Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.606734
Title: The meaning of groups : the importance and role of the content of social identities for cognition and behaviour
Author: Evans, Andrew L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 1978
Awarding Body: Staffordshire University
Current Institution: Staffordshire University
Date of Award: 2014
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Abstract:
The main purpose of the current thesis was to explore the importance and role of social identity content. The current thesis began by exploring relationships between aspects of social identity content and outcome variables pertinent to a performance domain (see chapter two). Using a cross-sectional design, 151 rugby league athletes completed measures of social identity, social identity content, in-group cohesion, general self efficacy, general collective efficacy, subjective team performance, and preferred leadership style. Data indicated that social identity significantly and positively explained general self efficacy, general collective efficacy, and subjective team performance above and beyond in-group cohesion. Data also revealed that a content focused highly on results or lowly on friendships meant that higher levels of social identity were associated with higher levels of general self efficacy, general collective efficacy, subjective team performance, and a preference for autocratic leadership. Given the limitations of cross-sectional research and the lack of longitudinal research within social identity literature, chapter three focused on the relationships between aspects of social identity content and outcomes variables over time. Using a longitudinal design, 167 rugby league athletes competing across eight teams in one Division completed measures of social identity, social identity content, in-group cohesion, general self efficacy, general collective efficacy, and subjective team performance at the beginning, middle, and end of their nine- week season. League position was also tracked over the season as a marker of objective team performance. Multilevel modelling analyses found that between-person differences in social identity significantly and positively explained in-group cohesion and within-person changes in social identity significantly and positively explained general self efficacy and general collective efficacy. Generally, the between-person differences and within-person changes in identities focused on results or friendships failed to explain outcome variables. However, athletes changed the importance placed on friendships over time. Correlation analyses found viii that social identity and friendships identity content were positively associated with objective team performance over time. Given that athletes changed their social identity content over time, chapter four examined the effects of social identity content threat to provide an explanation for the equivocal social identity content findings. In an experimental design, 40 students were randomly assigned to a results content, threat condition (N = 20) or a support content, no threat condition (N = 20). In groups of five, participants watched five sporting clips and answered questions on each clip in turn. Participants were presented with bogus performance feedback after each trial which threatened results content only. At the end of trial five, participants completed measures of social identity, in-group prototypicality, out- group prototypicality, and social mobility. Objective performance was also measured for each trial. Data indicated that receiving relevant threat to an in-group identity focused on one specific content will harm in-group functioning. On the other hand, in-group functioning in the support, no threat condition was unaffected by the performance feedback presented. Therefore, chapter five investigated whether having an alternative, unthreatened component of social identity content available could have protected in-group functioning in chapter four. In an experimental design, 40 students were randomly assigned to a dual content, results threat condition (N = 20) or a dual content, support threat condition (N = 20). The protocol used in chapter four was replicated. However, participants indicated their willingness to support their group at the end of each trial. Group members received either false performance or supportive feedback depending on the aspect of social identity content threatened. Data revealed that in-group members were socially creative with their dual content. Behavioural outcomes aligned to the threatened component of social identity content were either poor or reduced over time. Trends in behavioural outcomes aligned to the unthreatened aspect of social identity content were less conclusive. Whilst in-group members in each condition reported similar levels of psychological outcomes, being socially creative with social identity ix content generally failed to explain outcome data. Overall, the findings of the current thesis suggest that creating and building social identities and social identity content (to some extent) are important for in-group functioning. Data imply that drawing on a threatened aspect of social identity content will have negative repercussions for in-group functioning. Finally, data suggest that having an alternative and unthreatened aspect of social identity content available can (in some instances) protect in-group functioning. Further implications for theory, applied practice, and future research are discussed throughout the thesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.606734  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L300 Sociology
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