Çakal, H., Halabi, S., Cazan, A. M., & Eller, A. (2021). Intergroup contact and endorsement of social change motivations: The mediating role of intergroup trust, perspective-taking, and intergroup anxiety among three advantaged groups in Northern Cyprus, Romania, and Israel. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 24(1), 48–67. https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430219885163
Background & Theory
We have covered summaries of many research studies looking at various facets of Intergroup contact theory. This one looks specifically at the effect of intergroup contact and social identification on social change among three advantaged groups in Cyprus, Romania, and Israel. A lot of existing research shows how disadvantaged individuals engage in social change efforts to address structural inequalities. However, little is known about the psychological conditions that promote or hinder support for social change benefitting the disadvantaged among members of advantaged groups.
The researchers hypothesized that:
H1: More contact with the disadvantaged out-group will be associated with more endorsement of its social change motivations via increased intergroup trust and perspective-taking, and decreased intergroup anxiety.
H2: Stronger in-group identification will be associated with less endorsement of the disadvantaged out-group’s social change motivations via decreased intergroup trust and perspective-taking, and increased intergroup anxiety.
H3: More contact with the disadvantaged out-group will be associated with less support for collective action in favor of the advantaged in-group via increased intergroup trust and perspective-taking, and decreased intergroup anxiety.
H4: Stronger in-group identification will be associated with more support for collective action in favor of the advantaged in-group via decreased intergroup trust and perspective-taking, and increased intergroup anxiety.
In the first study, the authors recruited 336 adult participants online who self-identified as Turkish Cypriots. They were invited to participate in a survey on current political issues in Northern Cyprus. The researchers measured all variables by multi-item 7-point Likert-type scales and used a structural equation modeling approach to test their model.
Intergroup contact was measured with items like “How often do you interact with your Turkish friends?”; “How often do you participate in the special days (birthdays, funerals, and other similar occasions) of your Turkish friends/their family?”. Ingroup identification as Turkish Cypriot was measured by three items: “Being Turkish Cypriot is an important part of my identity,” “I am very happy to be a Turkish Cypriot,” “I am very proud to be a Turkish Cypriot.” Intergroup trust was measured by three items: “Most members of the Turkish immigrant community in Cyprus can be trusted,” “Despite everything, I trust Turkish immigrants,” and so on.
In all three studies, the authors found that intergroup contact led the advantaged groups to support social change motivations of the disadvantaged outgroups through increased trust, perspective-taking, and reduced anxiety. Ingroup identification weakened their intention to support social change motivations via perspective-taking and intergroup anxiety in Study 2, and via intergroup trust, perspective-taking, and intergroup anxiety in Study 3.
How This Translates for the Workplace
- Intergroup contact between staff members: In large companies, it might be hard for teams to be able to communicate with each other routinely. But as intergroup contact shows a positive correlation between communication and advocacy for reform, the organization’s management must be committed to improving this communication between various teams. This can happen through events, collaborative meetings, or team-building activities. Contact us for tips on how to improve this employee interaction across workplace hierarchies, and make your company more inclusive!
- Openness to change: Does the company management allow for there to be mobilization of staff or labor? It is imperative to work on the attitudes of top management when it comes to conversations around better policies and rights of all employees. If there is enough communication and interaction between the top management, the different teams, and rest of the staff, it must also lead to more trust and honest conversation about what changes employees desire in their work environments. We at PPS offer training for workplaces in diversity, inclusion, as well as conflict resolution. Contact us to make your management more open to these ideas and make your workplace more inclusive!