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Leader-Versus-Member and Fair-Versus-Biased Categorizations as Safeguards Against Negative Effects of Racial Diversity on Group Attraction

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Abstract: The authors performed two controlled laboratory experiments jointly guided by information integration theory and social identity theory to investigate how two task-oriented diversities -- leadership and reputation -- safeguard against possible negative effects of the relations oriented diversity of race on group attraction. In Experiment 1, the race of the team leader was crossed with that of the team member. As hypothesized, the leader categorization had a stronger effect than the member categorization, and group attraction was driven by both the in-group preference and the out-group derogation. In Experiment 2, the additional task oriented manipulation was of the leader reputation as fair versus biased. As predicted, racial differences among members did not influence group attraction, but the fair reputation reduced the difference between the in-group and out-group leader by race much more than did the biased reputation. Findings illustrate operation of positive social identity considerations due to relations-oriented diversity of race in teams. Importantly, the leadership and reputation categorizations can indeed be effective safeguards against negative effects of relations oriented diversity on group attraction. Conceptual and applied implications are discussed.

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