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Communicating, Negotiating and Stereotyping: The roles of context, situation and gender in small group decision-making
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3320-5999
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Making decisions together in groups takes an important role in society. Everywhere and in many different contexts people meet to make more or less formal decisions. As stereotypes constitute simplified group based perceptions of other people, decision-making groups risk making biased judgments and commit discriminating decisions. Stereotyping often follow the two universal dimensions competence and warmth (Cuddy, Fiske & Glick, 2008). How people´s judgments are affected by stereotypes has mainly been studied on individual level and less is known about how stereotypes and prejudice is communicated and negotiated in group decision-making situations. One approach to study this is to investigate how different contexts may lead to different communication patterns, different experiences, and different decisions.  In this thesis context was varied in two different ways in two experiments. In the first experiment the goal set for the decision-making was varied. A competitive goal was contrasted to a cooperative goal in a group decision task using a sports scenario where the participants had to select members to a relay team. In the second experiment different information was used as a context variable. This was done by varying the information of gender and parenthood status of the applicants in a fictive recruitment scenario. In addition, in both experiments the gender composition in the groups was varied, forming yet another variable that might play a role for how the decision-making was carried out. These three factors were assumed to influence the form of the communication, the content of the communication in terms of stereotyping, and how the decision-making process was experienced. A mixed-method approach was chosen where quantitative and qualitative data were used in conjunction with each other, which was assumed to give a richer picture of the results.

In paper I the form of the communication, as analyzed with interaction process analysis (IPA), did not differ much between the two goals. On the other hand, the content showed more systematic patterns. A competitive goal seemed to lead to both inclusion and exclusion with use of both positive and negative stereotypes. A cooperative goal seemed to lead to inclusion mechanisms and only use of positive stereotypes. In paper II where the aim was to investigate what was experienced as constituting a successful decision-making process it was found that equality of influence was of importance. Furthermore, qualitative analyses of the conversation patterns, by use of the conversational argument coding scheme (CACS), seemed to validate this. The successful groups had a more complex communication pattern than the less successful groups. In paper III, where the information for the decision task was varied in terms of gender and parenthood status of the applicants, it was found that parenthood information triggered a lot of discussion. The participants did not differentiate between mothers and fathers, but they applied attributes of competence and warmth differently to the targets. Furthermore, gender and gender composition seemed to matter as male and female groups applied the attributes differently. Paper IV used data from both experiments in order to investigate how the context variables and gender composition influenced how the decision situation was experienced. The results indicate that the context variables and gender composition interacted with own gender. Men seemed more content in male groups with male targets and a male parent condition while women seemed more content in mixed groups and a female parent condition.

Context seems to play an important role, as it provides the participants in the group discussions with different information, leading to different patterns of stereotyping in the discussions. Also how the decision was experienced seems to be related to the context. Furthermore, group composition seems to function in this way too. The results are discussed in relation to practical implications and suggestions for future research. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2018. , p. 64
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 277
Keyword [en]
Competition, Cooperation, Gender, Group Decision-Making, Stereotype Content Model
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32857ISBN: 978-91-88527-43-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-32857DiVA, id: diva2:1183806
Public defence
2018-04-06, F 234, Mittuniversitetet, Östersund, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Vid tidpunkten för disputationen var följande delarbete opublicerat: delarbete 4 inskickat.

At the time of the doctoral defence the following paper was unpublished: paper 4 submitted.

Available from: 2018-02-20 Created: 2018-02-19 Last updated: 2018-02-20Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Competitive Versus Non-Competitive Goals in Group Decision-Making
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Competitive Versus Non-Competitive Goals in Group Decision-Making
2014 (English)In: Small Group Research, ISSN 1046-4964, E-ISSN 1552-8278, ISSN 1046-4964, Vol. 45, no 4, p. 451-464Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study presents results from a group decision task in which groups were assigned either a competitive or a non-competitive goal. A total of 20 groups were tasked with putting together a relay team either with the goal to maximize the chance to win or with the goal to maximize the sense of community. Interaction process analysis revealed that there were more positive reactions in groups with the non-competitive goal. Analysis of the content of the conversations showed all groups to go beyond information given about the target persons. Attributes associated with the stereotype dimensions of competence and warmth were used to characterize the persons who were to be included or excluded on the relay teams. Groups with a competitive goal applied both positive and negative attributes, whereas groups with a non-competitive goal applied only positive attributes. The results suggest that stereotypes are applied to legitimize decisions about inclusion and exclusion.

Keyword
decision-making, stereotyping, competition, cooperation
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-22259 (URN)10.1177/1046496414532954 (DOI)000342633200006 ()2-s2.0-84907086433 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Decision making in groups
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 90203101
Note

Publiced online on may 9th.

Available from: 2014-06-24 Created: 2014-06-24 Last updated: 2018-02-20Bibliographically approved
2. Conversational Arguments in Small Group Decision Making: Reasoning Activity and Perceived Influence over the Decision are Keys for Success
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conversational Arguments in Small Group Decision Making: Reasoning Activity and Perceived Influence over the Decision are Keys for Success
2014 (English)In: Independent in the heard: Inclusion and exclusion as social processes.: Proceedings from the 9th GRASP conference, Linköping University, May 2014 / [ed] Robert THornberg., Tomas Jungert., 2014, Vol. 121, p. 123p. 64-81Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This study explored decision making in small groups. There were 81 participants forming 21 ad-hoc groups of about four members each with the aim of reaching a joint decision. Correlations between participants’ evaluations of satisfaction and group efficiency on the one hand, and perceived equality in the influence over the discussion and the decision on the other hand, revealed associations especially with regard to influence over the decision. Those perceiving equal influence over the decision experienced more satisfaction and efficiency. Conversational patterns in three successful versus three unsuccessful groups (based on the group mean level of evaluated satisfaction and group efficiency) were analyzed by use of Conversational Argument Coding Scheme. Successful groups had more reasoning activities, especially responses and justifications, than did unsuccessful groups.

Publisher
p. 123
Series
Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings, ISSN 1650-3686 ; 121:004
Keyword
Conversational Arguments; Decision-making; Equality, Influence; Satisfaction; Small Groups
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-27365 (URN)978-91-7519-217-8 (ISBN)
Conference
Independent in the heard: Inclusion and exclusion as social processes. Proceedings from the 9th GRASP conference, Linköping University, May 2014
Available from: 2016-04-08 Created: 2016-04-08 Last updated: 2018-02-20Bibliographically approved
3. "What about the child issue?" Group negotiations of gender and parenthood contracts in recruitment situations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"What about the child issue?" Group negotiations of gender and parenthood contracts in recruitment situations
2017 (English)In: SOCIETY HEALTH & VULNERABILITY, ISSN 2002-1518, Vol. 8, no Sup 1, p. 1-12, article id UNSP 1317566Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Men and women becoming parents are supposed to have equal opportunities in working life. However, inequality and discrimination are not easily avoided. The aim of this study was to investigate how argumentation related to parenthood and careers takes form in group discussions of a fictional recruitment situation, and how stereotypes such as competence and warmth are manifested in such discussions. Thirty-five ad-hoc groups of university students were asked to make a choice between three candidates for a consultancy position. The first two candidates were a man and a woman, while the third alternately was described either as a man or a woman described as having a newborn child. Parenthood was sometimes seen as reducing competence, but it was more often viewed as adding to competence. Parenthood was also considered to add warmth to the organization. Interestingly, all groups avoided relating the parenthood issue to gender. Three conversation patterns were found, differing in the amount of elaboration of the topic of parenthood and work. It was concluded that the most elaborated kind seems to foster a situation where implicit norms are made visible more easily.

Keyword
Parenthood, group decision making, competence, warmth, recruitment
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-31345 (URN)10.1080/20021518.2017.1317566 (DOI)000424909600002 ()
Available from: 2017-08-08 Created: 2017-08-08 Last updated: 2018-03-19Bibliographically approved

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