Who Represents Our Group? The Effects of Prototype Content on Perceived Status Dispersion and Social Undermining
Author(s): Hee Young Kim, Batia M. Wiesenfeld
Abstract: Group identity may be embodied in more typical or extreme member attributes. The present research suggests that individuals’ perceptions of the group identity prototype predict their beliefs about the status hierarchy and, in turn, the prevalence of social undermining behavior. Across four studies using both experimental and field data, we find that perceiving that the group prototype is focused on the ideal rather than the central tendency is associated with greater levels of perceived status dispersion and social undermining, and that perceived status dispersion mediates the relationship between members’ perception of the group prototype and social undermining behavior. We also find that social context—specifically, salient group achievement goals elicited by intergroup competition and common ingroup identity—attenuates the effect of ideal prototypes on perceived social undermining. Theoretical implications for the social identity, status, and social undermining literatures are discussed.
Publication Title: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 43(6)
Pub Year: 2017
Pages: 814 – 827
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167217699581
Keywords: social identity, prototypes, status, status dispersion, social undermining

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