The origins of social psychology can be traced back to early studies of intragroup processes by Lewin and others. In recent years, however, social psychologists have drifted away from the ’social’ roots from which our field originated. In this unique preconference, we seek to re-invigorate research interest in the study of social interactions within groups. We will feature an array of speakers from social psychology as well as management and other disciplines (e.g., computer sciences) who are doing cutting edge work on intragroup processes, and we will conclude with a discussion on why social psychologists should be studying intragroup processes and why the area of intragroup processes would benefit from going back to its psychological roots.
Shaping Intragroup Processes in Diverse Teams: The Role of Leader Emotion Management
Astrid C. Homan, Gerben A. Van Kleef, & Stéphane Côté
Conscientiousness—the tendency to be dependable, hardworking, and organized—is related to individual performance across a variety of jobs, yet understanding of its importance at the group-level is limited. In particular, the association between conscientiousness diversity and team criteria remains unclear. Conscientiousness diversity may lead to bitterness and resentment, negative emotional responses that can impede group effectiveness. However, conscientiousness diversity might also create a functional balance between convergence, diligence, and rigidity on the one hand and divergence, flexibility, and adaptability on the other hand. We argue that conscientiousness diversity can have positive effects provided that negative emotional reactions are managed effectively. We propose that leaders with high emotion management capabilities, a key facet of emotional intelligence, can countervail the negative group-level effects of conscientiousness diversity, and facilitate its benefits instead. We report the results of two time-lagged group studies in which we assessed (Study 1) or quasi-experimentally manipulated (Study 2) the emotion-regulation knowledge of the leader. Supporting our model, the relationship between conscientiousness diversity and group outcomes varied depending on the leader's emotion-regulation knowledge. In groups with leaders with lower emotion management abilities, conscientiousness diversity was negatively associated with team satisfaction (Study 1), and team cohesion and information elaboration (Study 2), which in turn were related to group performance (Study 2). These relationships were opposite in groups with leaders with higher emotion management capabilities. These results suggest that the associations between conscientiousness diversity and group outcomes depend on the leader's capability to manage emotions.
Team hierarchical flexing: How start-up teams create fluid intra-team hierarchies
Lindred L. Greer, Nicole F. Abi-Esber, Charles Chu
The question of whether hierarchy helps or hurts team and organizational performance has long occupied the attention of researchers. However, our initial observations of early stage start-up teams suggested a paradox: many high performing start-up teams enacted hierarchy fluidly -- at times adopting a flat structure and at times relaying on a more hierarchical chain-of-command. We investigated this "hierarchical flexing" with a qualitative study involving 52 interviews with start-up founders and over 100 hours of start-up team observations. We use a grounded theory approach to theorize the enabling factors of how start-up teams enact hierarchical flexibility. We find that start-up teams with a flexible hierarchy had leaders whom had a balance of both confidence (to be hierarchical when needed) and humility (to allow the team to be flat and to empower others when the task demanded). Second, teams with hierarchical flexibility had a strong sense of purpose which enabled members to believe in the mission enough to cede power to the leader during moments of hierarchy and to understand the mission enough to engage in an empowered way during moments of flatness. Finally, start-up teams were most likely to have fluid intra-team hierarchies when the flexing moments were clearly signaled by leaders and were ritualized into the team culture. These findings challenge characterizations of team hierarchy as a stable or persistent structural property, and instead demonstrate the value of considering how social hierarchy is flexibly enacted across varying start-up team task interactions that change over time.
Social Norm Perception in Groups with Outliers
Jennifer Dannals & Dale Miller
Considerable work examines how summarized social norm information can change behavior, but little examines how individuals naturally summarize behavior in the absence of statistical information. In order to better understand the how to best use norms to guide behavior, we must first examine how norms are inferred. In a series of projects, I examine how individuals infer social norms when they enter a new group or situation. In the presented paper, my coauthor and I examine how individuals infer social norms in groups with behavioral outliers. We manipulate the distribution of group behavior and find that individuals overweight the behavior of moderate outliers in their perception of descriptive and prescriptive norms, but tend to discount the behavior of more extreme outliers, especially for prescriptive norms, forming a curvilinear pattern. We test our predictions in four laboratory experiments.
Discovering Social Groups via Latent Structure Learning
Mina Cikara, Tatiana Lau, Samuel Gershman, Harvard University
Being able to distinguish "us" from "them" is a core social capacity. One dominant account is that people use judgments of similarity to one's self on some feature (e.g., political values) to determine how to evaluate others, to whom to allocate resources, and who to approach in social settings. We propose an alternative process: people learn about latent social structures by inferring how agents in the environment relate to one another in addition to oneself. We derive predictions from a computational model of latent structure learning to move beyond explicit category labels and dyadic similarity as the sole inputs to social group representations. Four behavioral experiments indicate that people integrate information about agents' relationships to one another in addition to oneself to infer social structure. Specifically, these latent structures influence participants' trait inferences about other agents and choices about with whom they want to align. Using a model-based analysis of functional neuroimaging data, we find that separate areas correlate with the dyadic similarity and latent structure learning models. In line with previous work, trial-by-trial updating of dyadic similarity between participants and each agent recruited medial prefrontal cortex/pregenual anterior cingulate (pgACC). Trial-by-trial latent structure updating, in contrast, recruited right anterior insula (rAI). Most important, variability in the brain signal from rAI improved prediction of variability in ally-choice behavior, whereas variability from the pgACC did not. These results provide novel insights into the psychological and neural mechanisms by which people learn to distinguish "us" from "them" in environments that start out as a single group
Information on other presentations will follow later
We invite current graduate students or recent PhDs (degree received in 2016 or later) to submit proposals for poster presentation at the preconference. These presentations should address topics in the field of intragroup processes, broadly defined. We would also love to invite junior researchers from different disciplines (e.g., communication science, organizational psychology, organizational behavior, computer science, sociology, health issues).
To be considered, please submit a 1200-character abstract (including spaces) that outlines specific goals of the research, methods used, a summary of results, and a conclusion through the 2020 Preconference Submission Portal, accessible via the "Bringing Intragroup Processes Back to Social Psychology" preconference website. You will also be asked to submit a 400-character summary description. The portal for poster submissions will be open from September 1, 2019 through November 15, 2019.
- Seating is limited; some sessions fill quickly
- Breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks are included
- Receive a $25 discount when you add the full convention to your registration