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Social Interaction

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  1. Social Interaction Chapter 11

  2. Universal Interaction • Group– 2 or more persons • In-group– group one belongs to • Out-group– group one doesn’t belong to • Status– a relative social position within a group that can be formal or informal; can be earned i.e., achieved or given at birth i.e., ascribed

  3. Factors in the Relationship between Status & Culture • All humans’ social status can be achieved & ascribed • Even in the most “advanced” democracies, there can be discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, &/or religion • By becoming a member of more than 1 group, 1 can accept more than 1 social status

  4. Norms– • established by a group for the purpose of clarifying how members should & shouldn’t behave • Roles– • sets of behaviors that individuals occupying specific positions within a group are expected to perform • Sanctions– • Certain actions reward those who follow the norms (positive sanctions) and reprove those who are deviant (negative sanctions)

  5. Japanese managers use direct & indirect forms of praise for their employees (Barnlund & Araki, 1985) • Territorial behavior is natural for both individuals & social groups (Schubert & Masters, 1991) • Collectivist cultures are more likely to form groups than individualist cultures w/ U.S. having the lowest level of group formation (Berkowitz, 1971) misinterpretation of groups as gangs

  6. Individualist cultures care for themselves & their families • Important to achieve • Belong to larger groups for short periods of time • Collectivist groups look after their in-groups & then themselves • Important to belong • Belong to fewer groups tend to be stable & enduring

  7. The Power of Roles • Factors that cause people to obey • Allocating responsibility to the authority • Routinizing the task • Wanting to be polite • Becoming entrapped • Entrapment: A gradual process in which individuals escalate their commitment to a course of action to justify their investment of time, money, or effort.

  8. Social Facilitation • The presence or absence of others may alter one’s behavior • e.g., uncertainty avoidance may occur when people are in the presence of others & want to express culturally approved emotions, push for group consensus, less tolerant of those who are different, & have a greater need to follow formal rules

  9. Direct Contacts • High context cultures • Most important information is the context of the situation • Low context cultures • Most important information is what is stated regardless of the context • Eye contact • Varies from culture to culture (check handout)

  10. Conformity A form of social influence where individuals change their attitudes and/or behavior to adhere to a group or social norm Compliance Conformity motivated by hedonism Conformity & Compliance

  11. Conformity • Subjects in a group were asked to match line lengths. • Confederates in the group picked the wrong line. • Subjects went along with the wrong answer on 37% of trials. Sample A B C

  12. Is Conformity Universal? • Conformity is typically lower in upper-middle class groups and higher in lower socioeconomic class groups • Generally it is higher in authoritarian societies & collectivist societies and lower in individualistic societies, BUT not always • Negative sanctions like social isolation may limit the expression of a different expression (Noelle-Neumann, 1986)

  13. Conformity Across CulturesWeisz et al., 1984 • Primary Control • Individuals try to change the present situation and increase their rewards • Valued more in individualistic societies • Secondary Control • Individuals adjust to the existing conditions • Valued more in collectivist societies

  14. Availability Bias • Observers pay attention to what is visible or salient • Petrovsky proposes that when someone does not yield to a certain group, it may not be that they are not conforming, but rather that they are conforming to a different set of norms

  15. Obedience • To conform to or comply with • When a person simply follows orders given

  16. The Obedience Study • Stanley Milgram and coworkers investigated whether people would follow orders, even when the order violated their ethical standards. • Most people were far more obedient than anyone expected. • Every single participant complied with at least some orders to shock another person • Results are controversial and have generated much research on violence and obedience.

  17. Why People Obey • Factors that cause people to obey • Allocating responsibility to the authority • Routinizing the task • Wanting to be polite • Becoming entrapped • Entrapment: A gradual process in which individuals escalate their commitment to a course of action to justify their investment of time, money, or effort.

  18. Use of Coercive Persuasion for Compliance/Obedience • Person is under physical or emotional duress. • Person’s problems are reduced to one simple explanation, repeated often. • Leader offers unconditional love, acceptance, and attention. • New identity based on group is created. • Person is subjected to entrapment. • Person’s access to information is controlled.

  19. Social Influence • Six Universal Bases of Power (Raven & Rubin, 1968) • Rewards i.e., ability to provide positive or desirable outcomes for another person or group • Coercion i.e., physical force or direct threats to the anticipation of punishment • Expertise i.e., experience, training, & special skills

  20. Information i.e., access to information • Referent power i.e., voluntarily or involuntarily identify with a person or group we want to be similar to • Legitimate power i.e., some folks are seen as official leaders w/ authority • Power may impact other group behavior • E.g., jokes about minority ethnic groups are funny to the majority, not to the minority • Members of low-power groups are expected to be empathetic to high-power groups than vice versa

  21. Groupthink • In close-knit groups, the tendency for all members to think alike and suppress disagreement for the sake of harmony. • Symptoms of Groupthink: • Illusion of invincibility • Self-censorship • Pressure on dissenters to conform • Illusion of unanimity • Examples • Bay of Pigs & 1986 Challenger • Folks knew there were problems, but didn’t want to tell (Aronson, 1995)

  22. Group Polarization • Tendency of group members to shift to more extreme positions • Based on cultural norms • Group discussions are more risky than individual ones • Western societies tend to value risk-taking more than some other cultures

  23. Social loafing Tendency of group members to exert less effort on a task than if they were working alone or when the size of group is expanded Found more in U.S. and other individualistic societies Note: the more cohesive a group becomes, the less social loafing (Petrovsky, 1978) Social Striving When a group enhances the individual performance of its members Found more in collectivist societies

  24. Cooperation & Competition • In competition, someone gains and someone loses • In cooperative reward conditions, people’s rewards are positively linked i.e., when one does well or poorly, the rest are affected • In individualistic reward conditions, the outcomes of individuals are independent of each other • U.S. is more competitive than Latin American, African, & Middle Eastern countries which tend to be cooperative

  25. Leadership • Leadership is the process by which some individuals (leaders) influence other group members toward attainment of specific group goals • Two types of leaderships • Adaptors i.e., attracted to occupations & professions that require close attention to detail & more organized & methodical styles of work • Innovators i.e., prefer opportunities to create and to focus on the “bigger picture” goals • Charismatic leadership i.e., transformational leadership is cross cultural and reflects the ability to unify people to perform specific tasks with enthusiasm & devotion

  26. Three Major Leadership Styles • Authoritarian • Leader makes decisions • Members are not allowed to choose their own strategies • Specific roles • Democratic • Leader makes decisions after consulting group • Followers choose own form of implementation • Laissez-faire • Leader doesn’t exercise control over group • Group members act on their own

  27. Explanation for Leadership Behavior • Trait approach • To become a leader, one should have a set of specific traits or predispositions • Situational • Leadership is more situational • Leaders surface when the situation requires their presence like in a national crisis