What is it about?
Members of high-status groups (e.g. men) often lead social justice efforts that seek to benefit low-status groups (e.g. women). How do observers respond to such instances of visible and influential solidarity? Our research examines this question in the context of non-profit organizationst that seek to address gender inequality (Studies 1, 3, 4) or racial inequality (Study 4). Results show that the presence of influential high-status group leaders can discourage members of low-status groups from joining the social justice effort. This is because members of low-status groups perceive a specific problem presented by high-status groups (low awareness of inequality) and report lower levels of hope. We provide evidence that low-status group members' negative responses to leaders from the high-status outgroup cannot be solely explained by group bias.
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Why is it important?
Results provide the first evidence that the presence of influential high-status group leaders can discourage members of low-status groups from joining a social justice effort that seeks to benefit their ingroup. Non-profit organizations should thus carefully consider the composition of their leadership teams.
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This page is a summary of: Mobilized or marginalized? Understanding low-status groups’ responses to social justice efforts led by high-status groups., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, August 2020, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/pspi0000325.
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