidiaries of multinational corporations (MNCs). Hypotheses concerning the strategies…
This study examined the relationship between the headquarters and the foreign subsidiaries of multinational corporations (MNCs). Hypotheses concerning the strategies pursued by each MNC, intergroup conflict, conflict management styles, integrating mechanisms, and the effectiveness of the headquarters‐subsidiary relationship are developed and tested. There were no significant differences in the intergroup conflict experienced by subsidiaries pursuing different international strategies. However, effectiveness of the headquarters‐subsidiary relationship was negatively related to intergroup conflict. The use of the avoiding style of conflict management was negatively related to the effectiveness of the headquarters‐subsidiary relationship, as hypothesized. For MNCs pursuing global integration strategies, the use of personal integrating mechanisms and integrating conflict management styles were negatively related to intergroup conflict. For MNCs pursuing local responsiveness strategies, the use of bureaucratic integrating mechanisms and dominating conflict management styles were not negatively related to inter‐group conflict. This ran counter to expectations. MNCs pursuing multi‐focal strategies did not fit neatly into either strategy camp—global integration or local responsiveness.
This paper outlines a theoretical framework for studying the integration of ethnically diverse workforces in public service organizations. Individual and work group…
This paper outlines a theoretical framework for studying the integration of ethnically diverse workforces in public service organizations. Individual and work group characteristics are viewed as determinants of social identity and organizational identification. Social Identity theory suggests that individuals develop self‐concept through identification with salient groups, including ethnic groups and organizational roles. The extent to which these identifications are competitive or synergistic may depend upon organizational and work group characteristics and on organizational policies concerning selection, performance appraisal, and rewards. Cross‐functional teamwork may provide an integrative mechanism which can promote intergroup relations and encourage greater organizational commitment among an ethnically diverse workforce. Cross‐functional teams can contribute to reduced intergroup conflict and promote the development of organizational identification. The benefits of cross‐functional teams will be particularly important in situations where the workforce is diverse, but work groups are ethnically homogeneous.
The relationship between intergroup conflict and intragroup cohesion is a longstanding concern in sociology and related disciplines. Past work suggests that intergroup…
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.
In this chapter we apply intergroup emotion theory (IET; Mackie, Devos, & Smith, 2000) to reflect on the conditions under which individuals may experience intergroup…
In this chapter we apply intergroup emotion theory (IET; Mackie, Devos, & Smith, 2000) to reflect on the conditions under which individuals may experience intergroup emotions in workgroups, and to explore some possible consequences of those emotions. First, we briefly outline IET and describe the psychological mechanisms underlying intergroup emotion with a particular emphasis on the role of social identification. Second, we describe some of the antecedents of shared and varied social identifications in workgroups, which may in turn elicit shared or varied intergroup emotions in workgroups. Finally, we consider potential consequences for both relationship and task outcomes such as organizational citizenship behavior, workgroup cohesion, relationship and task conflict, issue interpretation, and information sharing.
This paper aims to analyze the relationship between religious differences (i.e. religious diversity and tolerance diversity), on the one hand, and dysfunctional intergroup…
This paper aims to analyze the relationship between religious differences (i.e. religious diversity and tolerance diversity), on the one hand, and dysfunctional intergroup conflicts, on the other.
A quantitative research design is used, through which the paper examines 47 public schools in India.
Religious diversity, that is, the distribution of heterogeneous religious affiliations in an organization, is unrelated to dysfunctional intergroup conflicts. By contrast, tolerance diversity, that is, the heterogeneity of organizational members' beliefs regarding the question of how strictly religious commandments should be followed, is positively related to dysfunctional conflicts.
The results of this study are limited to public organizations in the Indian context.
Since religious diversity is not connected to intergroup conflicts, fostering religious diversity in organizations could render the societal norm “unity in diversity” more authentic and attractive. This in turn would enhance the ability of different religions to cooperate in Indian organizations. In contrast with religious diversity, the heterogeneity of religious tolerance is significantly related to intergroup conflicts; a possible remedy could be the use of a transformational leadership style.
This study is the first to investigate both religious diversity and tolerance diversity in their effects on the emergence of intergroup conflicts, that is, apparent emotional tensions between organizational subgroups.
This chapter theorizes, and provides field-based illustrations, about new ways to foster intergroup collaboration beginning first with intragroup conflict engagement…
This chapter theorizes, and provides field-based illustrations, about new ways to foster intergroup collaboration beginning first with intragroup conflict engagement. While the author has been experimenting with these ideas and practices for many years, this chapter represents still early efforts to lay out an agenda for systematic research and experimentation.
I hypothesize that by successfully engaging internal conflicts about outgroups within ingroups, sides may separately become more willing and able to successfully and interactively solve shared problems and achieve superordinate goals between them. History is filled with attempts at cooperation between antagonistic groups – whether through negotiated agreement, functional cooperation, promoting positive contact and attitudes, and so forth – that have led instead to worsening attitudes and renewed confrontation. Even when polarized groups decide to cooperate to achieve superordinate goals (Sherif, 1966) they are often unable to make this leap from conflict to collaboration. I posit that this may be in part because inadequate attention is paid first to intragroup conflict dynamics vis-à-vis outgroups.
This study examined the impact of perceived threat and cohesion on the ability of groups to solve problems in a situation of social conflict. The self‐reports and…
This study examined the impact of perceived threat and cohesion on the ability of groups to solve problems in a situation of social conflict. The self‐reports and behaviors of 31 groups of college males were studied within a comprehensive, strategic simulation of intergroup conflict. The simulation was based on both a value conflict and an economic competition over scarce resources. A coding scheme for group problem solving was created based in part on Janis' seven symptoms of groupthink. Change scores were calculated over different points in time to assess the relationships among perceived threat, group cohesion, and dysfunctional group problem solving. Large increases in perceived threat were significantly related to decrements in problem‐solving effectiveness regardless of whether cohesion was stable or increased. Groups who reported high and increasing levels of cohesion experienced a decrement in problem solving regardless of the increase in perceived threat, while groups who showed small changes in cohesion demonstrated decreased problem solving under high perceived threat. The results were consistent with Janis' model of groupthink, and Fisher's eclectic model of intergroup conflict.
This chapter reviews research on group conflict from three perspectives. First, a development perspective of group conflict understands conflict as a natural part of group history. This view emphasizes progress through conflict as a precondition for group growth and productivity. Second, an instrumental perspective of group conflict differentiates between functional and dysfunctional conflict. Research in this area focuses on the preconditions for functional conflict while reducing the likelihood of dysfunctional conflict. Finally, a political perspective situates conflict as tension between advantaged and disadvantaged social groups. The focus of this view is on empowering marginalized voices in groups. After examining these three perspectives, the chapter highlights how each might approach conflict in potentially nuanced contexts such as intergroup conflict, virtual teams, and third-party resolutions.