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Status in Groups: The Importance of Motivation

Cecilia L. Ridgeway
American Sociological Review
Vol. 47, No. 1 (Feb., 1982), pp. 76-88
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095043
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Status in Groups: The Importance of Motivation
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Abstract

This paper presents evidence that members' perceived motivation towards the group is an important determinant of the influence and status they attain in task-oriented groups. Following Meeker and Weitzel-O'Neill (1977) and Ridgeway (1978), it was suggested that people who enter a group with low external status characteristics (e.g., women in mixed sex groups, blacks in interracial groups) can use the communication of group-oriented motivation in combination with reasonably competent task contributions to overcome the fundamental inequality ("interaction disability") they would normally face, and achieve reasonably high levels of influence in the group. Results of an experiment using mixed and same sex groups showed that while group-oriented members are generally more influential than self-oriented ones, as predicted, the size of motivation's effect is dependent upon the member's external status characteristics. Females in male groups (low external status members) achieved fairly high influence and status when they appeared group-oriented, but very low status when self-oriented. As expected males in a female group (high external status members) achieved high influence regardless of their motivation.

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