Relations between high and low power groups: The importance of legitimacy

MJ Hornsey*, R Spears, M. Cremers, MA Hogg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using a social identity perspective, two experiments examined the effects of power and the legitimacy of power differentials on intergroup bias. In Experiment 1, 125 math-science students were led to believe that they had high or low representation in a university decision-making body relative to social-science students and that this power position was either legitimate or illegitimate. Power did not have an independent effect on bias; rather, members of both high and low power groups showed more bias when the power hierarchy was illegitimate than when it was legitimate. This effect was replicated in Experiment 2 (N =105). In addition, Experiment 2 showed that groups located within an unfair power hierarchy expected the superordinate power body to be more discriminatory than did those who had legitimately high or low power. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for group relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-227
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2003

Keywords

  • power
  • legitimacy
  • intergroup relations
  • SELF-CATEGORIZATION
  • SUBGROUP RELATIONS
  • BIAS
  • DISCRIMINATION
  • OUTGROUP
  • DIFFERENTIALS
  • PREJUDICE

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