Social Psychological Theory

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Social psychological theory describes a variety of knowledge-based constructs that might relate to traits common to all individuals (Matthews, Deary, & Whiteman, 2003). Attitude formation, measurement and change, attributional thinking, the social construction of self, cognitive dissonance, and others, are just some of the theories under social psychology (Ward, 1995). The social psychological theory of self-categorization is especially relevant for discussing the relationship between group members, social identity, and sharing beliefs in a group.

This is very effective within an organization. Individuals form social identity by being psychologically connected to social groups through their self-definition as members of social categories. Emotional and psychological implications, is meaningful for intergroup relations because he assumed that people are motivated to maintain positive self-evaluation through differentiation between in-groups and out-groups.

Self-categorization theory extends this elaboration and provides further explanation of individuals’ self-definition as group members and of the antecedents and consequences of psychological group formation. The theory postulates that through the basic cognitive process of self-categorization, people define themselves in terms of a shared social category, for example, men. This self-categorization leads to perceptual emphasis of intragroup similarities and intergroup divergences on pertinent associated proportions.

That is, when people stereotype themselves and others in terms of salient social categorization, they enhance perceptual identity between self and in-group members, on the one hand, and enhance perceptual contrast between in-group and out-group members, on the other hand. In this process, individuals transform themselves into a collective, which is based on shared conceptions of social identity. The more accessible the particular shared conception of social identity, the more individuals depersonalize their self-perception and view themselves as group members.

Furthermore, the theory posits that shared social identity produces shared expectation of agreement between in-group members. When there is disagreement within the group about beliefs that are supposed to be consensual, subjective uncertainty arises. In this situation, group members in an organization exert social influence and, through persuasion and negotiation, try to establish consensus (Bar-Tal, 2000).

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