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Eliminating Status Generalization
Lee Freese and Bernard P. Cohen
Vol. 36, No. 2 (Jun., 1973), pp. 177-193
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2786565
Page Count: 17
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In small, task-focused groups undifferentiated in power and prestige, previous research has shown that introducing a status difference among group members generates observable differences in power and prestige even at tasks not obviously related to the status characteristic. A social psychological theory is presented which shows that this generalization effect can be arrested if actors are simultaneously discriminated by performance attributes which contradict expectations associated with the status characteristic. If neither a performance attribute nor a status characteristic is known in advance to be relevant to group problem-solving, observable power and prestige differences in the problem-solving situation are nevertheless predicted to coincide with the distribution of the performance attribute. The status differential is predicted to have no effect. Results of an experimental test are reported which lend unequivocal support for the theory.
Sociometry © 1973 American Sociological Association