In the present study, we investigated whether respectful treatment shaped participants’ perceptions of procedural justice during interactions with out-group authorities, and whether the effects of respectful treatment would extend to participants’ attachment to their in-group and to the authority’s social group. We hypothesised that the nature of the relationship between the out-group and a participant’s social group (diametrically opposed vs. not opposed to one another) would moderate the effect of respect on participants’ procedural justice judgements, attachment to the in-group, and attachment to the out-group. Participants (n = 186) read a short, fictitious news story describing an interaction between a fellow in-group member (the subordinate) and an authority. As predicted, respectful treatment increased perceptions of procedural justice and also led participants to feel more attached to the authority’s social group. Contrary to expectation, participants’ attachment to their in-group was not affected by treatment, but instead by authority group membership: interactions with an authority from a social group diametrically opposed to the participant’s social group led participants to become significantly more attached to their in-group, regardless of the authority’s behaviour (respectful vs. disrespectful) in the interaction. Results are discussed in terms of practical strategies for authorities to effectively manage interactions with out-group subordinates.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
While the 19 % failure rate for authority group membership appears high, participants failed this manipulation check at equal rates across the three conditions, the failure rate is similar to other online studies (e.g. Sivasubramaniam, Klettke, Clough, & Oleyar, 2015), and all participants who failed the manipulation check were excluded from the final sample, preserving the integrity of the reported results.
Ashmore, R. D., Jussim, L., & Wilder, D. (2001). Social identity, intergroup conflict, and conflict reduction. New York: Oxford University Press.
Baldassarri, D., & Grossman, G. (2013). The effect of group attachment and social position on prosocial behaviour: Evidence from lab-in-the-field experiments. Social Structure and Prosocial behaviour, 8, 1–9.
Brewer, M. B. (2007). The importance of being we: Human nature and intergroup relations. American Psychologist, 62(8), 728.
Brown, R. (2000). Social identity theory: Past achievements, current problems and future challenges. European Journal of Social Psychology, 30, 745–778.
Collins, R. (1981). On the microfoundations of macrosociology. American Journal of Sociology, 86, 984–1014.
Collisson, B., & Howell, J. L. (2014). The liking-similarity effect: Perceptions of similarity as a function of liking. The Journal of Social Psychology, 154(5), 384–400.
Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7(2), 117–140.
Folger, R. (1977). Distributive and procedural justice: Combined impact of “voice” and improvement on experienced equality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 108–119.
Goodman-Delahunty, J. (2010). Four ingredients: New recipes for procedural justice in Australian policing. Policing: A Journal of Policing and Practice, 4, 403–410.
Heuer, L., Blumenthal, E., Douglas, A., & Weinblatt, T. (1999). A deservingness approach to respect as a relationally based fairness judgment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25(10), 1279–1292.
Heuer, L., Penrod, S., & Kattan, A. (2007). The role of societal benefits and fairness concerns among decision makers and decision recipients. Law and Human Behavior, 31(6), 573–610.
Heuer, L., & Stroessner, S. J. (2011). The multi-value basis of procedural justice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 541–553.
Huo, Y. J., Smith, H. J., Tyler, T. R., & Lind, E. A. (1996). Superordinate identification, subgroup identification, and justice concerns: Is separatism the problem; is assimilation the answer? Psychological Science, 7, 40–45.
Jackson, J. W. (1993). Realistic group conflict theory: A review and evaluation of the theoretical and empirical. Psychological Record, 43(3), 395.
Janis, I. L. (1982). Groupthink: Psychological studies of foreign policy decisions and fiascoes. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.
Jost, J. T., & Kay, A. C. (2010). Social justice: History, theory, and research. In Handbook of social psychology.
Korsgaard, M. A., Schweiger, D. M., & Sapienza, H. J. (1995). Building commitment, attachment, and trust in strategic decision-making teams: The role of procedural justice. Academy of Management Journal, 38(1), 60–84.
LaFromboise, T. D., Coleman, H. L., & Gerton, J. (1993). Psychological impact of biculturalism: Evidence and theory. Psychological Bulletin, 114(3), 395–412.
Lind, E. A., & Earley, P. C. (1992). Procedural justice and culture. International Journal of Psychology, 27, 227–242.
Lind, E. A., Kanfer, R., & Earley, C. P. (1990). Voice, control, and procedural justice: Instrumental and non-instrumental concerns in fairness judgements. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 952–959.
Lind, E. A., Lissak, R. E., & Conlon, A. E. (1983). Decision control and process control effects on procedural fairness judgments. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 4, 338–350.
Lind, E. A., & Tyler, T. R. (1988). The social psychology of procedural justice. New York: Plenum Publishing.
Mowday, R. T., Steers, R. M., & Porter, L. W. (1979). The measurement of organizational commitment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 14, 224–247.
Paxton, P., & Moody, J. (2003). Structure and sentiment: Explaining emotional attachment to group. Social Psychology Quarterly, 66, 34–47.
Shaw, M. E. (1981). Group dynamics: The psychology of small group behaviour. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Sherif, M., Harvey, O. J., White, B. J., Hood, W., & Sherif, C. W. (1961). Intergroup conflict and cooperation: The robbers cave experiment (pp. 155–184). Norman, OK: The University Book Exchange.
Sivasubramaniam, D., Klettke, B., Clough, J., Schuller, R., & Oleyar, K. (2015). Jurors’ consideration of inadmissible evidence: A motivational explanation. Journal of Judicial Administration, 24, 154–171.
Sumner, W. G. (1906). Folkways. New York: Ginn.
Tajfel, H. (1982). Social psychology of intergroup relations. Annual Review of Psychology, 33, 1–39.
Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 33–47). Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Thibaut, J., & Walker, L. (1975). Procedural justice: A psychological analysis. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Thibaut, J., Walker, L., LaTour, S., & Houlden, P. (1974). Procedural justice as fairness. Stanford Law Review, 26, 1271–1289.
Tyler, T. R. (1987). Conditions leading to value-expressive effects in judgments of procedural justice: A test of four models. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 333–344.
Tyler, T. R. (1989). The psychology of procedural justice: A test of the group-value model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 830–838.
Tyler, T. R., & Blader, S. L. (2000). Cooperation in groups: Procedural justice, social identity, and behavioural engagement. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.
Tyler, T. R., & Blader, S. L. (2003). The group-engagement model: Procedural justice, social identity, and cooperative behaviour. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 7, 349–361.
Tyler, T. R., & Lind, E. A. (1992). A relational model of authority in groups. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 25, 115–191.
Tyler, T. R., Rasinski, K., & Spodick, N. (1985). The influence of voice on satisfaction with leaders: Exploring the meaning of process control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 72–81.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
About this article
Cite this article
Davies, L., Sivasubramaniam, D. Respectful Inter-Group Interactions: A Method for Revising Group Attachment?. Soc Just Res 29, 288–309 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11211-016-0268-8
- Procedural justice
- Inter-group attachment
- Intra-group attachment