Group Processes & Intergroup Relations vol:13 issue:4 pages:461-475
This experiment tested the combined impact of premerger status (low,high) and relative representation (low,high)on identification with a merged group and on bias expressed towards members of the merger partner. In phase 1, 111 university students were assigned to a premerger team of "inductive" thinkers. Premerger status was manipulated by informing participants that their team had performed worse or better than a deductionist team on a decision-making task. In phase 2, the participants' premerger team was supposedly merged with this deductionist team to form a new merger team of analyst thinkers. Relative representation was manipulated by preserving either most or none of the characteristics of the premerger team in the new merger team. The results revealed a significant interaction between premerger status and relative representation on both postmerger identification and ingroup bias. Participants belonging to a high premerger status group confronted with a low relative representation reported less postmerger identification and more bias than participants in the other three conditions. Moreover, relative representation, but not premerger status, moderated the relation between postmerger identification and ingroup bias. More specifically, when relative representation was high, postmerger identification and ingroup bias were positively related. By contrast, when relative representation was low, postmerger identification and ingroup bias were negatively related. These results confirm the predictions based on the Ingroup Projection Model.