MSCI211 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Ingroups And Outgroups, Social Loafing, Verbal Abuse
SchoolUniversity of Waterloo
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Module 9 – Enterprise: Decision Making, Creativity and Ethics
Why do people form groups? Social identity theory: people have emotional reactions to the
failure or success of their group because their self-esteem gets tied into the group’s
performance. People develop a lot of identities through the course of their lives in terms of
the organization they work for, the city they live in, their profession, religious background,
ethnicity, or gender.
Ingroup favoritism: we see members of our ingroup as better than other people, and people
not in our group as all the same. This obviously paves the way for stereotyping.
Several characteristics make a social identity important to a person:
• Similarity. People who have the same values or characteristics as other members of
their organization have higher levels of group identification.
• Distinctiveness. People are more likely to notice identities that show how they are
different from other groups
• Status. Because people use identities to define themselves and increase selfesteem, it
makes sense that they are most interested in linking themselves to high-status groups.
• Uncertainty reduction. Membership in a group also helps some people understand who
they are and how they fit into the world.
The Five-Stage Model
The first stage, forming stage , is characterized by a great deal of uncertainty about the
group’s purpose, structure, and leadership. Members test the waters to determine what
types of behaviors are acceptable. This stage is complete when members have begun to
think of themselves as part of a group.
The storming stage is one of intragroup conflict. Members accept the existence of the group
but resist the constraints it imposes on individuality. There is conflict over who will control
the group. When this stage is complete, there will be a relatively clear hierarchy of
leadership within the group.
In the third stage, close relationships develop and the group demonstrates cohesiveness.
There is now a strong sense of group identity and camaraderie. This norming stage is
complete when the group structure solidifies and the group has assimilated a common set
of expectations of what defines correct member behavior.
The fourth stage is performing. The structure at this point is fully functional and accepted.
Group energy has moved from getting to know and understand each other to performing
the task at hand. For permanent work groups, performing is the last stage in development.
However, for temporary committees, teams, task forces, and similar groups that have a
limited task to perform, the adjourning stage is for wrapping up activities and preparing to
disband. Some group members are upbeat, basking in the group’s accomplishments. Others
may be depressed over the loss of camaraderie and friendships gained during the work
Temporary groups with deadlines don’t seem to follow the usual five-stage model. Studies
indicate they have their own unique sequencing of actions (or inaction): (1) their first
meeting sets the group’s direction, this first phase of group activity is one of inertia, (3)
a transition takes place exactly when the group has used up half its allotted time, (4) this
transition initiates major changes, (5) a second phase of inertia follows the transition, and
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