Is She with Us? Perceptions of an Ingroup Member’s Solidarity as a Function of Her Success

Is She with Us? Perceptions of an Ingroup Member’s Solidarity as a Function of Her Success

By
Naomi Fa-Kaji, Brian Lowery
Academy of Management Proceedings. July
9, 2018, Vol. 2018, Issue 1

This paper examines disadvantaged group members’ perceptions of successful individuals from their group (e.g., women perceiving a successful woman). We find that women’s perceptions of a successful woman’s ties to the group and willingness to help other women are influenced by their own beliefs about the degree to which women as a group are disadvantaged. More specifically, when learning about a successful target, the more that perceivers believe that their group is disadvantaged, the more they assume that she feels tied to the group. Furthermore, if perceivers believe that this successful woman feels tied to the group, this will lead them to presume that she will be likely to engage in actions that help the group by targeting the barriers that its members face. These findings have implications for collective action: perceiver’s own beliefs about their group’s relative disadvantage will impact who they view as a potential ally. To the extent that perceiver’s beliefs about a successful ingroup individual are mismatched to the individual’s actual beliefs, efforts to form coalitions to push for the betterment of the group are likely to fail.