Research Shows How To Battle Intergroup Bias with Effective Intergroup Leadership

February 22, 2022by Vanessa Chapman

Summary of:

Kershaw, C., Rast, D. E., Hogg, M. A., & Knippenberg, D. (2021). Battling ingroup bias with effective intergroup leadership. British Journal of Social Psychology.

Background & Theory

Intergroup conflict is bound to occur, but one of the most important elements in de-escalating conflict is having effective leadership. This article elucidates the methodologies in being an influential and positive leader amongst others. This article focuses on avoiding threatening groups identities, highlights viewing people as equals regardless of hierarchial status, and how our cultural background intertwines into our professional lives.

Research Question(s)

Kershaw, C., Rast, D. E., Hogg, M. A., & Knippenberg, D. (2021). Battling ingroup bias with effective intergroup leadership. British Journal of Social Psychology.

1.) What are some methodologies leaders should incorporate when dealing with conflict?
2.) How do our cultural backgrounds influence the decisions we make?


A role for intergroup leadership:

This method correlates to how important leadership is in any organization. Leaders have the power to influence others and be a key part of making big decisions for the company and the people supporting the success of the company. If leaders ignore the social identity of their employees, there is a lack of trust and a detriment in the relationship from the get-go. Studies show that reducing inter-subgroup conflict is not the same as reducing interpersonal conflict. Leaders should focus their energy in carefully navigating social categories and boundaries, while promoting collective identity when there is a diverse group.

Limitations and future directions

Although social psychologists have studied ways to reduce intergroup bias, conflict, and discrimination, there has been a lack of attention around leadership. The studies show that lack of identity distinctiveness can be a threat to corporate culture. In leaders identifying with the group, there is a lesser chance for conflict to arise. The studies show that a limitation can also include manipulation tactics amongst employees. The studies show to keep these checks and studies as short as possible.


The results show how important it is to have effective intergroup leaders. In having such leaders in place, they can improve intergroup relations and enhance productivity. One of the key elements as a leader is to show that you are part of the team and ultimately reduce power dynamics in the workplace. If leaders take the time to thoroughly understand their team’s goals, identities, and unmet needs, the organization can truly thrive in a productive and positive environment.

What This Means

  • To be an effective leader, one must put themselves in the shoes of their employees and create an environment of psychological safety
  • In creating an atmosphere of inclusion, people from diverse backgrounds are able to be comfortable in their identity and be open when communicating with others
  • Intergroup relational identity is a key factor when trying to lower intergroup bias.

Final Takeaway

For consultants: As leaders in any organization it’s important to continue learning about the best methodologies in becoming a positive and influential leader. By understanding power dynamics and the groups’ identity, we are able to create a cohesive workplace environment.
For everyone: In any relationship is important to be open minded and be respectful of each individuals identity; in being compassionate and open, we are able to deepen our relationships across the board.

Vanessa Chapman

Vanessa is a legal consultant who focuses her time in the Criminal Defense Sector. She aids attorneys with the psychology-building aspect of cases. Vanessa has a background in Business, Psychology, and Mediation. She is currently building out a life coaching program with an emphasis on relationship transformation. Some of her hobbies include continuous learning, reading, writing, and participating in yoga retreats!

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