Preeti Vani

Preeti Vani Srinivasan
PhD Student, Organizational Behavior
PhD Program Office Graduate School of Business Stanford University 655 Knight Way Stanford, CA 94305

Preeti Vani

Preeti Vani is a PhD Student in Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Prior to her PhD, she received her BA in Psychology from Harvard University, and her MA in Economics from Yale University. Preeti's research sits at the intersection of prosocial behavior and intergroup relations, especially as these topics relate to diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace. Specifically, she is interested in helping people be better allies to others who are "different" from them on important dimensions (ex: gender, race, sexual orientation). Her research agenda aims to help minority candidates in organizations overcome common obstacles to feeling heard, validated, and understood. When she's not hanging out in the ivory tower of academia, Preeti enjoys reading (usually historical fiction novels), traveling, doing theater or improv, and baking incessantly.

Faculty Advisors

Research Interests

  • allyship
  • prosocial behavior
  • diversity and inclusion

Publications

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In everyday life, people often have opportunities to improve others’ lives, whether offering well-intentioned advice or complimenting someone on a job well done. These are opportunities to provide “prosocial input” (information intended to benefit others), including feedback, advice, compliments, and expressions of gratitude. Despite widespread evidence that giving prosocial input can improve the well-being of both givers and recipients, people sometimes hesitate to offer their input. The current paper documents when and why people fail to give prosocial input, noting that potential givers overestimate the costs of doing so (e.g., making recipients uncomfortable) and underestimate the benefits (e.g., being helpful) for at least four psychological reasons. Unfortunately, the reluctance to give prosocial input results in a short supply of kindness.

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How does the self-relevance of a social movement shape individuals’ engagement with it? We examined the decision-making processes that underlie support for Black Lives Matter (BLM) among Black, Hispanic, Asian, and White Americans. We find significant between-group differences in levels of support for BLM, both in terms of past behavior (Study 1) and in terms of future intentions to support the movement (Study 2). These differences notwithstanding, thinking about how one’s decisions impact others - which we label impact mindset - explains support for BLM across racial groups, cross-sectionally as well as longitudinally (over 8 months later). Our findings underscore the equivalence of the impact mindset construct across racial groups and its predictive power in the context of BLM. We conclude that, although the struggle for racial justice has different meanings for different racial groups, the same mindset underlies both in-group advocacy and allyship in the context of BLM.

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Whom do individuals blame for intergroup conflict? Do people attribute responsibility for intergroup conflict to the in-group or the out-group? Theoretically integrating the literatures on intergroup relations, moral psychology, and judgment and decision-making, we propose that unpacking a group by explicitly describing it in terms of its constituent subgroups increases perceived support for the view that the unpacked group shoulders more of the blame for intergroup conflict. Five preregistered experiments (N = 3,335 adults) found support for this novel hypothesis across three distinct intergroup conflicts: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, current racial tensions between White people and Black people in the United States, and the gender gap in wages in the United States. Our findings (a) highlight the independent roles that entrenched social identities and cognitive, presentation-based processes play in shaping blame judgments, (b) demonstrate that the effect of unpacking groups generalizes across partisans and nonpartisans, and (c) illustrate how constructing packed versus unpacked sets of potential perpetrators can critically shape where the blame lies.

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Allyship is a growing phenomenon in many organizational contexts, and the involvement of advantaged group allies in identity-oriented social movements (e.g., men in the feminist movement) is ubiquitous. However, the impression that these advantaged group allies make on their intended beneficiaries is unclear. Over the course of four studies, we explore disadvantaged group activists' attitudes toward their advantaged group allies. We find converging evidence that disadvantaged group activists prefer advantaged group allies who engage in actions that demonstrate high levels of trustworthiness (e.g., selflessness, loyalty) and low levels of influence (e.g., centrality, power) in the movement, whereas non-activists show only a significant preference on the influence dimension. This evidence was observed in a survey of 117 social movement activists (Study 1), and in three experiments with 752 liberal women and nonbinary individuals (Study 2), 305 feminist social movement activists (Study 3), and a separate sample of 805 feminist social movement activists (Study 4). Taken together, our research documents the causal effects that different allyship behaviors have on beneficiaries' attitudes toward advantaged group allies (Studies 2, 3, & 4) while recruiting samples of currently engaged movement activists to solicit their unique perspectives (Studies 1, 3, & 4). We thereby identify the specific ways of being an advantaged group ally that elicit the most positive impressions from their intended beneficiaries, which have direct implications for supporting intergroup coalitions and social change.