Group Functioning and Social Psychology. Social Identity Theory. Social Identity defined… Social identity is the individual’s self-concept derived from perceived membership of social groups (Hogg & Vaughan, 2002)
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Group Functioning and Social Psychology
Social Identity defined…
Social identity is the individual’s self-concept derived from perceived membership of social groups (Hogg & Vaughan, 2002)
“How personal reality is constructed from social reality.” Sullivan and Johns, 2002, Social Work Education, 21(2).
How important is each of these to your identity?
How do these identities influence your experience in various settings?
How do these identities influence how you feel and what you think about yourself?
If these identities represent your ingroups, how do you feel about the corresponding outgroups?
People are motivated to maintain a positive self-concept
Group identity contributes to positive self-concept
We develop a positive group identity through comparison of our group with others, i.e. ingroup/outgroup dynamic
Reify – To consider something that is intangible to be a concrete entity.
Non immigrants with essentialist beliefs:
have more negative bias towards members of outgroups.
see members of other groups as homogenous.
show less support for services to immigrants.
prefer that immigrants assimilate.
have less contact with immigrants.
Immigrants with essentialist beliefs:
are less inclined to use their newer social identity as a guide to behavior.
rely on social identity more for understanding self in comparison with others (entity theorists).
Can we generalize the findings from the study to client groups?
Power differences may be highlighted.
They may accept a negative social identity and be subject to self-fulfilling prophecy.
Loss of social identity can create too much imbalance, preventing change.
Key terms and concepts
False consciousness…also known as internalized sexism
Just world belief
High self-esteem and ingroup favoritism = + correlation
Personal inadequacy Feelings of hostility abouse self Projection onto women, i.e. hostility Poor friend relationships and victim blaming
Correlations with hostility toward women
Emotional dependence on men
Emotional, recreational, intellectual and social intimacy with partner
Relationship between self esteem and ingroup favoritism or rejection
Hostility + tendency to stereotype + personal inadequacy = victim blaming
Implications of hostility toward women and victim blaming?
For human services policy makers
Groups are difficult because there’s always a power struggle among the members.
Being part of a group makes for a richer experience.
Motivations for being in the group
Thoughts, feelings and expectations related to the group or groups in general
Laws, policies, procedures
Identification with the group, i.e. social identity
Be aware of how you respond to conflict.
Become aware of its occurrence and step back.
Consider the source of conflict-
Frustration at power holders
Conflicting goals or priorities
Differences in worldview/cultural differences
Destructive individual styles
Philosophy of inclusion – enhance the ingroup effect.
Assume the best about others’ intentions
One best path doesn’t make other paths wrong-sometimes
Group work isn’t about winning or losing
Agree on consensus vs. democratic vs. dictator approach to decision making
Construct positive beliefs about conflict
Self-regulation and shared responsibility
A group member has twice not followed through on what she said she would do. She also missed one of the meetings, and then complained about a decision made at that meeting.
Two people in a your staffing group of five frequently get into what the others describe as shouting matches. The two seem to get over it and move on, but two of the others are so uncomfortable that they want to leave when it’s happening and fear getting yelled at, so they don’t speak up.
You and several co-workers are concerned about unethical practices at your agency. It’s bad enough that you all agree that you need to do something. One person insists on a confrontational approach and seems unwilling to consider anything else. Each time you get together to discuss the situation, she ends up making her case in a way that makes sense. Ultimately, though, no one but her is willing to take a confrontational approach. You are worried that nothing will happen as a result of this impasse.
What did you notice about how you discussed the situation?
What did people say/do that might prevent resolution of the conflict?
What did people say/do that will facilitate resolution?
What helps a group function effectively?
How does conflict affect the group?
How can you respond effectively to conflict?
There are many, here are just a few:
Imagine you are working with a group of clients and you want to build a positive social identity.
What is this social identity? What is it called, what are its characteristics, who is part of it?
Design a group activity that strengthens the members’ social identity in a positive way. Help them -
Identify with the group
Internalize the identity
Be ready to explain how social psych concepts are relevant.