Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. R. Y. Bourhis
Social psychological processes underlying intergroup behaviour should be placed in their sociostructural contexts. Previous experimental studies have usually created groups that do not differ on sociostructural dimensions such as groups numbers, power, and status. The impact of these factors on intergroup behaviour constituted the major aim of the present research.
Predictions were formulated assuming that individuals are motivated to achieve a positive social identity (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). Variants of the "minimal group" paradigm (see Tajfel & Turner, 1979) were used, first, to replicate previous minimal group results, and second, to assess the independent and combined effects of power, status, and group numbers on intergroup behaviour. As in previous studies, allocation matrices developed by Tajfel and his colleagues were the main dependent measures. Unlike previous studies, these were supplemented with extensive postsession questionnaire items that included items on social identifications and various intergroup perceptions.
First, the classical minimal group discrimination effect, replicated under conditions of equal group numbers, power, and status, was eliminated when group members had little or no power (study 2). Categorization per se was not sufficient for intergroup discrimination. Without usabIe power, minimal group members did not discriminate. However, categorization per se was sufficient in eliciting prejudice.
Second, results of this research cIearIy showed that increases in group status and group power led to concomitant increases in matrix discrimination. Membership in minority groups polarised these patterns of behaviour (and perceptions) more than membership in majority groups. Status was the best predictor of social identification (and related perceptions), while power best predicted actual behaviour. In conclusion, evidence from these studies indicated that group numbers, power, and status, independently and in combination, have a strong impact on intergroup behaviour and perceptiops.
Sachdev, Itesh, "Power and Status in Majority - Minority Relations" (1985). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1230.