Effects of inter-group status on the pursuit of intra-group status

J. W. CHANG, Rosalind CHOW, Anita WOOLLEY

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

mars 2017, vol. 139, pp.1–17

Départements : Management et Ressources Humaines, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : Inter-group status; Intra-group status; Cooperation; Competition

This research examines how the status of one’s group influences intra-group behavior and collective outcomes. Two experiments provide evidence that, compared to members of low-status groups, members of high-status groups are more concerned about their intra-group standing, which in turn can increase both the likelihood of competitive and cooperative intra-group behavior. However, whether the desire for intra-group standing manifests via competitive versus cooperative behavior depends on the relevance of the task to the group’s inter-group standing. When the task is not clearly relevant to the group’s status, members of high-status groups are more likely to engage in competitive behavior out of a desire to manage their intra-group status, which, in turn, leads to less desirable collective outcomes. However, when the group’s status is at stake, members of high-status groups seek intra-group status via cooperative behavior, leading to better collective outcomes.