Dari Buku Joining Together-Johnson&Johnson
Basic Concepts to Be Covered in This Chapter
In this chapter a number of concepts are defined and discussed. The major ones are in the following list. Divide into pairs. Each pair is to ( 1) define each concept, noting the page on which it is defined and discussed, and (2) ensure that both members of the pair understand the meaning of each concept. Then join with another pair to make a group of four. Compare the answers of the two pairs. If there is disagreement, look up the concept in the chapter and clarify it until all members agree on and understand the definition.
1. Ability and skill diversity
2. Demographic diversity
7. Blaming the victim
8. Causal attribution
9. Culture clash
10. Personal identity
11. Personal diversity
In the story Beauty and the Beast, Beauty, to save her father's life, agrees to live in an enchanted castle with the Beast. Although initially fearful of the Beast and horrified by his appearance, she later is able to see beyond his monstrous appearance and into his heart. Her perception of his appearance changes; she no longer is repelled by the way he looks but instead is drawn to his kind and generous nature. At the end of the story, finding him dying of a broken heart, she reveals her love for him, which transforms the Beast into a handsome prince. Beauty and the Beast not only live happily ever after, but all those who stumble into their domain in despair change, finding on their departure that their hearts are filled with goodness and beauty.
One reason Beauty and the Beast retains its popularity is because it strikes a familiar chord in many people. Many times we are repelled by those we do not know. But after we come to know them and they have become our friends, we cannot understand how they once seemed so foreign to us. The moral of Beauty and the Beast is applicable especially in small groups. Small groups almost always contain a diverse selection of individuals, and in order for a group to be successful and effective, diversity must be faced and eventually valued.
The diversity that exists among individuals creates an opportunity for both positive and negative outcomes when these individuals come together in groups to achieve a goal or complete a task (Johnson & Johnson, 1989). More specifically, diversity among group members can result in beneficial consequences, such as increased achievement and productivity, creative problem solving, growth in cognitive and moral reasoning, increased perspective-taking ability, improved relationships, and general sophistication in interacting and working with peers from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
On the other hand, diversity among group members can result in harmful consequences, such as lower achievement and productivity, closed-minded rejection of new information, increased egocentrism, and negative relationships characterized by hostility, rejection, divisiveness, scapegoating, bullying, stereotyping, prejudice, and racism.
Both the positive and negative consequences of diversity on group life are discussed in this chapter.
Whether diversity leads to positive or negative outcomes in a group largely depends on group members abilities and their willingness to understand and appreciate the diversity that exists in the group. Specifically, the outcomes of diversity depend on your abilities to (Johnson & Johnson, 1989, 1995, 1999b)
1. Recognize that diversity exists and is a valuable resource.
2. Build a coherent personal identity that includes (a) your own cultural/ethnic heritage and (b) a view of yourself as an individual who respects and values differences among individuals.
3. Understand the internal cognitive barriers (such as stereotyping and prejudice) to building relationships with diverse peers, and work to reduce the barriers.
4. Understand the dynamics of intergroup conflict (see Chapter 9).
5. Understand the social judgment process, and know how to create the process of acceptance while avoiding the process of rejection (see Chapter 3).
6. Create a cooperative context in which positive relationships among diverse individuals can be built (see Chapter 3). This requires building cooperation as opposed to a competitive or individualistic effort. It is within a cooperative context that diverse individuals develop personal (as opposed to impersonal) relationships.
7. Manage conflicts in constructive ways. This includes
a. Intellectual conflicts that are part of decision-making and learning situations (controversy) (see Chapter 8).
b. Conflicts of interests that are resolved by problem-solving negotiations and mediation (see Chapter 9).
8. Learn and internalize pluralistic, democratic values.
SOURCES OF DIVERSITY
Three major sources of diversity can be identified: demographic characteristics, personality characteristics, and abilities and skills. On their own and in conjunction, these sources of diversity affect how people interact with one another. Demographic diversity includes culture, ethnicity, language, handicapping conditions, age, gender, social class, religion, and regional differences. North America, for example, is becoming more multicultural and multilingual. Historically, the United States always has been pluralistic, with citizens coming here from all over the world. In the 1980s alone, over 7.8 million people from over 150 different countries and speaking dozens of different languages immigrated to the United States (Table 10.1). Our common culture has been formed by the interaction of various cultures and has been influenced over time by a wide variety of willing (and sometimes unwilling) European, African, and Asian immigrants as well as Native Americans. What we call American music, art, literature, language, food, and customs all show the effects of the integration of diverse cultures into one nation by representing all of these backgrounds.
In addition to demographic diversity, individuals have different personal characteristics, such as age, gender, communication style, economic background, and so on.
Some people may be introverts while others are extroverts; some people approach problems randomly while others take a sequential approach. People from the same age group may have similar attitudes toward economic conditions and war but find that those attitudes differ greatly from the attitudes of people in a different age group. Males and females often have different opinions about interpersonal relationships. A person's education level may inform his or her attitudes toward innovation. In terms of group dynamics, group members usually have different values, attitudes, opinions, lifestyles, styles of interaction, and commitments-all of which determine the course of the group's life.
Finally, individuals differ in the abilities and skills-both social and technical-they bring to the group.
Experts from a variety of fields, for example, may be brought together to solve a problem or conduct a project.
Representatives from design, manufacturing, distribution, and sales departments may form a team to bring a new product to market. Accountants and creative artists may work together to revitalize a neighborhood. It is difficult, if not impossible, to find a productive group whose members do not have a wide variety of abilities and skills.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MANAGING DIVERSITY
The more voices we allow to speak about one thing, the more eyes, different eyes we can use to observe one thing, the more complete will our concept of this thing, our objectivity, be.
Utilizing diversity in ways that produce many positive outcomes and few negative outcomes is one of the major challenges facing modgm societies. Finding ways to deal with diversity is becoming increasingly important, for several reasons. First, we increasingly live in one world. The problems that face each person, each community, and each country cannot be solved without global cooperation and joint action. Changes in the world economy, transportation, and communication are resulting in increased interdependence among individuals, groups, organizations, communities, and societies. The more interdependent the world becomes, the more diverse the membership of any one group is likely to be. In the global village model used to speak of this world community, highly diverse individuals are interdependent and must find ways to interact and work together.
Second, diversity in most settings is inevitable; therefore, individuals need the skills to interact effectively with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. For 200,000 years humans lived in small hunting-and-gathering groups, interacting only infrequently with other nearby small groups. It is only with the recent development of worldwide interdependence and communication and transportation systems that diverse types of individuals have begun to interact with, work with, and live next to one another. In North America, Europe, and throughout the world, individuals increasingly interact with people who come from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, speak different languages, and have grown up in markedly different conditions. In addition, people of different genders, age groups, and economic groups have more opportunities to interact with one another in modern society than they did in the past. These days, diversity among acquaintances, classmates, coworkers, neighbors, and friends is increasingly inevitable.
Third, economically there has been a globalization of business, as reflected in the increase in multinational companies, coproduction agreements, and offshore operations. More and more companies must translate their local and national perspectives into a worldview. Companies staffed by individuals skilled in building relationships with diverse types of persons have an advantage in the global market. A telephone survey of 408 executives, consultants, and faculty involved in human resource issues in business asked respondents to think ahead about the strategic issues that business will face. In their responses, managing a more diverse workforce was the one issue repeatedly mentioned (Sirota, Alpher, & Pfau, 1989).
With increasing interdependence among people throughout the world, diversity in small groups cannot and should not be avoided or bypassed. Any group may consist of members who are diverse on a large number of personal characteristics and the abilities and skills they contribute to the group's efforts. Tomorrow's effective groups (including large groups such as organizations and nations) will be those that have learned to be productive with a diverse membership. The rest of this chapter, therefore, focuses on the ways groups can take full advantage of the positive consequences of diversity and can minimize the potentially negative consequences. The remainder of this chapter is divided into three sections. First, evidence is reviewed that indicates diversity in group composition increases productivity on a variety of tasks. Second, the difficulties with diversity that have to be faced, such as stereotypes, prejudice, racism, blaming the victim, and culture clash, are discussed. Finally, the practical procedures that groups can use to ensure that diversity is a resource and not a hindrance are presented.
THE VALUE OF DIVERSITY
Research documenting the value of diversity has focused primarily on a group's performance on a variety of tasks. Some research examines the impact of diversity on group cohesion and group conflict, which are determinants of overall group absenteeism, turnover, and satisfaction.
Group Composition and Performance on Tasks
How does heterogeneity of group membership affect group performance? Researchers have studied the degree of homogeneity-heterogeneity among members' demographic attributes, personal attributes, and abilities and skills. Three types of tasks have been studied: (1) performance on clearly defined production tasks, (2) performance on cognitive or intellective tasks, and (3) creative idea generation and decision making related to ambiguous judgmental tasks (Jackson, 1992; Johnson & Johnson, 1989 ; McGrath, 1984). The combination of sources of diversity and types of task is presented in Table 10.2 (Jackson, 1992).
Production tasks have objective standards for performance evaluation and require the proficient use of perceptual and motor skills (McGrath, 1984). Haythorn (1968) conducted a comprehensive review of research on group composition and performance tasks, covering studies conducted primarily between 1940 and 1968. Shaw (1981), McGrath (1984), and Driskell, Hogan, and Salas (1987) have conducted subsequent reviews. These reviews indicate that relatively few studies, with mixed results, have assessed the impact of personal attribute composition on performance tasks. Two studies found performance to be higher in groups whose members were homogeneous in personal attributes (Clement & Schiereck, 1973 ; Fenelon & Megaree, 1971). Terborg, Castore, and DeNinno (1976), however, found attitude heterogeneity-homogeneity to be unrelated to performance in a longitudinal study of student groups working on land-surveying tasks.
To summarize this research, we can say that groups composed of members with heterogeneous technical abilities may do better on production tasks than groups composed of members with homogeneous technical abilities (Jackson, 1992). Pelz (1956) found that more productive scientists and engineers tended to create informal communication networks with dissimilar peers. The productivity among scientists and engineers correlated positively with their frequency of contact with colleagues whose training and expertise were dissimilar to their own. Such networks resemble loosely structured heterogeneous groups. Voiers (1956) found that heterogeneous abilities facilitated the performance of B-29 bomber crews when the crews could take advantage of the ability heterogeneity by assigning members to tasks for which they were best suited.
In addition, athletic teams with more diverse skills, such as good offensive and defensive units, have been found to outperform teams with less diverse skills.
Intellective tasks are problem-solving tasks with correct answers (McGrath, 1984).
Wood (1987) reviewed the research on the impact of gender differences on group per- formance. He found twelve studies in which objective performance results (accuracy and speed) could be compared for same- versus mixed-sex groups. He found weak support for the conclusion that mixed-sex groups tend to outperform same-sex groups, whether male or female. Similar findings have been reported in studies of more complex learning tasks (R. Johnson, Johnson, Scott, & Ramolae, 1985; Peterson, Johnson, & Johnson, 1991). Laughlin and colleagues (see Laughlin, 1980), for example, have demonstrated that in problem-solving groups, "truth supported wins." Furthermore, when heterogeneity increases the probability that the group contains some members who are capable of determining the correct answer to the problems being solved, mixed-attribute groups should outperform homogeneous groups. Other studies have demonstrated that groups made up of individuals with different ability levels (high, medium, low) outperform individuals on intellective tasks (Johnson & Johnson, 1989).
Decision-making tasks involve reaching a consensus about the best solution to a problem when the "correct" answer is not known (McGrath, 1984). Research reviews indicate that heterogeneous groups are more likely than homogeneous groups to be creative and to reach high-quality decisions (Fiedler, Meuwese, & Conk, 1961; Filley, House, & Kerr, 1976; Frick, 1973; Hoffman, 1979; Johnson, 1977 ; Johnson & Johnson, 1989 ; McGrath, 1984; Shaw, 1981; Torrance, 1961 ; Webb, 1977). The conclusion holds for a variety of personal attributes, including personality (Hoffman & Maier, 1961), leadership abilities (Ghiselli & Lodahl, 1958), types of training (Pelz, 1956), and attitudes (Hoffman, Harburg, & Maier, 1962b ; Triandis, Hall, & Ewen, 1965 ; Willems & Clark, 1971). In one decision-making task study, Ziller, Behringer, and Goodchilds (1962) created heterogeneity in some groups by changing the group members (open groups); other groups maintained the same members (closed groups). The researchers asked the groups to write cartoon captions. Captions written by the heterogeneous (open) groups were judged to have greater fluency and originality. Pelz and Andrews (1966) also found that groups with fluid membership are likely to be more creative, even when the groups are interdisciplinary. They concluded that when scientists from interdisciplinary teams worked closely together on a daily basis, within three years they became homogeneous in their perspectives and approach to solving problems.
Although diverse perspectives are potentially advantageous, heterogeneous groups may not always function at an optimal level. Hill (1982) reviewed several studies whose results indicated that on creative and decision-making tasks, the performance of interacting groups was less than their potential, as estimated by statistical pooling. Hall and Williams (1966), however, found exactly the opposite. Furthermore, in a field study of 119 top management teams in the banking industry in six Midwestern states, Bantel and Jackson (1989) found that the more heterogeneous (in terms of job expertise) the decision-making teams, the more frequently the bank adopted new, innovative practices.
Overall, whether for better or worse, the range of skills and abilities a group can access in its diverse members affects its performance on creative and decision-making tasks. Laughlin and Bitz (1975) used a word-association task to compare the performance of groups composed of members with dissimilar ability levels with the performance of individuals whose ability was equivalent to that of the highest-ability group member. They found that the groups outperformed the high-ability individuals. Their findings suggest that high-ability members can benefit from interaction with others who have less ability, perhaps because the high-ability individuals take on the role of teacher, which leads them to sharpen their own thinking. Or perhaps the questions and input of more naive members encourage the more expert members to re-examine the assumptions and rules they automatically use when dealing with issues and problems in which they are experts (Simon, 1979). This re-examination increases the likelihood that unwarranted assumptions are reconsidered and rules are re-examined for exceptions.
Overall, the evidence indicates that when working on complex, nonroutine problems (a situation that requires some degree of creativity), groups are more effective when composed of individuals with diverse types of skills, knowledge, abilities, and perspectives. The results of the research on group composition and task performance are summarized in Table 10.3.
Other group outcomes affected by diversity among group members include absenteeism, turnover, and satisfaction. Often, these other outcomes are nearly as important as group performance to groups and organizations (Nadler, Hackman, & Lawler, 1979; Schmidt, 1974). Absenteeism, turnover, and satisfaction levels largely are determined by the levels of cohesion and conflict that exist in a group. A group that does not handle diversity well may not achieve the necessary level of cohesion that keeps a group together. It also may not handle other types of conflict well, leading to higher levels of absenteeism and turnover and lower levels of satisfaction among group members.
Research on the topic of how group diversity affects levels of group cohesion and conflict has come to a variety of conclusions. Haythorn (1968), for one, reviewed evidence and concluded that the effects of personality heterogeneity-homogeneity on cohesion depended on a number of factors, including personality characteristics, task characteristics, and extent of interpersonal contact. Bantel and Jackson (1989), in their field study of decision-making teams at 119 banks in six states, found no relationship between team heterogeneity and cohesiveness. Jackson, Brett, Sessa, Cooper, Julin, and Peyronnin (1991), in a follow-up study, found that the demographically homogeneous teams had lower turnover and were more likely to fill vacancies with employees from inside the firm, both of which may indicate higher cohesion.
Thrnover tends to be higher in work groups composed of members who are more diverse with respect to their ages and years of organizational tenure (e.g., Jackson et al., 1991; McCain, O'Reilly, & Pfeffer, 1983; O'Reilly, Caldwell, & Barnett, 1989). Turnover also is higher in groups whose members are heterogeneous in terms of college alma mater, curriculum studied, and industry experiences (Jackson et al., 1991).
Attitude similarity has been found to be related mildly to group cohesion. Some evidence exists that people are attracted to others with similar attitudes (Byrne, 1971; Heider, 1958; Newcomb, 1961) and that group members tend to become more similar in their attitudes as they interact over time (Newcomb, 1956). Terborg, Castore, and DeNinno (1976), however, conducted one of the few studies in which attitudes were assessed directly and then used to assemble groups. In their longitudinal investigation of student groups, cohesiveness was assessed at six points in time. At each assessment, cohesiveness was greater in the groups composed of members who had similar attitudes.
The magnitude of the effect of attitude similarity on cohesiveness did not approach statistical significance, however, until the last three assessments.
Finally, heterogeneity among group members promotes increased argumentation and more conflict (Nijhof & Kommers, 1982). Such conflicts can be beneficial for completing complex problem-solving tasks (Cosier, 1981 ; Janis, 1972 ; Johnson & Johnson, 1979, 1989, 1992a; Schweiger, Sandberg, & Rechner, 1989; Schwenk, 1983). Review Chapter 8 for a discussion of how conflict and controversy can lead to improved group performance and effectiveness.
Disadvantages of Homogeneity of Membership
The alternative to having groups with diverse members is to build a homogeneous group. Although this option may sound like a good way to improve group performance, group homogeneity has a number of disadvantages. First, homogeneous groups may lack the controversy and clash of perspectives so essential to high-quality decision making and creative thinking. Too many members who think alike and see the world the same way makes for a dull and mediocre group. Second, such groups tend to avoid taking risks (Bantel & Jackson, 1989) and therefore, may miss opportunities to increase their productivity. Third, they more frequently engage in groupthink (Janis, 1972). Fourth, they tend to function best in static situations ; they have trouble adapting to changing conditions.
Bringing diverse individuals together does not result automatically in positive outcomes, however (Johnson & Johnson, 1989). Proximity is a necessary condition for the positive potential of diversity to be realized, but it is not sufficient in itself. What proximity does create is visibility and initial contact. The initial contact often is dominated by interaction strain (individuals feel discomfort and uncertainty as to how to behave).
Interaction strain inhibits interaction, creates ambivalence, and fosters atypical behavior such as overfriendliness followed by withdrawal and avoidance.
Under competitive and individualistic conditions, furthermore, pluralism and diversity may cause problems. Diversity can result in lower achievement due to increased difficulties in communication and coordination. It can create threat, defensiveness, increased egocentrism, and closed-minded rejection of new information. Direct interaction among diverse individuals in competitive situations also can create negative relationships characterized by hostility, rejection, divisiveness, scapegoating, bullying, stereotyping, and prejudice, all of which are discussed in the next section.
A number of problems can be found with the existing research on group composition and how it affects groups' interactions and outcomes. First, in considering member heterogeneity, it is difficult to determine what attributes are important. The research has focused on personal attributes (such as personality, attitudes, gender, and ethnicity) and skills and abilities. These two categories have been focused on because they can be measured and group members can be selected based on them. It is not clear that they are the variables that affect team performance, however.
Second, no one attribute is likely to make much difference in the complexity of real work. Thus, multiattribute research may be more important. Instead of studying the impact of gender, ethnicity, age, or cognitive style, studies that track composition along all of these dimensions simultaneously are needed.
Third, organizations employ people to perform a wide variety of both simple and complex tasks that involve perceptual and motor performance, intellective performance, creativity, and judgmental decision making. Groups may be working on a variety of tasks simultaneously, and the tasks they are doing today may not be the same as those they will work on tomorrow. Over time, the tasks a group faces are unpredictable ; therefore, the safest thing to do is to maximize the heterogeneity in the group.
Fourth, it is difficult to determine what is and is not diversity. What outsiders may define as heterogeneity may not be perceived as such by insiders. Turner (1987), in his discussion of self-categorization theory, argues that many group phenomena (including cohesiveness and cooperation) are influenced by the self-categorizations of group members. Specifically, psychological ingroups form when people perceive themselves to be relatively similar to one another in some way(s) and relatively different from others, who are viewed as the outgroup. Thus, in order to judge whether a group is heterogeneous or homogeneous with respect to an attribute, it is important to consider how the group defines diversity in that regard.
Fifth, little is known about precisely how group composition and tasks interact to affect performance. Thus, recommendations cannot be made about the procedures and strategies group members should use to make their diversity work for them and improve their productivity. If not enough is known to make recommendations about specific, limited, artificial situations, then in the complex real world, recommendations about using heterogeneous groups are impossible.
Finally, group members simultaneously are both heterogeneous and homogeneous. Each person has hundreds of characteristics and abilities. Members who are homogeneous on one or two attributes are heterogeneous with respect to others. Conversely, members who are heterogeneous with respect to several attributes still share other common attributes. In truth, it is nearly impossible to create a completely homogeneous group. Clearly, it is unrealistic to cope with the diversity of people by attempting to completely control the composition of groups. Instead, we need to find ways to manage groups to ensure that the positive consequences of heterogeneity are maximized and the potentially negative consequences of heterogeneity are minimized.
Because diversity is inevitable and ever increasing, the choice to avoid diversity does not exist for most people. In school, on the job, and in the community, you interact with people who are different from you in many ways, whether or not you wish to do so. The promise of diversity far outweighs the problems as long as the individuals involved understand how to capitalize on the benefits while avoiding the pitfalls. The greater the understanding of human relations, for example, the more constructive the results of diversity will be.
BARRIERS TO INTERACTING WITH DIVERSE PEERS
We know that diversity among group members is an important resource that can be utilized to improve the group's productivity. We also know that doing so may not be easy.
A number of barriers exist to interacting effectively with diverse peers (Johnson, 2003 ; Johnson & Johnson, 1999b). They include stereotyping, prejudice, the tendency to blame the victim, and cultural clashes.
Stereotypes can be found everywhere, and everyone has them. Stereotypes are a product of the way the mind stores, organizes, and recalls information. They are used to describe differences among groups and to predict how others will behave. They reduce complexity, help us make quick decisions, fill in the gaps in what we know, help us make sense out of who we are and what has happened to us, and help us create and recognize the patterns needed to draw conclusions. In and of themselves, stereotypes do not necessarily have to be bad. Unfortunately, stereotypes often are the basis for unfairness and injustice in the way people deal with one another.
The term stereotype was first used in the eighteenth century to describe a printing process designed to duplicate pages of type. In the nineteenth century psychiatrists used the term stereotypy to describe a behavior of persistent repetitiveness and unchanging mode of expression. Modern use of the term stereotype originated with Lippmann (1922) in his book, Public Opinion. He argued, "there is neither time nor opportunity for intimate acquaintance. Instead we notice a trait which marks a well known type, and fill in the rest of the picture by means of the stereotypes we carry about in our heads" (p. 59).
In modern usage, a stereotype is defined as a belief that associates a whole group of people with certain traits. Stereotypes (1) are cognitive ; (2) reflect a set of related beliefs rather than an isolated bit of information; (3) describe attributes, personalities, and characters so that groups can be compared and differentiated; and (4) are shared by individuals and groups holding them (Ashmore & Del Boca, 1979). In these ways, stereotypes function as simplifiers and organizers of social information. They reduce the complexity of the social environment and make it more manageable.
People form stereotypes in two ways. First, they categorize by sorting single objects into groups rather than thinking of each one as unique. Second, they differentiate between ingroups and outgroup. People commonly assume that the members of outgroups are quite similar but recognize that the members of the ingroup they identify with are quite diverse (outgroup homogeneity effect). The failure to notice differences among outgroup members may result from lack of personal contact with people from these outgroups. A white person, for example, may see all Hispanics as being alike, but someone with a wide variety of Hispanic friends may see little similarity among Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Mexicans, and Argentineans.
An efficient cognitive system, which stereotyping can be, does more than simply make cognition easy for people at all costs. It also helps people in ways that maximize the informational value they can gain for the effort they expend. In this regard, stereotyping is efficient, for several reasons. First, the social categorization that precedes stereotyping reduces the amount of information that must be attended to each time an individual is encountered. In other words, when you view a certain group in one light, you reduce the need to form individualized impressions of each category member (Allport, 1954
; Brewer, 1988 ; Fiske & Neuberg, 1990; Hamilton & Sherman, 1994 ; Lippmann, 1922). Second, stereotypes expand your base of knowledge by allowing you to infer a person's attributes without having to attend carefully to the person's behavior (Brewer, 1988 ; Fiske & Neuberg, 1990; Hamilton & Sherman, 1994; Medin, 1988; Sherman, 1996). Through the relatively simple act of social categorization, stereotypes allow you to gain a large amount of "functionally accurate" information (Swann, 1984), thus resulting in a beneficial ratio of information gained to effort expended.
Although stereotypes do allow people to make assumptions about individuals in a relatively efficient manner, stereotypes also have the power to cause harm. When taken to extremes, the above-mentioned benefits instead become a crutch that allows people to avoid interacting with others on their own merits. Stereotyping can become a kind of shorthand that unfairly defines individuals, because the person holding the stereotype does not take the time to interact with the individual as his or her own person.
When this happens, we end up with stereotypes such as men are more competitive than women, black people are better athletes than white people, Asian people work harder than Americans, and so on. In short, stereotypes can lead to false generalizations aimed at an entire group of people, generalizations that prevent that group from being seen as individuals within a group.
People who hold strong stereotypes often are prone to the fundamental attribution error. That is, they attribute negative behavior on the part of a minority-group member to dispositional characteristics. Positive behavior by a minority-group member, on the other hand, is believed to be the result of situational factors. When it comes to judging their own behavior, however, negative behavior is attributed to situational causes and positive behavior is viewed as dispositional. When a minority-group member acts in an undesirable way, the attribution is "That's the way those people are" or "Those people are born like that." If the minority-group member is seen engaging in desirable behavior, the person holding the stereotype might view that individual as "an exception to the rule."
Stereotypes are perpetuated and protected in four ways. First, stereotypes influence what we perceive and remember about the actions of outgroup members. The social categories we use to process information about the world control what we tend to perceive and not perceive. Our prejudice makes us notice the negative traits we ascribe to the groups we are prejudiced against. Furthermore, when individuals expect members of an outgroup to behave in a certain way, they tend to recall more accurately instances that confirm rather than clisconfirm their expectations. Hence, if an outgroup is perceived to be of low intelligence, individuals tend to remember instances in which an outgroup member was confused in class or failed a test. But they tend to forget instances in which an outgroup member achieved a 4.0 grade point average or became class valedictorian (Rothbart, Evans, & Fulero, 1979).
Second, stereotypes create an oversimplified picture of outgroup members. The act of categorization itself leads people to assume similarity among the members of a category. Even when the distinctions between groups are arbitrary, people tend to minimize the differences they see among members of the same group and to accentuate the differences between members of two different groups. When processing information about their ingroups and outgroups, people develop relatively simplistic and nonspecific pictures of outgroups. The larger the outgroup, the more likely it is that oversimplifications occur. Individuals, furthermore, do more than simply note the differences between their ingroup and the outgroups. They often attempt to emphasize the differences and take actions that discriminate in favor of their own group.
Third, individuals tend to overestimate the similarity of behavior among outgroup members. Because outgroups are perceived to be homogeneous, the actions of one member can be generalized to all. If an older person witnesses one teenager driving recklessly, it may be a short jump for the older person to stereotype that all teenage drivers are reckless.
Fourth, stereotypes can lead to scapegoating. A scapegoat is a guiltless but defenseless group that is attacked to provide an outlet for another group's pent-up anger and frustration. The term scapegoat comes from a biblical guilt-transference ritual in which a group's sins are conveyed to a goat, which then is sent out into the wilderness, taking the sins along.
Scapegoating might look like this in action: Group 1 interferes with group 2, and group 2 should respond by retaliating against group 1. If, however, group 1 is extremely powerful, too distant, or too difficult to locate, group 2 may respond by turning its aggression on group 3. Group 3, although in no way responsible for the difficulties group 2 experienced, nonetheless would be blamed and thereby become the target of group 2's aggressive actions. Stereotypes of certain outgroups can create a continual scapegoat that is blamed for all problems and difficulties, no matter what their origins.
People who are stereotyped are affected not only by the increased possibility of being treated unfairly by those holding the stereotypes, but also by the possibility of accepting the stereotype themselves. In other words, people who are stereotyped might come to accept the stereotype and believe it, modifying their behaviors and actions to fit the stereotype. When a widely known negative stereotype (e.g., poor intellectual ability) exists about a group, it creates for its members a burden of suspicion that acts as a threat. This threat arises whenever individuals' behavior can be interpreted in terms of a stereotype, that is, whenever group members run the risk of confirming the stereotype.
Why Do Stereotypes Endure?
Steele and Aronson (1995), in studying stereotype threat, found that negative stereotypes about blacks' intellectual ability created a "situational pressure" that distracted black students and depressed their academic performance. They suggest that stereotype threat is the reason for the underachievement of black students. Seventy percent of black college students drop out of college (as opposed to about 35% of white students), and the dropout rate is the highest among black students ranked in the top third by SAT scores. In addition, black students with the highest SAT scores fail more frequently than black students with lower scores and at a rate more than three times that of whites with similar scores. When blacks are placed in achievement situations, the negative stereotypes are activated and black students become more self-conscious and work less efficiently. Similar findings were reported on a study of lower-class individuals (Croizet & Claire, 1998). Stereotype threat is eliminated in programs such as the University of Michigan's Twenty-First Century Program, where black and white students are randomly recruited, live together, study together cooperatively, and have personal discussions on social issues.
As the program at the University of Michigan suggests, stereotypes can be changed.
The more personal information you have about someone, the less likely you are to stereotype him or her. The more time and energy you have to consider the person's characteristics and behavior, the less you stereotype. The more motivated you are to form an accurate impression of someone, the less you stereotype. The more you perceive that individualized person to be typical of the stereotyped group, the more your interaction changes your stereotypes. What these factors indicate is that in order for stereotypes to change, members of different groups need to interact for prolonged periods of time under conditions in which they get to know one another personally and see one another as being typical members of their group.
Prejudice and Discrimination
To know one's self is wisdom, but to know one's neighbor is genius.
To be prejudiced means, literally, to prejudge. Prejudice can be defined as an unjustified negative attitude toward a person based solely on that individual's membership in a group other than one's own. Stereotypes taken to extremes, prejudices are judgments made about others that establish a superiority/inferiority belief system. If one person dislikes another simply because that other person is a member of a different ethnic group, sex, religion, or other group, we are dealing with prejudice.
Ethnocentrism is the tendency to regard one's own ethnic group, nation, religion, or culture as better or more "correct" than others. The word is derived from ethnic, meaning a group united by similar customs, characteristics, race, or other common factors, and center. When ethnocentrism is present, the standards and values of our culture are used as a yardstick to measure the worth of other ethnic groups. Ethnocentrism often is perpetuated by cultural conditioning. As children we are raised to fit into a particular culture. We are conditioned to respond to various situations as we see others in our culture react. Based on that conditioning, when we encounter someone from outside that culture, we may react negatively to his or her ways of doing things.
Related to ethnocentrism, racism is prejudice directed at people because of their race or ethnic membership. Science indicates that only one human race exists, with many variations, but many people assume biological differences exist as evidenced by physical appearances. Although race has dubious value as a scientific classification system, it has had real consequences for the life experiences and life opportunities of many nonwhite groups. Race has taken on social meaning suggesting one's status within the social system. This status structure introduces power differences as people of different races interact with one another.
Overall, prejudices deal with the formation of unfounded and often inaccurate opinions about a group, leading to biased behavior against members of that group. Other common forms of prejudice are sexism, prejudice directed at someone because of his or her gender, and ageism, prejudice against the elderly. Many other types of "isms" can be located in our society; they can be based on anything from physical appearance to religious beliefs.
Traditionally, in the United States, racism, sexism, and other prejudices were expressed through statements that indicated such views merely reflected the "natural world order." Examples include, "Blacks are not as smart as whites" and "Women are too emotional to be good managers." The negative evaluations these types of statements represented were the foundation of institutional and societal measures that preserved separation of groups and social injustice.
Beginning with the civil rights movement in the 1960s, however, much work has been put into making people see one another as individuals, not as members of an ethnic, gender, or other type of group. To a certain extent, much progress has been made on this front. On the other hand, the concept of modem racism posits that if we scratch the apparently nonracist surface of many people, we often find bigotry lurking beneath.
Modem racism and sexism camouflage prejudices within more sophisticated language, but the basic beliefs are the same, as evidenced by such statements as "Blacks and women have gone too far; they are pushing for jobs they do not deserve" (Swim, Aikin, Hall, & Hunter, 1995). Racism arises in the modern era because people can see themselves as being fair, humanitarian, and egalitarian while at the same time holding a somewhat negative view of members of groups other than their own.
Having prejudiced thoughts, however, does not necessarily make you a racist (Devine, Monteith, Zuwerink, & Elliot, 1991). Even those who completely reject prejudice may sometimes experience unintentional prejudice, including thoughts and feelings based on prior learning or experiences. In this case, racism is like a lingering bad habit that surfaces despite people's best efforts to avoid it. As with all bad habits, with enough commitment and support, racism can be eradicated.
When prejudice is acted on, it is discrimination. Discrimination is an action taken to harm a group or any of its members. It is a negative, often aggressive action aimed at the target of prejudice. Discrimination is aimed at denying members of the targeted groups treatment and opportunities equal to those afforded to the dominant group.
To reduce your prejudices, use of stereotypes, and potential to discriminate, the following steps may be helpful (Johnson & Johnson, 1999b):
1. Admit that you have prejudices (everyone does ; you are no exception) and commit yourself to reducing them.
2. Identify the stereotypes that reflect your prejudices and modify them.
3. Identify the actions that reflect your prejudices and modify them.
4. Seek feedback from diverse friends and colleagues about how well you are valuing and communicating respect for diversity.
Blaming the Victim and Attribution Theory
Many people believe the world is a just place where people generally get what they deserve. If you win the lottery, it must be because you are a nice person who deserves some good luck. If you are robbed, it must be because you were careless and wanted to be punished for past misdeeds. Any person who is mugged in a dark alley while carrying a great deal of cash may be seen as "asking to be robbed." Relatedly, most people tend to believe that they deserve what happens to them. Victims of violence, for example, often believe they "deserved" to be attacked because of some misdeed on their part.
It is all too easy to forget that victims do not have the benefit of hindsight to guide their actions in the moment, however.
So what happens when situations appear to be unjust? One method is to blame the victim by convincing ourselves that no injustice has occurred. When someone is a victim of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination, all too often he or she is seen as "doing something wrong." Blaming the victim occurs when we attribute the cause of discrimination or misfortune to the personal characteristics and actions of the victim.
The situation is examined for potential causes that enable us to maintain our belief in a just world. If the victim can be blamed for causing the discrimination, then we can believe the future is predictable and controllable because everyone gets what he or she deserves.
Blaming the victim occurs as we try to attribute a cause to events. We constantly interpret the meaning of our behavior and events that occur in our lives. Many times we want to figure out why we acted in a particular way or why a certain outcome occurred. If we get angry when someone infers we are stupid but not when someone calls us "clumsy," we want to know why we are so sensitive about our intelligence.
When we are standing on a street corner after a rainstorm and a car splashes us with water, we want to know whether it was caused by our carelessness, the driver's meanness, or just bad luck.
This process of explaining or inferring the causes of events has been termed causal attribution. An attribution is an inference drawn about the causes of a behavior or event.
Any behavior or event can have a variety of possible causes. We observe the behavior or event and then infer the cause. When our boss criticizes our work, for example, we can attribute his or her behavior to a grouchy mood, being under too much pressure, disliking us, or the sloppiness of our work.
Causal attribution begins early in childhood, when we begin observing our own behavior and drawing conclusions about ourselves. We seem to have a fundamental need to understand both our own behavior and the behavior of others. In trying to understand why a behavior or event occurred, we generally choose to attribute causes either to internal personal factors or external situational factors. Internal personal factors are such things as effort and ability, while external situational factors include luck, task difficulty, or the behavior/personality of other people. For example, if you do well on a test, you can attribute it to your hard work and great intelligence (an internal attribution) or to the fact that the test was incredibly easy (an external attribution). When a friend drops out of school, you can attribute it to a lack of motivation (an internal attribution) or a lack of money (an external attribution).
People make causal attributions to explain their successes and failures. Frequently such attributions are self-serving, designed to permit us to take credit for positive outcomes and to avoid blame for negative ones. We have a systematic tendency to claim that our successes are due to our ability and efforts, whereas our failures are due to bad luck, obstructive people, or task difficulty. We also have a systematic tendency to claim responsibility for the success of group efforts ("It was all my idea in the first place, and I did most of the work") and avoid responsibility for group failures ("If the other members had tried harder, this would not have happened").
Another common barrier to interacting effectively with diverse group mates is cultural clashes. A culture clash is a conflict over basic a value that occurs among individuals from different cultures. The most common form occurs when members of minority groups question the values of the majority. Common reactions by majority-group members when their values are being questioned are feeling:
1. Threatened: Their responses include avoidance, denial, and defensiveness.
2. Confused: Their responses include seeking more information in an attempt to redefine the problem.
3. Enhanced: Their responses include heightened anticipation, awareness, and positive actions that lead to solving the problem.
Many cultural clashes develop in and between groups. These clashes range from threatening to confuse to enhancing. When handled properly, cultural clashes are another form of conflict; they can serve as learning experiences rather than barriers.
As prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination arc reduced, the tendency to blame the victim is avoided, and cultural clashes become enhancing rather than threatening experiences. At this point, the stage is set for everyone to recognize and value diversity
Guidelines for Dealing with Diversity
1. Recognize that diversity among members is ever present and unavoidable.
2. Recognize that the more interdependent the world becomes, the more important it is to be able to work effectively with diverse group mates.
3. Maximize heterogeneity among members in both personal characteristics and abilities in order to maximize the group's productivity and success.
4. With heterogeneous membership comes increased conflict. Structure constructive procedures for managing conflicts among group members.
5. Identify and eliminate barriers to the utilization of diversity (stereotyping, prejudice, blaming the victim, cultural clashes).
6. Ensure that diversity is utilized as a resource by strengthening the positive interdependence within the group in order to create a context in which diversity is a resource, not a hindrance.
7. Ensure that diversity is utilized as a strength by uniting the personal identities of members of diverse groups. Create a superordinate identity based on a pluralistic set of values. Encourage individuals to develop
a. An appreciation for their gender, religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.
b. An appreciation for the gender, religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds of other group members.
c. A strong superordinate identity of "group member" that transcends the differences among members.
d. A pluralistic set of values concerning equality, freedom, the rights of individual members, and the responsibilities of group membership.
8. Ensure that diversity is utilized as a strength by fostering personal relationships among members that allow for candid discussions that increase members' sophistication about their differences.
9. Ensure that diversity is utilized as a strength by clarifying miscommunications among diverse group members.
MAKING MEMBER DIVERSITY A STRENGTH
Diversity among members in any group is a potential source of creativity and productivity. For group members to capitalize on their differences, they must
1. Ensure that a high level of positive interdependence exists among group members.
2. Create a superordinate group identity that (a) unites the diverse personal identities of group members and (b) is based on a pluralistic set of values.
3. Gain sophistication about the differences among members through personal relationships that allow for candid discussions.
4. Clarify miscommunications among group members from different cultures, ethnic and historical backgrounds, social classes, genders, age cohorts, and so forth.
Structuring and strengthening positive interdependence is discussed thoroughly in Chapter 3, so here we discuss the subsequent steps a group must take in order to make diversity work for rather than against them.
Creating a Superordinate Group Identity
Diverse individuals from different gender, religious, social class, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds come together in small group settings. The results can be positive if group members get to know one another, appreciate and value the vitality of diversity, and learn how to use their diversity for creative problem solving and enhanced productivity. In order for these measures to be taken, group members must internalize a common super ordinate identity that binds them all together. That is, they must arrive at a single group identity that while larger than any individual member also encompasses all of the diversity present in the group. It is the creation of one from many.
Creating an Unum (one) from pluribus (many) is done in four steps. First, group members must have an appreciation for their own historic, cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds as well as their other important personal characteristics. Members should value and recognize the culture, history, and homeland of their ancestors as part of their personal identities. A personal identity is a consistent set of attitudes that defines "who you are" (see Johnson  for a full discussion on developing a personal identity). An identity helps a person cope with stress, provides stability and consistency to the person's life, and directs what information is attended to, how it is organized, and how it is remembered. A personal identity consists of multiple sub identities that are organized into a coherent, stable, and integrated whole. The sub identities include a gender identity (fundamental sense of maleness or femaleness), a cultural identity (sense of origins and membership in a culture), an ethnic identity (sense of belonging to one particular ethnic group), a religious identity (sense of belonging to one particular religious group), and so forth. Each of these sub identities should be recognized and valued, and they need to be organized into a coherent, stable, and integrated overall sense of self. Respect for one's sub identities may be the basis for self-respect.
Second, group members develop an appreciation for the historic, cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds and other important personal characteristics of other group members. A critical aspect of developing a historical, cultural, and ethnic identity is whether ethnocentricity is inherent in one's definition of oneself. A personal identity that includes one's heritage must be developed in a way that does not lead to rejecting the heritages of other people. The degree to which a group member's identity leads to respect for and valuing of other members' diversity depends on developing a super ordinate identity that subsumes both one's own heritage and the heritage of all other group members. Members need to learn how to express respect for diverse backgrounds and value them as a resource that increases the quality of life and adds to the viability of the group.
Third, encourage members to develop a strong super ordinate identity of "group member" that transcends the differences among members. Being a member of a work group is decided by circumstance rather than by ancestry or religion. The work group unites widely diverse people. In essence, the work group has its own culture that supersedes the individual cultures of members. Members need to learn how to highlight the group's super ordinate identity and use it to resolve conflicts based on members' differences.
Fourth, group members adopt a pluralistic set of values concerning democracy, freedom, liberty, equality, justice, the rights of individuals, and the responsibilities of citizenship. All members have a say in how the group operates. All members are free to speak their minds and give their opinions. All members are considered to be of equal value. Every member has the right and responsibility to contribute his or her resources and efforts toward achieving the group's goals. Each member has a right to expect the group to be considerate of his or her needs and wants. All members must at times put the good of the group above their own needs and desires. It is these values that form the group or organizational culture. In the group, members must respect basic human rights, listen to dissenters instead of rejecting them, have freedom of speech, and have open discussion of differences. It is these values that hind group members together. Most groups are or will become a multicultural unit knitted together by a common set of values.
Gaining Sophistication through Intergroup Relationships
Some people are sophisticated about how to act appropriately within many different cultures and perspectives ; they are courteous, well-mannered, and refined. Other people are quite provincial, knowing how to act appropriately only within their narrow perspective.
To become sophisticated, a person must be able to see the situation from the cultural perspective of the other people involved. Much of the information available about different cultural and ethnic heritages and perspectives cannot be attained by reading books and listening to lectures. Only by knowing, working with, and personally interacting with members of diverse groups can individuals really learn to value diversity, utilize diversity for creative problem solving, and work effectively with diverse peers.
To gain the sophistication and skills required to build relationships with diverse peers, you need to develop relationships with people from a wide variety of cultural, ethnic, social class, and historical backgrounds. Many aspects of relating to individuals different from you are learned only from friends who are candid about misunderstandings you inadvertently are creating. To gain the necessary sophistication and skills to relate to, work with, and become friends with diverse peers, you need
1. Actual interaction: Seek opportunities to interact with a wide variety of peers.
You do so because you value diversity, recognize the importance of relating effectively to diverse peers, and recognize the importance of increasing your knowledge of multicultural issues.
2. Thist: Build trust by being open about yourself and your commitment to cross-cultural relationships and by being trustworthy when others share their opinions and reactions with you. Being trustworthy includes expressing respect for diverse backgrounds and valuing them as a resource that increases the quality of your life and adds to the viability of your society.
3. Candor: Persuade your peers to be candid by openly discussing their personal opinions, feelings, and reactions with you. Sometimes events or language that seem neutral to you is offensive and hurtful to individuals from backgrounds different from yours. In order to understand what is and is not disrespectful and hurtful, your peers must be candid about their reactions and explain them to you.
If you are not sophisticated and skilled in building relationships with diverse peers, you are in danger of colluding with current patterns of discrimination. Collusion is conscious and unconscious reinforcement of stereotypic attitudes, behaviors, and prevailing norms. People collude with discriminatory practices and prejudiced actions through ignorance, silence, denial, and active support. Perhaps the only way not to collude with existing discriminatory practices is to build friendships with diverse peers that allow you to understand when discrimination and prejudice occur.
Imagine that you and several friends went to hear a speaker. Although the content was good and the delivery entertaining, two of your friends walked out in protest. When you asked them why, they called your attention to the facts that the speaker continually used "you guys" even though half the audience were women, used only sports and military examples, quoted only men, and joked about senility and old age. Your friends were insulted.
Communication is one of the most complex aspects of managing relationships with diverse peers. To communicate effectively with people from different cultural, ethnic, social class, and historical backgrounds, you must increase your
1. Language sensitivity. Knowledge
of words and expressions appropriate and inappropriate for communicating with diverse groups.
The use of language can play a powerful role in reinforcing stereotypes and garbling communication. To avoid this, individuals need to heighten their sensitivity and avoid using terms and expressions that ignore or devalue others.
2. Awareness of stylistic elements of communication. Knowledge of the key elements of communication style and how diverse cultures use these elements to communicate. Without awareness of nuances in language and differences in style, the potential for garbled communication is enormous when interacting with diverse peers.
Your ability to communicate with credibility to diverse peers is closely linked to your use of language. You must be sophisticated enough to anticipate how your messages will be interpreted by the listener. If you are unaware of nuances and innuendoes contained in your message, then you are more likely to miscommunication. The words you choose often tell other people more about your values, attitudes, and socialization than you intend to reveal. Receivers react to the subtleties conveyed and interpret the implied messages behind your words. The first step in establishing relationships with diverse peers, therefore, is to understand how language reinforces stereotypes and to adjust your usage accordingly.
You never can predict with certainty how every person is going to react to what you say. You can, however, minimize the possibility of miscommunications by following some basic guidelines:
1. Use all the communication skills discussed in this book and in Johnson (2006).
2. Negotiate for meaning whenever you think the other person you are talking with misinterpreted what you said.
3. Use words that are inclusive (e.g., women, men, participants) rather than exclusive.
4. Avoid adjectives that spotlight specific groups and imply that the individual is an exception, such as black doctor, woman pilot, older teacher, or blind lawyer.
5. Use quotations, references, metaphors, and analogies that reflect diversity and are from diverse sources-for example, from Asian and African as well as European and American sources.
6. Avoid terms that define, demean, or devalue others, such as cripple, girl, boy, or agitator.
7. Be aware of the genealogy of words viewed as inappropriate by others. The connotations the receiver places on your words are what count, not your own connotations. These connotations change over time, so continual clarification is needed. Some words that seem neutral to one person may be "loaded" or highly judgmental to people of diverse backgrounds. The word lady, for example, was a compliment some years ago, but today it fails to take into account women's independence and equal status in society and, therefore, is offensive to many women. Words such as girls and gals are just as offensive.
In our increasingly global community, highly diverse individuals interact daily, studying, working, and playing together in small groups. Rapidly growing global interdependence and the increasing emphasis on teamwork result in groups with quite diverse membership. Diversity among members is no longer exceptional or optional; it is the everyday rule. You will be expected to interact effectively with people with a wide variety of characteristics and backgrounds. Doing so has many advantages, including increased group productivity on a variety of tasks. Heterogeneity in groups also increases the difficulty of developing cohesive relationships among members and increases the potential for conflicts among members. Diversity among members is advantageous, but it is not easy to manage.
Accepting others begins with accepting yourself (see Johnson  for a thorough discussion of self-acceptance). But even for individuals who are quite accepting of themselves and others, there are barriers to building positive relationships with diverse peers.
The most notable barriers are prejudice, blaming the victim, and culture clash. Minimizing these barriers makes it easier to recognize that diversity exists and that fundamental differences among people are to be both respected and valued.
For group members to capitalize on their differences, they must ensure that a high level of positive interdependence exists among group members; highlight important mutual goals that require cooperative action and develop a common ground on which everyone is co-oriented. They also must create a super ordinate group identity that unites the diverse personal identities of group members. The super ordinate group identity should be based on a pluralistic set of values, and it should enable members to gain sophistication about the differences among members through personal relationships that have sufficient trust to allow for candid discussions. Finally, the super ordinate identity should help clarify miscommunications that arise when group members from different cultures, ethnic and historical backgrounds, social classes, genders, age cohorts, and so forth work together.