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Friday, April 19, 2019

Leader's group-norm violations elicit intentions to leave the group – If the group-norm is not affirmed

Lara Ditrich, AdrianLüders, Eva Jonas, & Kai Sassenberg
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Available online 2 April 2019


Group members, even central ones like group leaders, do not always adhere to their group's norms and show norm-violating behavior instead. Observers of this kind of behavior have been shown to react negatively in such situations, and in extreme cases, may even leave their group. The current work set out to test how this reaction might be prevented. We assumed that group-norm affirmations can buffer leaving intentions in response to group-norm violations and tested three potential mechanisms underlying the buffering effect of group-norm affirmations. To this end, we conducted three experiments in which we manipulated group-norm violations and group-norm affirmations. In Study 1, we found group-norm affirmations to buffer leaving intentions after group-norm violations. However, we did not find support for the assumption that group-norm affirmations change how a behavior is evaluated or preserve group members' identification with their group. Thus, neither of these variables can explain the buffering effect of group-norm affirmations. Studies 2 & 3 revealed that group-norm affirmations instead reduce perceived effectiveness of the norm-violator, which in turn predicted lower leaving intentions. The present findings will be discussed based on previous research investigating the consequences of norm violations.

The research is here.