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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2009 Jan;96(1):183-202. doi: 10.1037/a0013068.

Working for the self or working for the group: how self- versus group affirmation affects collective behavior in low-status groups.

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1
Institute for Psychological Research, Social and Organizational Psychology Unit, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands. derks@fsw.leidenuniv.nl

Abstract

Experiencing social identity threat can lead members of stigmatized groups to protect their self-regard by withdrawing from domains that are associated with higher status groups. Four experiments examined how providing identity affirmation in alternative domains affects performance motivation in status-defining domains among stigmatized group members. Two forms of identity affirmation were distinguished: self-affirmation, which enhances personal identity, and group affirmation, which enhances social identity. The results showed that although self- and group affirmation both induce high performance motivation, they do so in different ways. Whereas self-affirmation induces a focus on the personal self, group affirmation induces a focus on the social self (Study 1). Accordingly, group affirmation elicited high performance motivation among highly identified group members (Studies 1 and 2) by inducing challenge (Study 2) and protected interest in group-serving behaviors that improve collective status (Studies 3 and 4). By contrast, low identifiers were challenged and motivated to perform well only after self-affirmation (Studies 1 and 2) and reported an even stronger inclination to work for themselves at the expense of the group when offered group affirmation (Studies 3 and 4).

PMID:
19210074
DOI:
10.1037/a0013068
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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