Johnson, David W., 1940-
Joining together : group theory and group skills / David W. Johnson, Frank
P. Johnson.— 10th ed.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Social groups. 2. Leadership. 3. Group relations training. I.
Johnson, Frank P. (Frank Pierce), 1935- II. Title.
The first half of this chapter discussed the nature of conflicts among individuals within groups and ways to manage them. The groups to which we belong interact with other groups and sometimes conflicts arise. Knowing how to manage conflicts among groups is equally as important as knowing how to deal with conflicts among individuals.
About 1260 sac., one of the great intergroup conflicts in history occurred between the powerful Greek king of Sparta (Menelaus) and his allies and Paris from the city of Troy.
During the ten-year war Troy was destroyed and Greece lost some of its greatest warriors and kings. It took another ten years for one of the Greek heroes (Odysseus) to get home.
The conflict was over Helen (the most beautiful woman in the world at the time). It began at the wedding of Peleus, a mortal king, and Thetis, an immortal sea-nymph. During the ceremony the goddess Eris (goddess of strife and discord) appeared. Angered that she was not invited to the wedding, Eris left a golden apple that she proclaimed would go to the most beautiful goddess. This understandably created a conflict. Hera (supreme goddess of heaven), Athena (goddess of wisdom), and Aphrodite (goddess of love) all were convinced that they were the most beautiful goddess. They began to argue, and the argument raged until Zeus stepped in and ordered that Paris, the son of Priam, the king of Troy, decide.
Each of the three goddesses offered Paris a bribe. Hera promised to make him ruler of the entire world if he named her the most beautiful, Athena offered him glory in war, and Aphrodite offered him the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen. Paris chose Aphrodite's offer and named her the most beautiful of the goddesses.
Paris then set sail for Greece to claim his prize. The problem was that Helen was already married to the powerful Greek king of Sparta, Menelaus. Because of Helen's beauty, when Menelaus was courting her, virtually every unmarried Greek male wanted her for his wife. Helen's father, realizing that no matter whom he chose to wed his daughter the others would feel slighted and would very likely seek revenge, consulted the advice of Odysseus (who was famed for his cleverness) and made each of Helen's suitors swear an oath that he would defend the marriage, no matter who won her hand, and that if she was ever carried off, he would aid in getting her back. When Paris arrived at the palace of Menelaus he was given food, shelter, and gifts according the rules of hospitality. When Menelaus left, however, Paris and Helen—who was irresistibly attracted to him, thanks to Aphrodite—eloped to Troy. When Menelaus returned to find his wife taken he invoked the suitors' oaths, and began preparations for a huge invasion force to win back Helen. The Trojan War was the result.
The classic studies on intergroup conflict were conducted by Muzafer Sherif and
Robert Blake. Intergroup conflict is based on a distinction between "us" and "them."
Perhaps the most famous intergroup conflict theory, however, is contact theory. In order to resolve intergroup conflicts, furthermore, it may be necessary to awaken a sense of injustice or to seek mediation. Each of these topics is discussed in this chapter.
Sherif's Studies of Intergroup Conflict
Among the social scientists who have worked to develop an intergroup conflict theory, the two most successful historically are Muzafer Sherif and Robert Blake. Perhaps the best-known studies of intergroup conflict were performed under the direction of Muzafer Sherif (Sherif, Harvey, White, Hood, & Sherif, 1988). Sherif was born in 1906 in Izmir, Thrkey. After attending Izmir International College, he studied at the University of Istanbul, receiving a master's degree in 1928. Awarded a fellowship in national competition for study abroad, he went to Harvard University in 1929, receiving another master's degree in 1932, and then traveled to Germany, where he attended Kohler's lectures at the University of Berlin. He then taught in Turkey, returned to Harvard to conduct research, and subsequently studied at Columbia University (1934-1936), where he received a PhD in 1935. His dissertation was published as a book, The Psychology of Group Norms (discussed in Chapter 1). He studied in Paris, and then taught in Thrkey until January 1945, when he returned to the United States. After teaching at both Princeton and Yale, he became director of the Institute of Group Relations at the University of Oklahoma, a position he held from 1949 to 1966. In 1966 he moved to Pennsylvania State University. It was during the years he spent at Oklahoma that he conducted his famous research on intergroup conflict and super ordinate goals.
To study intergroup conflict and its resolution, Sherif and his students and colleagues ran a summer camp in the early 1950s. Initially, they selected twenty-two well adjusted, white fifth grade (twelve-year-old) boys, with above average intelligence, average to good school performance, and Protestant, middle-class, two-parent family backgrounds. All the boys attended different schools in the Oklahoma City area and did not know one another prior to the study. The researchers then split the boys into two essentially identical groups and sent them to camp at Robbers Cave State Park in rural Oklahoma. The camp setting, isolated from outside influences, afforded the experimenters a unique opportunity to control the interaction among the camp members.
For the first few days, each group engaged in typical camp activities, such as sports, hiking, and swimming. Daily activities were structured so that the group members had to work together to achieve desired goals (the food, for example, needed to be cooked over a campfire and distributed among the group members). The groups quickly developed leaders, norms, favorite activities, and even names (the Rattlers and the Eagles).
The researchers began a four-day tournament of baseball games, tug-of-war, touch football, tent pitching, a treasure hunt, and cabin inspections. The winning group received a trophy, individual medals, and highly appealing camping knives. The losing group got nothing. Animosity between the two groups began during the first baseball game and escalated throughout the competition. The Eagles burned the Rattlers' flag; the Rattlers raided the Eagles' cabin, turning over beds and scattering possessions.
Derogatory name-calling became frequent and intense. There were several fistfights.
Eventually the two groups were having food fights, throwing mashed potatoes, leftovers, bottle caps, and the like in the dining hall. The Eagles won, and while they were celebrating the Rattlers raided their cabin and stole the camping knives. The researchers then had to physically separate the groups to avoid a full-scale fight. After a cooling-off period in which the groups were kept apart for two days, the boys rated the characteristics of each group. Campers rated members of their own group as brave, tough, and friendly, and members of the other group as sneaky, smart-alecky stinkers.
Several different methods of reducing the conflict between the groups were then tested. To find out the effects of social contact between groups on intergroup conflict, Sherif devised several pleasant situations in which members of the rival groups interacted with one another. These situations included eating together in the same dining room, watching a movie together, and shooting firecrackers in the same area. These contact situations had no effect in reducing intergroup conflict. If anything, they were utilized by members of both groups as opportunities for further name-calling and other forms of conflict. Sherif concluded that contact between groups in pleasant situations does not in itself decrease existing intergroup tension.
The next strategy was the establishment of a common enemy. A softball game was arranged in which the two groups joined together to play against a group of boys from a nearby town. The experience did reduce some of the hostility between the two camp groups, but the conflict was simply transferred to the town team. Sherif concluded that bringing some groups together against common enemy results in larger and more devastating conflicts in the long run.
Sherif hypothesized that contact between the rival groups would resolve the conflict only when the groups came together to work cooperatively toward goals that were more important to the groups than the continuation of their conflict. Since cooperation toward common goals had been effective in forming the two ingroups, Sherif reasoned, it would be effective in reducing the conflict between the groups. Sherif therefore arranged a series of super ordinate-goal situations for the two antagonistic groups of campers to engage in. He defined superordinate goals as goals that cannot be easily ignored by members of two antagonistic groups, but whose attainment is beyond the resources and efforts of either group alone; the two groups, therefore, must join in a cooperative effort in order to attain the goals. One such goal was to repair the water supply system, which the experimenters had earlier sabotaged. Another was to obtain money to rent a movie that both groups wanted to see. Still another was to push a truck to get it started after it had suddenly broken down on its way to a camp-out with food.
After the campers had participated in a series of such activities their attitude toward members of the out group changed; several friendships among members of different groups were formed, members of the rival group were no longer disliked, and the friction between the groups disappeared.
The characteristics of the super ordinate goals introduced by Sherif and his associates in their studies were as follows:
1. They were introduced by a more powerful third party (the experimenters).
2. They were perceived by campers to be natural events in no way identified with the third party.
3. They were not perceived by the two groups of campers as being aimed at resolving the conflict.
4. They transcended the conflict situation and restructured the competitive relationship between the groups into a cooperative one.
In most conflict situations such super ordinate goals are not feasible alternatives. A third party, for example, rarely had the power to initiate goals with the above characteristics. Nor could a participant in a conflict easily initiate such a goal in an attempt to resolve the conflict. Sherif's (1966) studies provide clear documentation that compelling cooperative goals will resolve intergroup conflict and produce friendly relationships among members of the previously conflicting groups. The cooperative goals in Sherif's studies, however, were presented to the campers as acts of God or natural disasters (the truck just happened to break down, the water system just happened to stop working).
Johnson and Lucky (1969) compared the effects of two types of super ordinate cooperative goals on the resolution of intergroup conflict. In one condition, the super ordinate goal appeared to be an act of God, and in the other condition the super ordinate goal was introduced by one of the groups engaged in the conflict as a means of resolving the conflict. The act-of-God cooperative goal did in fact resolve the intergroup conflict. In the second condition, however, the opposing group refused to accept the super ordinate cooperative goal; they perceived it as part of a competitive strategy aimed at furthering the initiating group's vested interests. Thus, to be effective in resolving intergroup conflict, cooperative goals may have to be presented by a third-party or appear to be natural disasters independent of the parties involved in the conflict.
Blake and Mouton Studies of Intergroup Conflict
Following up on Sherif's work with children, Robert Blake and Jane Mouton (1962, 1983) conducted a series of studies with adult businessmen on the nature of intergroup conflicts and ways in which they can be managed effectively. They focused on the dynamics of intergroup conflict within and between groups before, during, and after the conflict. The results of their many studies may be summarized as follows.
Within groups, intergroup conflict tends to increase group cohesion as members join together to defend their group. Members become more loyal and put aside their conflicts with one another. Militant leaders take control, and group members become more willing to accept autocratic leadership. Maintenance needs become secondary to task needs, and the group becomes more tightly structured and organized. Conformity is demanded; a "solid front" must be presented.
Between groups, hostility tends to develop. The opposing group and its positions are belittled and devalued. Each sees the other as the enemy. Inaccurate and uncomplimentary stereotypes form. Each group sees only the best parts of itself and the worst parts of the other group. Interaction and communication decrease between members of the conflicting groups. They misperceive and fail to listen carefully to the other group's position. Group members tend to listen only to what supports their own position and stereotypes.
During negotiations, a win-lose approach tends to be taken. The result is distortions of judgment about the merits of the positions; one’s position is seen more favor- ably than the opposing group's position. Negotiators tend to be blind to points of agreement between their own and the other side's positions, and they tend to emphasize the differences. The win-lose approach to negotiations results in the hero-traitor dynamic—the negotiator who wins is seen as a hero and the one who loses is viewed as a traitor. When a neutral third party decides who is right and who is wrong, the winner considers the third party to be impartial and objective; the loser views the third party as biased and thoughtless. Each side sees itself as objective and rational and the other side as unjust and irrational. The common result of win-lose negotiations is deadlock.
After negotiations, the group that wins tends to become even more cohesive and self- satisfied. The leadership that was responsible for the victory is consolidated. Winning con- firms members' positive stereotype of their own group and negative stereotype of the other group. There is little motivation to improve group effectiveness. The losing group frequently splinters (bringing unresolved conflicts among members to the surface), seeks the reasons for its defeat, reorganizes, and works even harder. The group often seeks someone to blame for the defeat and replaces the leadership responsible for the loss. If future victories seem impossible, members may become completely demoralized and assume a defeatist, apathetic attitude toward the group. The losing group is likely to reorganize and become more cohesive and effective once it has accepted the loss realistically.
Blake and Mouton (1983) emphasize that those who use this procedure must avoid three traps that tend to escalate the conflict: (1) the win—lose dynamic of seeing every action of the other group as a move to dominate, create an advantage, or win, (2) the psychodynamic fallacy of seeing the motivation for the behavior of another group in terms of personality factors rather than the dynamics of intergroup conflict, and (3) the self-fulfilling prophecy of seeing the other group as belligerent, engaging in hostile behavior in an attempt to defend itself by mounting a good offense, thereby provoking belligerence on the part of the other group, which confirms the original assumption.
Intergroup Confrontation (I)
This procedure was developed by Blake and Mouton (1962). It has been used successfully in intergroup conflicts in a variety of organizations for every type of intergroup conflict you can imagine. Its purpose is to change the win—lose orientation to a problem-solving orientation. This exercise takes at least two hours to conduct (Blake and Mouton usually took about twenty hours to use the procedure in actual union—management conflicts).
1. Introduce the exercise as an experience in resolving conflicts between two or more groups. The objective is to change a win—lose to a problem-solving orientation. Discuss the previous success Blake and Mouton have had with the procedure in difficult union—management conflicts. Use the accompanying descriptions of a union—management conflict to set up a role play that participants can use in the exercise.
2. Each group meets separately and develops on newsprint (a) how it sees itself as a group and (b) how it sees the other group. Allow the groups at least thirty minutes to complete this task.
3. The two groups come together and share their descriptions. They compare how each side sees itself with how the other group sees it. Often each group sees the other as unreasonable, unethical, and unwilling to cooperate, while seeing itself as extraordinarily reasonable, ethical, and cooperative. The differences in the perception of how each group sees the other group are then clarified.
4. The two groups meet separately for twenty minutes to diagnose their present relationship. They should answer such questions as "What problems exist?" "Why aren't the problems being constructively solved?" "What does the other group contribute to the conflict?" "What does one's own group contribute to the conflict?" The groups should write down this material on newsprint to share with the other group.
5. The groups meet together to share their diagnoses. They summarize the key issues causing the conflicts and the main sources of friction. The two groups should keep the integrative, problem-solving negotiation procedure in mind as they plan the next steps in resolving their conflict.
6. The two groups assess their reactions to the exercise and summarize what they have learned about resolving intergroup conflict. Conclusions about preventing intergroup conflict should also be presented and discussed.
The union in a midsized manufacturing company has asked the management for across the-board increases in pay and fringe benefits. The management has refused to meet what it considers excessive demands and has made an offer that the union leadership considers unacceptable. Still without a contract agreement at midnight of the day before the old contract expires, the union has voted to go on strike and remain on strike until a satisfactory agreement is reached. Divide into union and management groups and carry out the procedure.
Distinction between "Us" and "Them"
Humans tend to see the world in an "us-versus-them" framework. If you selected ten people at random and randomly divided them into two groups of five, they would quickly begin to compete with the other group, value their own group more than other groups and discriminate in favor of it, and depersonalize the members of other groups.
Intergroup Competition. When two groups are placed in the same room and given unrelated tasks, they often quickly begin to compete with one another (Johnson & Johnson, 1989). One explanation for this effect is social dominance orientation, which is the extent to which a person wants his or her own group to dominate and be superior to other groups (Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth, & Malle, 1994 ; Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). Individuals with a strong dominance orientation believe that superior groups (very often their own) ought to be healthier and more powerful. Being a member of a dominant group, or even being temporarily assigned a position of power over others, tends to create or enhance the belief that those who are better off deserve more than those who are not (e.g., Guimond, Dambrun, Michinov, & Duarte, 2003). Social dominance orientation, furthermore, is related to increased ethnic, gender, social class, and cultural prejudices (Pratto, Lio, Levin, Sidanius, Shih, & Bachrach, 1998 ; Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth, & Malle, 1994). Intergroup competition and social dominance orientation may be especially strong during economic rough times. When economic times were difficult, white Southerners in the United States lynched more blacks (Hepworth & West, 1988 ; Hovland & Sears, 1940), and whites in the North engaged in more violence toward blacks and immigrant Chinese (Olzak, 1992). Indeed, people direct their hostilities toward those groups they see themselves competing with at the moment (Pettigrew & Meertens, 1995). Because economic competition in different countries and localities involves different groups, each society possesses a somewhat distinct set of cultural stereotypes and prejudices.
Unfortunately, competition and hostility breed increased competition and hostility. Competition can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As people view others as competitors, they themselves begin to compete, inadvertently bringing about or amplifying the competition they initially feared (Kelley & Stahelski, 1970). The competition may spiral into more and more intense situations as those involved become more and more convinced of the malicious intent of the competing group. Intergroup competition may be especially self-fulfilling, since groups compete more intensely against one another for resources than do individuals (Schopler et al., 2001).
Ingroups-Outgroup Bias. Intergroup contact often produces an ingroup-outgroup bias, in which we hold more favorable views of groups to which we belong and less favorable opinions of groups to which we do not belong (Lindeman, 1997; Mullen, Brown, & Smith, 1992; Perdue, Dovidio, Gutman, & Tyler, 1990; Tajfel, 1982a, 1982b). People tend to reward members of their own group at the expense of members of other groups and attribute more positive personality traits to members of the ingroup. Ingroup bias often is accompanied by the out-group homogeneity bias, or the belief that there is less variability among the members of outgroups than within one's own ingroup (Linville, Fisher, & Salovey, 1989). In other words, we all are unique individuals in this group ; in that group they are all the same. Outgroup homogeneity bias depersonalizes the members of the out-group and lumps them all in the same category.
The bias against outgroups tends to be even stronger when outgroups have very obvious and salient differences from ingroups. Ingroup bias, however, may be created by either antipathy ("hate") toward outgroups or affinity ("love") for the ingroup (Brewer, 2001). Love of the ingroup does not necessarily promote derogation of outgroups. It may be that it is only when the groups see themselves as competing for common resources that the in-group-outgroup bias results.
Social Identity and Social Categorization Theories. Two theories focus on intergroup competition, ingroup bias, and outgroup homogeneity: social identity and social categorization theories. Social identity theory, formulated by Henri Tajfel (1982a) and John Turner (1987), is based on the hypothesis that individuals seek a positively valued distinctiveness for their own groups compared with other groups to achieve a positive social identity (Figure 9.6). Social identity is the individual's knowledge that he or she belongs to social groups that have significance to the individual (Tajfel, 1982a). According to social identity theory, people strive to enhance their self-esteem, which has two components: a personal identity and the various social identities derived from the groups to which they belong (Tajfel, 1974; Tajfel & Turner, 1986; Turner, Pratkanis, Probasco, & Leve, 1992). Thus, people may boost their self-esteem by viewing their ingroups more favorably than they view outgroups to which they do not belong. In other words, our quest for a positive social identity leads us to inflate the positive aspects of the group to which we belong and belittle groups to which we do not belong (Tajfel, 1974; Tajfel & Turner, 1986; Turner, Pratkanis, Probasco, & Leve, 1992). When a group is successful, members' self-esteem can rise, and conversely, when members' self-esteem is threatened, they feel a heightened need for ingroup favoritism, which in turn enhances their self-esteem (Crocker & Luhranen, 1990).
The differentiation between ingroup and outgroups is based on social categorization. Social categories function as cognitive "labor-saving devices" by helping you place other people into meaningful categories. Although you may use a wide range of categories for classifying people (for example, male, friend, stranger, Christian, neighbor, political, athlete), two very basic social categorizations are (1) member of my group and
(2) Member of another group (Hamilton, 1979). Social categorization theory is based on the hypothesis that personal and social identities are self-categorizations (Turner & Oakes, 1989) that, in and of themselves, are sufficient to create discriminatory intergroup behavior. Social identity is based on differentiating among groups (I am American, male, and Protestant, as opposed to Canadian, female, and Catholic) and is assumed to be a more inclusive, super ordinate level of abstraction than personal identity in the categorization of the self.
A premise of social identity and social categorization theories is that the process of making categorical distinctions to understand the social world involves minimizing perceived differences within categories and accentuating differences between categories (Tajfel, 1969). This results in three principles:
1. The intergroup accentuation principle (there is assimilation within category boundaries and contrast between categories, such that all members of the ingroup are perceived to be more similar to the self than to members of the out-group).
2. The ingroup favoritism principle (positive affect [trust, liking] is selectively generalized to fellow ingroup members but not to outgroup members).
3. The social competition principle (intergroup social comparison is based on perceived negative interdependence [competition] between ingroup and outgroups).
Some evidence exists that the desire to see oneself as fair-minded can work against discriminating against outgroups members (Singh, Choo, & Poh, 1998).
It should be remembered that people do not categorize themselves in the same way in every situation. When in Indiana, a person may say, "I'm from Muncie;” when in California or Singapore, the same person may say, "I'm from Indiana," or "I'm from the United States," respectively. As situations change, so do the ways people categorize themselves and others?
Another premise of social identity and social categorization theories is since individual persons are themselves members of some social categories and not others, social categorization carries with it implicit ingroup—outgroup (we—they) distinctions. These distinctions result in (1) intergroup competition, (2) ingroup members receiving preferred treatment, and (3) depersonalization of outgroup members (Turner, 1985). Even when social categorizations are imposed on people (given the acceptance and internalization of the categories), members of the ingroup are liked more and treated better than members of outgroups. In order to overcome these effects, a process of decategorization and then recategorization must take place.
Decategorization: Personalizing Interaction. Primary consequences of categorization are ingroup bias and the depersonalization of members of outgroups. Individual members of outgroups tend to be treated as undifferentiated representatives, not as unique individuals. In order to reduce ingroup bias and the depersonalization of outgroup members, contact among members of the different groups is required. These intergroup interactions should be structured so as to reduce the salience of category distinctions and to promote opportunities to get to know outgroup members as individuals (Miller, Brewer, & Edwards, 1985). Contact will be most effective when interactions are highly personalized rather than category based (Miller, 2002). Attending to personal characteristics of outgroup members tends to disconfirm category stereotypes and decrease the perception of outgroups as homogeneous units.
Recategorization: Building A Common Ingroup Identity. Johnson and Johnson (1992a) and Gartner and his associates (1993) posited that ingroup bias and the depersonalization of outgroup members can be reduced through building a new, common group identity. The contact among members of different groups needs to be structured so that attention is focused on a super ordinate category that encompasses both ingroup and outgroup in a single social group. Although there may be white Americans, black Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans, for example, highlighting the super ordinate identity of American can place all citizens into a single social category and identification. Attention to category differences is superseded by a new inclusive group identity. It should be noted that decategorization and recategorization are not mutually exclusive. When groups work together to accomplish cooperation goals, they begin to see one another in multidimensional ways (i.e., they decategorize) and form a common identity (i.e., recategorize).
The classic work on intergroup conflict was conducted by Muzafer Sherif and Robert Blake. More recent work, however, notes that intergroup conflict begins with a distinction between "us" and "them." Once that distinction is made, groups are quick to compete with one another, value their own group more than other groups, and depersonalize the members of other groups, which may lead to discrimination against outgroup members. These dynamics involve the importance of social identity and social categorization. Social identity theory posits that people seek to enhance their self-esteem by viewing the groups to which they belong more positively than they do the groups to which they do not belong. Social categorization theory posits that defining oneself and others as members of groups saves time and effort in dealing with the world.
Simply categorizing a person as an outgroup member is sufficient to create discriminatory behavior. Such negative aspects of categorization may be ended by decategorizing and/or recategorizing into a common ingroup.
Whereas Sherif's research indicates that the resolution of intergroup conflict requires compelling cooperative goals, and the cognitive view points toward decategorization and recategorization, the broadest approach to resolving intergroup conflict is contact theory. Other procedures include awakening a sense of injustice in the high-power group and mediation.
Resolving Intergroup Conflict: Contact Theory
Resolving intergroup conflict is based on the assumption that contact between members of different groups will result in positive relationships and a reduction of stereotyping and prejudice. One of the most studied intergroup conflicts is that between white and black Americans. Historically, social scientists believed that sheer ignorance about African Americans and their lives contributed to erroneous and oversimplified racial stereotypes (Myrdal, 1944). Contact was seen as the solution. A wide variety of studies conducted in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s indicated that such contact was not a straightforward matter. The nature of the contact between members of different ethnic groups, not the frequency, seemed to determine whether favorable intergroup attitudes resulted.
Researchers studied the effects of actual contact between blacks and whites, utilizing visiting black lecturers in classrooms (Young, 1932), meetings with black professionals (F. Smith, 1943), school integration (Horowitz, 1936), joint recreational activities in integrated summer camps (Yarrow, Campbel, & Yarrow, 1958 ; Williams, 1948), voyages of white merchant seamen serving with black seamen (Brophy, 1945), and contact within combat infantry platoons (Mannheimer & Williams, 1949 ; Star, Williams, & Stouffer, 1965). Many of the earliest research studies used questionnaires in which respondents were asked to note their attitudes toward members of an ethnic group and then to describe the nature and frequency of their contact with members of that group (Allport & Kramer, 1946 ; Harlan, 1942; MacKenzie, 1948; Rosenblith, 1949). Somewhat later studies were based on postwar occupational and educational desegregation (Gray
& Thompson, 1953; Gundlach, 1950; Harding & Hogerge, 1952 ; Minard, 1952; Reed, 1947; Rose, 1948; Williams & Ryan, 1954) and desegregated residential settings (Deutsch & Collins, 1951 ; Irish, 1952; Jahoda & West, 1951 ; Kramer, 1951 ; Wilner, Walkey, & Cook, 1952; Winder, 1952). These latter studies indicated that the greater the degree of cooperation growing out of involuntary residential proximity between white and black residents, the more likely the development of friendly ethnic relationships.
Years later, we realize that the issue is not so simple. Sometimes intergroup contact is associated with less prejudice. According to national surveys, having more black friends or more contact with gay men and lesbians is associated with less prejudice (Herek & Capitanio, 1996; Jackman & Crane, 1986). Contact, however, is also correlated with more prejudice. Whites who have had the most contact with illegal immigrants (Espenshade & Calhoun, 1993) and whites living in areas of the South with the largest concentration of African Americans have the most prejudiced political attitudes (Giles & Buckner, 1993 ; Key, 1949). Thus, contact can either increase or decrease prejudice or discrimination.
Based on these early studies, in 1947 Goodwin Watson published a review of the previous research and writings on intergroup relations. He concluded that contact between members of different ethnic groups was likely to be more effective in changing behavior and attitudes than were such alternative experiences as exposure to correct information or persuasive communication, given that the contact met a number of conditions. The conditions included the following:
1. Cooperative action to achieve mutual goals (the diverse individuals have to engage in cooperative activities together)
2. Personal interactions among individuals from the different groups
3. Social norms and authorities favoring equalitarian cross-ethnic contact
4. Equal status contact
In the same year, Williams (1947) published a similar list of conditions for constructive cross-ethnic contact, as did Kenneth Clark in 1953. In 1954 Gordon Allport published his famous book, The Nature of Prejudice, in which he identified a similar list of conditions. Stuart Cook followed with a review in 1957.
Between 1950 and 1970 approximately forty studies were conducted on cross-ethnic interaction (Amir, 1969; Cook, 1969; Stephan, 1978). The reviewers of this research concluded that the evidence was inconclusive as to whether cross-ethnic contact resulted in more favorable cross-ethnic attitudes and relationships. Under favorable conditions, contact seemed to reduce prejudice, and under unfavorable conditions, contact seemed to increase prejudice. The major determinant of whether cross-ethnic contact produced positive attitudes and relationships was cooperative interaction among the individuals involved.
The most recent formulations of contact theory specify that the following conditions must exist for contact to result in a reduction of prejudice, stereotyping, and racism:
1. Cooperative action to achieve mutual goals. What largely determines whether interaction results in positive or negative relationships is the context within which the interaction takes place. Rather than requiring members of different groups to compete or work individualistically on their own, they must work together to achieve mutual goals. Two meta-analyses indicated that cooperative experiences promote more positive relationships among heterogeneous individuals (Johnson & Johnson, 1989; Johnson, Johnson, & Maruyama, 1983). When people cooperate, they tend to like one another more, trust one another more, be more candid with one another, and be more willing to listen to and be influenced by one another than are people competing or working individualistically. In addition, cooperative experiences promote more positive, committed, and caring relationships regardless of differences in ethnic, cultural, language, social class, gender, ability, or other differences.
2. Personal interactions among individuals from the different groups. Ingroup members tend to assume that outgroup members are all alike. Through intimate, one-on-one interaction, those categories should break down and outgroup members should be perceived in more individualized terms (Brewer & Miller,
1984; Marcus-Newhall et al., 1993; Miller, 2002; Urban & Miller, 1998 ; Wilder, 1986).
3. Support from social norms and authorities. The social norms, defined in part by relevant authorities, should favor intergroup contact. Greenberg and Pyszczynski (1985) demonstrated that participants expressed more prejudice after they overheard a confederate utter a racial slur. College students being interviewed about a racial incident on campus conveyed more racist sentiment after they heard a fellow student do the same (Blanchard, Lilly, & Vaughn, 1991). Participants were more likely to rate an outgroup member as "typical" when they were with fellow ingroup members than when they were alone (Wilder & Shapiro, 1991).
4. Equal status of the two groups in the contact situation. Desegregation situations that provided equal status contact, as in the army and public housing projects, have been successful (Pettigrew, 1969).
In addition to these four conditions, researchers have suggested additional conditions that may be required for contact between diverse groups to have constructive rather than destructive effects. One is the salience of social categories. When category distinctions are highly salient in an intergroup contact situation, group members are more apt to respond in ways that are category based (Brewer & Miller, 1984; Hong & Harrod, 1988 ; Miller, 2002; Oakes, 1987; Tajfel, 1978 ; Wilder & Shapiro, 1989a, 1989b) and are more biased in their intergroup attitudes (Haunschild, Moreland, & Murrell, 1994; Hong & Harrod, 1988). Three ways to reduce the salience of social categories are:
1. Making shared categories salient. Ingroup bias is higher when people differ on two real social categories (such as ethnicity and gender) than when they differ on one category but share another (Brewer, Ho, Lee, & Miller, 1987; Islam & Hewstone, 1993; Urban & Miller, 1998). Similar results have been found in laboratory studies on nominal group categories (Deschamps, 1977 ; Deschamps & Doise, 1978 ; Vanbeselaere, 1987, 1991).
2. Have equal representation of majority and minority members in cooperative Groups (M. Rogers, Hennigan, Bosman, & Miller, 1984; Worchel, Andreoli, & Folger, 1977). Members of numerical minorities are more aware of their social category than are members of numerical majorities (McGuire, McGuire, Child, & Fujioka, 1978; McGuire, McGuire, & Winton, 1979; Mullen, 1983), express more ingroup bias than do numerical majorities (Brewer, Manzi, & Shaw, 1993; Gerard & Hoyt, 1974 ; Mullen, Brown, & Smith, 1992 ; Sachdev & Bourhis, 1984, 1991), and are less accepting of members of other groups (Miller & DavidsonPodgorny, 1987). Groups for whom category salience is high are more biased in their intergroup attitudes (Haunschild, Moreland, & Murrell, 1994 ; Hong & Harrod, 1988).
3. Create a common identity among majority and minority members (Johnson & Johnson, 1999b). When majority and minority members are assigned the same role, for example, they perceive themselves as sharing a common identity (Bettencourt, Charlton, & Kernahan, in press ; Bettencourt & Dorr, 1998).
The second potential addition to contact theory is the role of intergroup friendship.
Having outgrouped friends creates a strong negative relationship to prejudice and a positive relationship to favorable intergroup attitudes (Herek & Capitanio, 1996 ; Wright, Aron, McLaughlin-Volpe, & Ropp, 1997). In a survey of 3,806 respondents in seven 1988 national probability samples of France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and West Germany, Pettigrew (1997) found that intergroup friendship is a strong and consistent predictor of reduced prejudice and pro-immigrant policy preferences. The reduction of prejudice among those with diverse friends generalized to more positive feelings about a wide variety of outgroups. There seems to be a benevolent spiral in which intergroup friendship reduces prejudice, and reduced prejudice in turn increases the likelihood of further intergroup friendships. Similar effects were not found when the individual had an outgroup coworker or neighbor (but not a friend).
Since its original formulation fifty years ago, extensive research has been inspired by contact theory. The research has generally confirmed the theory across a variety of societies, situations, and groups. These include German children in school with Turkish children (Wagner, Hewstone, & Machleit, 1989), the elderly (Caspi, 1984), and the mentally ill (Desforges et al., 1991). The theory has been confirmed by laboratory (e.g., Cook, 1978 ; Johnson & Johnson, 1989), survey (e.g., Sigelman & Welch, 1993), field (e.g., Meer & Freedman, 1966 ; Johnson & Johnson, 1989), and archival (e.g., Fine, 1979) research.
There are problems with contact theory. The first is that the proliferation of required conditions renders the theory meaningless. As a result of all the diverse research, many social scientists have suggested revisions to contact theory. Some of the revisions have been situational (such as intimacy [Amir, 1976] or salience of social categories [Brewer & Miller, 1984]) and some have been individual (such as low authoritarianism [Weigel & Howes, 1985]). The danger is that contact theory may become a "grocery list" of necessary conditions rather than a coherent model of attitude and behavior change. The proliferation of conditions may result from social scientists' confusing facilitating with essential conditions. Some of the conditions suggested for optimal contact may be catalytic (not essential for harmonious relationships but related to underlying mediating processes). Pettigrew (1997) suggests four broad, encompassing processes: (1) learning about the outgroup, (2) empathizing with the outgroup, (3) identifying with the outgroup, and (4) reappraising the ingroup. Some of the conditions proposed as requirements for constructive contact may actually be facilitators of one or more of these processes.
The second problem is the need to specify more precisely the variables that mediate contact effects. Social judgment theory, which is discussed in the next chapter, is an attempt to be more specific about the mediators of contact and positive relationships.
The third problem is that while contact theory is about interaction among diverse groups, it focuses on interpersonal interaction. It needs to refocus on the contact of group with group (Hewstone & Brown, 1986) rather than on the contact of individuals from two groups. There is evidence that the perceived collective other is a qualitatively different kind of actor than a perceived individual other. Groups evoke stronger reactions than an individual engaging in the same behavior and actions by groups, and individuals elicit differing preferences for redress (Abelson, Dasgupta, Park, & Banaji, 1998).
When observers perceive individuals as part of a cohesive group (as opposed to an aggregate of unrelated individuals), the observers’ express stereotypic judgments about the individuals and infer that their behavior was shaped by the presence of others (Oakes & Turner, 1986; Oakes, Turner, & Haslam, 1991; Wilder, 1977, 1978b). A racial slur by an individual, for example, provokes a different reaction than a racial slur delivered by a group. Considerably more research is needed on intergroup (as opposed to interpersonal) contact.
Awakening "a Sense of Injustice"
Discrimination against outgroups may be decreased by reducing stereotyping and prejudice. Discrimination may be viewed as a form of injustice (Deutsch, 1985). Removing discrimination, therefore, requires awakening a sense of injustice in majority members about their treatment of minority and low-power group members. Deutsch posits that no change in discriminatory practices is possible until a sense of injustice is awakened.
To awaken the majority's sense of injustice, follow the steps in the box.
Awakening a sense of injustice depends on prejudice being more than a uniform set of attitudes and values. Rather than having uniformly negative or positive attitudes toward outgroups, many individuals have conflicting tendencies (Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986; Katz & Hass, 1988; Katz, Wachenhut, & Hass, 1986; McConahay, 1986; Monteith, 1996b). A number of studies, for example, found that approximately 78% of the sampled populations indicated that they should respond with less prejudice than is apparent in their actual responses (Devine, Monteith, Zuwerink, & Elliot, 1991 ; Monteith, 1996a, 1996b; Monteith, Devine, & Zuwerink, 1993 ; Zuwerink, Montcith, Devine, & Cook, 1996). This finding held for both high- and low-prejudiced individuals.
Given that many people are highly prejudiced but feel conflicted about it, awakening their sense of injustice will tip the scales in favor of respect and appreciation. Monteith and Walters (1998) found that many high-prejudiced white individuals feel morally obligated (1) to be less prejudiced and (2) to have relatively low-prejudiced personal standards for responding to blacks. These obligations appear to originate from an egalitarian sell-image that defines egalitarianism in terms of equality of opportunity. Their belief in the right of every person to have an equal opportunity is more powerful than their prejudices.
William Ury often tells a tale of an old gentleman who in his will requests that his estate be divided among his three sons in the following manner: one-half to his eldest son, one-third to his middle son, and one-ninth to his youngest son. When the loving father died, his estate consisted of seventeen camels. The three sons attempted to divide up the estate according to their father's wishes but quickly found that they could not do so without cutting some of the camels into pieces. They argued and argued without agreeing on how to divide the camels. Eventually, a village elder rode up on his own dusty camel and inquired about their problem. The three brothers explained the situation. The elder then offered to make his own camel available if that might help. It did. With eighteen camels, the brothers could solve the problem. The oldest soon took nine camels (one-half of eighteen), the middle son choose six more (one-third of eighteen), and the youngest son extracted two camels (one-ninth of eighteen). Nine plus six plus two equals seventeen. Almost before the three brothers knew what had happened, the wise man climbed back onto his own camel and rode off into the setting desert sun.
This story illustrates what a clever and creative mediator can do. A mediator is a neutral person who helps two or more people reach an agreement that both believe is fair, just, and workable. A mediator does not tell disputants what to do, decide who is right and who is wrong, or talk about what he or she would do in such a situation. The mediator is simply a facilitator with no formal power over either disputant. Mediation exists, therefore, when a neutral and impartial third party assists two or more people in negotiating a constructive resolution to their conflict. Mediation is unlikely to be effective when the relationship between the two parties is poor and when resources are scarce. Conversely, mediation is most likely to be successful when both parties are highly motivated to engage in the mediation process. Most studies show satisfaction rates of 75% or higher with the mediation process (Kressel & Pruitt, 1985). Mediation facilitates conflict resolution in the following ways (Raven & Rubin, 1976, p. 462):
1. By reducing emotional upset by giving parties an opportunity to vent their feelings
2. By presenting alternative solutions by recasting the issues in differentor more acceptable terms
3. by providing opportunities for graceful retreat or face-saving in the eyes of one's adversary, one's constituency, the public, or oneself
4. By facilitating constructive communication among parties
5. By controlling contact between the parties, including aspects such as the neutrality of the meeting site, the formality of the setting, the time constraints, and the number and kinds of people at the meeting To be successful, mediators need to be perceived as trustworthy and able (Rubin, Pruitt, & Kim, 1994). Mediators also need to convey an impression of legitimacy, social position, and expertise in order to gain the confidence of both parties and to win acceptance for the proposed solution (Kolb, 1985). Mediators tailor tactics to particular situations. Mediators may lower hostility by being very directive and using humor with people experienced in integrative negotiating, hut by being nondirective with inexperienced parties who lack expertise in negotiating (Carnevale & Pegnetter, 1985). When mediation fails, an arbitrator may he brought in. Arbitration is a binding settlement of a conflict determined by a disinterested third party.
Conflicts of interest will occur frequently among members of effective groups. Conflicts often, but not always, involve indirect or direct aggression. They may have constructive or destructive effects on the group, depending on how members manage them. There are five basic strategies for managing conflicts of interest: withdrawal, forcing (distributive negotiations), smoothing, compromise, and problem solving (integrative negotia tions). The occurrence of conflicts may be controlled through controlling triggering events and the entry states of disputants. Negotiations involve participation, information, and outcome interdependence and result in both primary and secondary gains. Distributive negotiations involve procedures such as an extreme opening offer and a slow rate of compromise. Integrative negotiations involve a six-step procedure of describing what you want, describing what you feel, exchanging reasons for holding the positions you do, understanding the other's perspective, inventing options for mutual gain, and reaching a wise decision.
Conflicts of interest occur between groups as well as between group members. Intergroup conflict has been studied in children's camps and among adult businessmen.
It may develop through ingroup—outgroup bias. Two of the cognitive theories attempting to explain intergroup conflict are social identity and social categorization theories.
They posit that intergroup conflict is resolved through recategorization. Contact theory may be the most widely known theory of resolving intergroup conflict. It posits that conflicts among groups are resolved through members engaging in cooperative actions, in which personal relationships may develop, supported by social norms and authorities, and equal status among everyone involved. Intergroup conflicts may also be developed through awakening a sense of injustice in high-power group members and through mediation.
Now that you are acquainted with the dynamics involved in resolving conflicts of interest and have practiced resolving them, you are ready to encounter diversity as it exists in society and in the groups to which you belong. You will do so in the next chapter.