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Legitimacy, Compliance, and Gender in Peer Groups

Cecilia L. Ridgeway, David Diekema and Cathryn Johnson
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 58, No. 4 (Dec., 1995), pp. 298-311
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2787130
Page Count: 14
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Legitimacy, Compliance, and Gender in Peer Groups
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Abstract

Peer groups pose special problems of understanding the legitimation of informal hierarchies. How and to what extent are cultural accounts evoked to support these hierarchies and make them normative for group members? We test a theory of this process that makes two predictions: 1) peer group members are less likely to treat their hierarchy as legitimate than are members of a group where standing is based on consistent external status advantages that evoke more cultural support for the hierarchy; 2) legitimation in peer groups is more likely than in group where standing is based on high task ability but low external status and cultural support is uncertain. Using compliance with a high-ranking member's directive dominance attempts as an indicator of legitimacy, and experiment with same-sex dyads confirmed both predictions for male groups. In female groups, the first prediction was supported but not the second. Other effects of gender composition occurred as well.

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