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Group Reactions to Risky Prospective Members

Robinson, Debbie Rene (2004) Group Reactions to Risky Prospective Members. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Most research on the consequences of rejection focuses on intrapersonal issues, such as an increased need to belong, negative affect, and decreased self-esteem. Rejected individuals often seek to cope with these problems by establishing new social bonds. However, there is no research on whether these efforts are successful. A prospective member rejected by one group may seem risky and thus unattractive to other groups he or she seeks to join. My research extended Sitkin and Pablo's (1992) model of risky decision-making from individuals to groups, so that group responses to such persons could be examined. A field experiment was carried out on small classroom groups (N = 57) that worked together on group activities throughout a semester. Students' course grades were partially determined by the performance of their groups. Five group characteristics were measured and correlated with risk propensity (the tendency for groups to take risks). Groups that were more cohesive, potent, ambitious, successful, and perceived that outside help was available and valuable, had lower risk propensities. Risk propensity was unrelated to how risky prospective members seemed, or how willing groups were to admit them. Rejected individuals were perceived as riskier than non-rejected individuals, and groups were less willing to admit rejected than non-rejected individuals. A 2 (Reason for rejection: task vs. social) x 2 (Expectancy: high vs. low) repeated measures design examined how the characteristics of rejected individuals affected how risky they seemed to groups, and how willing groups were to admit them. Groups perceived individuals who were rejected for reasons likely to occur again (high expectancy) as riskier, and they were less willing to admit these individuals. Groups also perceived more risk among prospective members who were rejected for reasons relevant to their group's orientation (task or social). Rejection apparently makes it difficult for individuals to enter new groups, which could exacerbate the negative intrapersonal effects of rejection.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Robinson, Debbie Renedebbier@pitt.eduDEBBIER
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMoreland, Richard Lcslewis@pitt.eduCSLEWIS
Committee MemberSchofield, Janet Wschof@pitt.eduSCHOF
Committee MemberLevine, John Mjml@pitt.eduJML
Committee MemberHurwitz, Jonathanhurwitz@pitt.eduHURWITZ
Date: 25 June 2004
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 22 April 2004
Approval Date: 25 June 2004
Submission Date: 3 May 2004
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Faculty of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: group membership; group socialization; small group processes; Group decision making; risky decision making
Other ID:, etd-05032004-130601
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:43
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:43


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