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European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol.

19, 171-202 (1989)

Social identity theory: a conceptual and


empirical critique from the perspective
of a behavioural interaction model*

JACOB M. RABBIE, JAN C. SCHOT and


LIEUWE VlSSERt
Institute of Social Psychology,
University of Utrecht,
The Netherlands

Abstract

After a conceptual and methodological critique of Social Identity Theory (SIT), it is


argued, in sharp contrast to SIT but consistent with a Behavioural Interaction Model
(BIM), that the allocations in the standard Minimal Group Paradigm (MGP) -which
provide the main evidence for SIT- can be best reinterpreted as instrumental,
rational behaviour aimed at maximizing the economic self-interests of the subjects
rather than efforts on their part to strive for a positive social identity as SIT has
claimed. Explicit social categorization appears to be only one of the many unit-
forming factors which may affect allocations within and between group boundaries in
the MGP.
Group polarization effects indicate that groups, guided by their perceived inter-
dependence on the recipients of their allocations seem more rational and effective than
their individual members prior to the group discussion in maximizing their economic
outcomes.
Finally, it is concluded that BIM provides probably a more parsimonious
explanation of all the usualfindings obtained by the standard MGP than SIT.

INTRODUCTION

In his recent work, Turner (1982, 1985; Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher and Wetherell,
1987) has made a distinction between two approaches to the study of intergroup

*The Dutch Organization for the Advancement of Research (NWO) is gratefully acknowledged for funding
this project. This research was conducted while J. C. Schot was supported by a PSYCHON-grant of this
organization (560-270-012), awarded to Dr J. M. Rabbie.
tThis paper is based on earlier publications of Rabbie, Schot and Visser (1987), Rabbie, Schot, Mojet and
Visser (1988), Rabbie and Horwitz (1988) and Honvitz and Rabbie (1989). It can therefore be considered as
a real group product. We thank all the others for their inspiration and assistance.

0046-2772/89/030171-32$16.00 Received 24 January I989


0 1989 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Accepted 25 March 1989
172 J. M. Rabbie et al.

relations: a Social Cohesion (1982) or an Interdependence Perspective (1985), as he


calls them on the one hand, and Social Identity Theory (SIT) and his own extension of
S I T Self Categorization Theory (1985, 1987) on the other hand. Primarily on the
basis of research with the Minimal Group Paradigm (MGP) of Tajfel, Billig, Bundy
and Flament (1971) - a particular version of the minimal intergroup situation - he
rejects the interdependence perspective in favour of his own approach.
In this paper we will review this controversy, referring to the different kinds of
minimal intergroup situations which have been designed to test these different
conceptions. In the second section of the paper, research will be reported, which in our
view, offers more support for our interpretation of the standard MGP results than for
the interpretation derived from SIT as developed by Tajfel and Turner (1979, 1985).
The design of the present experiment was guided by our Behavioural Interaction
Model (BIM) in which an attempt is made to integrate these two seemingly conflicting
conceptions (Rabbie, 1987; Rabbie and Lodewijkx, 1987a,b).

Social groups and social categories


The controversy between the interdependence perspective and social identity theory
boils down to the question how a basic concept like a social group should be defined.
In an earlier paper we have argued that a conceptual distinction should be made
between social groups and social categories. We wrote: ‘The view that a social group is
a unit capable of acting or being acted upon, of moving or being moved, toward or
away from benefits and harms should be distinguished from the view that a group is
simply a social category, i.e. a collection of individuals who share at least one attribute
in common that distinguishes them from others . . . ’(Horwitz and Rabbie, 1982, p.
249). The idea that perceived interdependence between individual members of a social
unit rather than similarity is the defining characteristic of a social group can be traced
back to the distinction Lewin (1948) has made between groups and categories, more
than 40 years ago, when he discussed the psychological impact of the persecution of
Jews in Nazi Germany on Jews elsewhere in the world. He argued ‘that similarity
between persons merely permits their classification,their subsumption under the same
abstract concept, whereas belonging to the same social group means concrete,
dynamic interrelation between persons’ (Lewin, 1948, p. 184). Addressing himself to
the parents of Jewish adolescents in the United States who felt uncertain about their
belongingness to the Jewish group, he wrote: ‘. . . belonging or not belonging to the
Jewish group is not a matter mainly of similarity or dissimilarity, nor even one oflike
or dislike (our italics; CJ Turner, 1982, p. 16). He will understand that regardless of
whether the Jewish group is a racial, religious, national or cultural one, the fact that it
is classified by the majority as a distinct group is what counts . .. He will see that the
main criterion of belongingness is interdependence of fate’ (italics in the original;
Lewin, 1948 p. 184). He emphasized (p. 54) that the experience of a common (or an
interdependence of) fate is as applicable to a ‘compact unit’ such as a face-to-face
group as to a ‘loose mass’ such as the ‘Jews all over the world’ (p. 148).
Lewin’s conception was the point of departure for our first minimal intergroup
experiments (Rabbie, 1966; Rabbie and Horwitz, 1969). On the basis of his well-
known camp studies, Sherif (1966) has argued that intergroup bias, i.e. having a more
favourable attitude about the ingroup than about an outgroup, occurred only under
very complex circumstances. He believed that given two groups with well-developed
structures of roles, a leadership structure and norms, the existence of competing group
Social Identity Theory 173

goals (negative goal interdependence) will lead to intergroup hostility, while a


common superordinate goal (positive goal interdependence) will lead to intergroup
harmony. Stimulated by Sherifs ideas, Blake and Mouton (1961) designed training
exercises which enable participants to examine the conditions that either promote or
prevent intergroup antagonism. Our own work on the minimal intergroup situation
grew out of a number of experiences in working with the Blake-Mouton procedure
that called into question elements of Sherif‘s theoretical formulations. First, we found
that intergroup hostility was as readily aroused by competitive instructions to newly-
formed groups of strangers as to well-developed groups. Second, we observed that
intergroup hostility was also aroused by what we took to be cooperative or super-
ordinate goal instructions. Moreover, we found spontaneous intergroup rivalry
among well-developed groups even in the absence of explicit competitive instruc-
tions.
These unanticipated results led us to design an experiment the aim of which was ‘to
isolate the minimal conditions that are sufficient to generate discriminatory ingroup-
outgroup attitudes’ (Rabbie and Horwitz, 1969, p. 270). The experiment employed
several treatments that varied the perceived interdependence of fate within and
between two groups. Cartwright (1968, pp. 56-57) has suggested that the ‘external
designation’of members into a ‘socialdefined category’ imposes a ‘common fate’ upon
them in the sense that opportunities are given or denied to them ‘simply because of
their membership in the category’. He argued that ‘interdependence among members
develops because society gives them a “common fate”’ (p. 57).
Following their suggestions and those of Lewin (1948), an experiment was designed
in which strangers, males and females, were classified at random into two ‘distinct’
blue or green groups for alleged ‘administrative reasons’. They had no opportunity to
interact with each other, either within or between the groups involved. In the
experimental ‘common fate’ conditions, subjects were either privileged or deprived
relative to an outgroup solely as a function of their membership in the blue or green
group (negative intergroup interdependence). The subjects were rewarded or not on
the basis of chance (a flip of a coin), an authority figure (the experimenter) or,
allegedly, by the actions of one of the two groups. Presenting the experiment as a
study of first impressions, we asked subjects to stand up in turn, introduce themselves,
and rate each other on a variety of personality traits scaled along a favourable-
unfavourable dimension. In addition to the ratings of individual members, subjects
also rated the traits of each group as a whole. Thus, the ingroup-outgroup bias was
measured at an individual as well as at an intergroup level of analysis.
As expected, in the experimental ‘common fate’ conditions a significant greater
ingroup-outgroup bias was found in favour of the own group and its members,
particularly in the chance condition, in comparison with a control condition, in which
an attempt was made to create minimal or near-zero interdependence between the
groups. In that condition, the subjects were only classified as members of blue or green
groups and were neither privileged nor deprived as a function of their membership in
these groups. Our 1969 experiment failed to detect a bias in the control condition, but
with an increased N in follow-up experiments, subjects were found to give more
favourable ratings to the ingroup and its members than to the outgroup and its
members, especially on sociakmotional or relational traits (Horwitz and Rabbie,
1982, pp. 247-248). Apparently, the experimenter’s interests in dividing them into two
groups could have suggested to them that differential consequences might befall each
group as a whole (Rabbie and Horwitz, 1988, p. 118).
174 J. M. Rabbie el al.

Doise (1988) has noted that the experiment designed by Tajfel et al. (197 1) was
modelled with some modification on the control condition in our experiment. In the
initial modification of our control condition by Tajfel et al. (1971), subjects were again
classified into groups for ‘administrative reasons’. However, this time they were led to
believe that they were divided according to similarities or differences in their
individual characteristics, purportedly measured by tests of aesthetic preference (pro-
Kandinski versus pro-Klee) or of estimation tendencies (overestimators versus under-
estimators). The dependent measures of bias were a series of matrices by means of
which subjects could allocate money to and receive money from anonymous members
of each group. Tajfel’s modifications had the effect, first, of transforming the
experiment from one that manipulated intergroup interdependence as the sole
independent variable to one that simultaneously manipulated two independent
variables: intergroup interdependence and category differentiation. A second effect, as
we shall show below, was to make explicit and strengthen subjects’perceptions of their
differential interdependence with ingroup and outgroup members regarding their own
monetary outcomes. The experiment by Tajfel el al. (1971) found that subjects tended
to allocate more money to ingroup members than to outgroup members, but that they
did not depart too far from fairness, i.e. from equal allocations to both groups.
Initially, Tajfel et al. (1971) interpreted their results as a compromise solution
between two conflicting social norms which guided subjects’ behaviour. A ‘generic’
social norm of ‘groupness’(p. 175) according to which it seems ‘appropriate’ to favour
ingroup members and discriminate against outgroup members and a norm of fairness:
to give each group an equal share. They wrote: ‘. . . the pattern of data can be best
understood as showing a strategy in which a compromise between these two norms is
achieved’(Tajfe1et al., 1971, pp. 173-174).
In the same article, Tajfel et al. (1971) added a point that probably accounts for their
later abandonment of the generic ‘groupness’ norm explanation. They asserted,
gratuitously we believe, that the norm induces bias ‘even when such behaviour has no
“utilitarian” value to the individual or to his group . . .’ (p. 151). The statement seems
to deny that subjects in this situation perceived any interdependence among their
outcomes. The assertion that subjects’ behaviour had no utilitarian value to them as
individuals is curious in view of their instructions to the subjects ‘that they would
receive the amount of money that others awarded them’ (Tajfel et al., 1971, p. 155).
These instructions imply that the subjects may have perceived themselves to be
dependent for their financial outcomes on the decisions of both ingroup and outgroup
members. The assertion that the allocations had no utilitarian value, is especially
curious in the light of Tajfel’s report of subjects’ spontaneous comments: ‘It may be
worth mentioning that, in the interval between the two parts of the experimental
session, several subjects talked to the experimenter about the obvious thing to do ‘. . . to
get as much money as possible out of the situation’ (Tajfel et al., 1971, p. 172).
Apparently, what was obvious to the subjects was not obvious to the researchers!
The assumption that there is no interdependence of interest among groups and their
members in the minimal intergroup situation has been a central tenet in the
development of social identity theory. The claim is repeatedly made that in the
allocation task there is neither ‘. . . a conflict of interests . . . between the “groups” nor
there is any rational link between economic self interest and the strategy of in-group
favouritism’ (Tajfel and Turner, 1979, pp. 38-39). Again, insisting on the absence of
goal interdependence, Turner (1982) asserts that ‘. . . subjects discriminated against
anonymous outgroup members under conditions that they could not benefit from this
Social Identity Theory 175

strategy (p. 20; see also Turner et al. 1987, p. 27). It follows that if the cause of
behaviour cannot be found in the person’s perception of the situation, it must be
located within the person. The intra-personal cause proposed in the theory is the ‘need
to maintain or enhance . .. self esteem’ (Tajfel and Turner, 1979, p. 40). The steps in the
chain of assumptions by which this need is deemed to produce ‘competitive intergroup
processes’ is described as follows: ‘. . . psychological group membership has primarily a
perceptual or cognitive basis. . . . it considers that individuals structure their
perceptions of themselves and others by means of abstract social categories, that they
internalize these categories as aspects of their self-concepts, and that social cognitive
processes related to these forms of self-conception produce group behaviour’ (Turner,
1982, p. 16). Intergroup competition is then said to flow from social comparison
processes whereby one seeks superiority for oneself by aggrandizing one’s own group
or derogating the other group. We have argued elsewhere that social comparison
processes are certainly present in the minimal intergroup situation (Horwitz and
Rabbie, 1989). However, the first crucial assumption in the chain or arguments,
namely that subjects’categorization into, say a blue or a green group is internalized by
them to define their selves has not been adequately tested to our knowledge. Abrams
and Hogg (1988) have seriously questioned the validity of Turner’s assumption and the
studies which have been quoted in support of his proposal (e.g. Oakes and Turner,
1980; Lemyre and Smith, 1985). They have also pointed out that it is unclear whether
self-esteem is to be considered primarily as a cause or an effect of discrimination. In
our own work we could not find any evidence for Turner’s (1982) ‘internalization’
assumption (Schot, Horwitz, Rabbie and Visser, 1988).
We have proposed that perceived interdependence, for example as a consequence of
experiencing a ‘common fate’ (Lewin, 1948; Cartwright and Zander, 1968) or ‘a
common predicament’ (Sherif, 1966), is a crucial pre-condition for the formation of
social groups from which other processes may follow such as the emergence of specific
group norms, interpersonal attraction, ingroup-outgroup differentiation, group
identification and shared social identities (Rabbie, 1982; Rabbie and Horwitz, 1988).
Turner (in Turner et al., 1987) disagrees with this position. Referring to MGP studies
of Tajfel et al. (1971), Billig and Tajfel (1973), Turner, Sachdev and Hogg (1983) etc.,
he writes: ‘. . . interpersonal interdependence and attraction are not necessary condi-
tions for group formation, since the very conditions of these experiments are designed
to eliminate such factors as alternative explanations of the results’(p. 28). In the same
chapter, Turner (Turner et al., 1987, pp. 28-29) is also very doubtful about the position
of Cartwright and Zander (1968) who had argued, according to him, that the ‘external
designation’ of subjects as group members ‘somehow creates an implicit or indirect
from of interdependence’(p. 28). In Turner’s view ‘. . . the concept of “common fate” is
an elastic term which . . . seems to do no more than redescribe the phenomena to be
explained. The empirical data are consistent that members’ responses do not seem to
be motivated by self-interests (e.g., Turner, 1978; Turner, Brown and Tajfel, 1979) or
any assumed link between ingroup favouritism and the satisfaction of some individual
need . . .’(p. 29). This statement is somewhat confusing since he seems to imply that the
striving of individuals to ‘achieve or maintain a positive social identity’, which is a
crucial assumption of SIT, (see Tajfel and Turner, 1985, p. 16) cannot be considered as
an (intra-) ‘individual need’.
The main aim of this paper is to show that in the standard MGP, there is a rational
link between economic self-interests and the two major allocation strategies which are
often found in the MGP experiments: the strategy of ingroup favouritism and the
176 J. M. Rabbie et al.

‘influential strategy of fairness’ (Tajfel and Turner, 1979, p. 39): to give the ingroup
about as much as the outgroup.

Perceived interdependence in the minimal intergroup situation


The erroneous assumption that the ingroup-outgroup allocations in the standard
MGP of Tajfel et al. (1971) had no ‘utilitarian’value to the individual or his group (p.
151), is probably based on the idea that subjects in the standard MGP could only
allocate monetary points by means of the Tajfel-matrices to anonymous ingroup
members or anonymous outgroup members but never directly to themselves.
However, although subjects in the standard MGP cannot directly allocate money to
themselves, they can do it indirectly, on their reasonable assumption that the other
ingroup members will do the same to them. By giving more to their ingroup members
than to the outgroup members - in the expectation that the other ingroup member
will reciprocate this implicit cooperative interaction - they will increase their chances
of maximizing their own outcomes. This notion is analogous to the concept of
‘reciprocal altruism’ which has been developed in evolutionary biology (Trivers, 1971;
Dawkins, 1976; Axelrod, 1984).
Subjects receive no immediate feedback in the standard MGP about the con-
sequences of their allocation decisions. Thus, they react to a perceived or ‘constructed’
reality (Berger and Luckman, 1967). They ‘tacitly’ seem to coordinate their responses
with each other (Schelling, 1963) in trying to maximize their own individual self-
interests and probably the interests of their group as a whole. (We are not sure to what
extent individual or intergroup interests are involved, since in the standard MGP, it is
difficult to differentiate unambiguously between interpersonal and intergroup
behaviour as Bornewasser and Bober (1987, pp. 268-269) have pointed out in their
conceptual critique of social identity theory. A recent experiment suggests (Rabbie
and Schot, 1988a; Schot and Rabbie, 1989) that in the standard MGP interindividual
interests are probably more strongly involved than intergroup interests).
Our analysis is consistent with the goal-expectation theory of Pruitt and Kimmel
(1977). These authors assume, that subjects in the strategic environment of the
Prisoner’s Dilemma Game (PDG) are motivated by the particular interdependence
structure of the game, to strive for the long range instrumental goal of mutual
cooperation to maximize their own outcomes, provided that the other party can be
expected to cooperate.
Our reinterpretation of the results of the standard MGP is not new. On the
contrary, in discussing the effects of the ‘expectation of reciprocity’ on the allocation
behaviour of their subjects, Tajfel et al. (1971) argued, referring to the ‘generic’norm of
‘groupness’that: ‘. .. Considerations about the effects of “groupness” . . . would lead to
us expect that the Ss would assume others to behave as they themselves did, and that
this assumption would in turn affect their behaviour’ (p. 175, italics ours). This is of
course the same crucial point we are trying to make. Unfortunately, this argument was
not followed through to its inevitable conclusion, because as Tajfel et al. wrote: ‘no
data are available in the present studies concerning the Ss’ expectations about the
behaviour of other Ss’ (p. 175). They referred to a paper of Doise, Tajfel and Billig,
which they ‘just completed’, and in which these k.inds of expectations of the subjects
were ‘analyzed in some detail’ (p. 175), but, to our regret, this paper could not be
found in their references.
Social Identity Theory 177

A behavioural interaction model


Our reinterpretation of the MGP results is guided by our Behavioural Interaction
Model (BIM). Consistent with the interactionist position of Lewin (1936), this model
assumes that behaviour, including the allocation behaviour of subjects in the MGP, is
a function of the external environment and the cognitive, emotional, motivational and
normative orientations which are in part elicited by the external environment and in
part acquired by individuals, groups and other actors in the course of their
development. The main function of these psychological orientations is to reduce the
uncertainty in the external environment to such a manageable level that it enables the
individual or group to achieve desirable and to avoid undesirable outcomes (Mikula,
1984). The external environment consists of three components: a physical (task)
environment, an internal and an external social environment: i.e. the behaviour of
other people within and external to the social system and an interdependence structure
between the parties which may be loosely or tightly coupled, and symmetrical or
asymmetrical with regard to the power relations between the parties. These
psychological orientations produce a meaning system about the situation which in
turn generates various action tendencies in the actor. Although many types of meaning
systems may exist, we have focused our attention on instrumental and relational
orientations which combine with the different cognitive, emotional and motivational
and normative orientations which have been distinguished in the literature (Deutsch,
1982; McClintock, 1988) In line with various value-expectancy models (e.g. Lewin,
1952; Vroom, 1964; Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980), it is assumed that among competing
action tendencies and available strategies, those actions and alternatives will be chosen
that promise, with a high probability of success to attain the most valued goals or
profitable outcomes, whereby the gains clearly exceed the costs of achieving them.
According to our interaction model, the allocation behaviour of the subjects in the
MGP is a function of the cognitive expectancies and attributions about the behaviour
of others in the ingroup and outgroup, the low emotional involvement with the other
people in the anonymous, strategic environment of the MGP, the motivational orient-
ations to the allocation task and normative orientations such as reciprocity, fairness
and ‘generic group’ norms. These kinds of psychological orientations are mainly
elicited by the nature of the perceived interdependence structure of the MGP. The
subjects in the MGP, perceive a positive goal interdependence with ingroup members
and a negative goal interdependence with outgroup members in their efforts to
maximize their own economic self-interests and perhaps those of their fellow ingroup
members (cf. Bornewasser and Bober, 1987). Through instrumental cooperation with
ingroup members and primarily instrumental competition with outgroup members,
the subjects in the standard MGP are able to maximize their financial outcomes.
Instrumental cooperation (and competition) should be distinguished from social or
relational cooperation (and competition). In instrumental competition the aim is to
compete with others in order to achieve economic or other tangible outcomes.
Instrumental cooperation occurs when the interdependence structure between the
parties is such that it is better in the long run to cooperate with the other party to
maximize one’s outcomes than to compete with the other party as, for example occurs,
in the PDG (Pruitt and Kimmel, 1977). In social or relational cooperation the aim is to
achieve a mutually satisfying unit-relation with the other as an aim in and of itself
rather than as an instrument to reach an external goal (Lerner, 1980). The goal is to
attain a relational understanding with the other in an attempt to explore the possibility
178 J. M. Rabbie et a/.

whether the relation may grow in depth or will stay at a more superficial level (Rabbie
and Schot, 1988b). The goal of social or relational competition is aimed at
differentiating oneself, one’s own group, organization or own nation from similar
others in an effort to achieve prestige (Sherif, 1966), status, (Berger, Fysek, Norman
and Wagner, 1983), recognition (Lemaine, Kastersztein and Personnaz, 1978) or a
positive social identity (Tajfel and Turner, 1979).
Obviously these instrumental and relational orientations seldom exist in pure form.
According to our model, in most of our relationships there is a mix of these
instrumental and relational orientations in which one may dominate the other. Which
orientations prevail, depend on the uncertainties and the kind of physical and social
environment one has to cope with, on the perceived interdependence structure and
consequent power relationships between the parties, on the accessible cognitions,
attributions and schemas one has, on the state of emotional arousal and current
moods, on the kind of goals and outcomes one is striving for, on the salience of social
norms, entitlements and obligations, on the issues at stake, on the degree of
congruence which exists between the dispositional or cultural orientations of
individuals and groups and those elicited by the external environment (Rabbie, 1987;
Rabbie and Lodewijkx, 1987a).
In contrast to Tajfel and Turner (1979), we believe, that the allocation behaviour in
the standard MGP is primarily determined by instrumental intragroup cooperation
and intrumental intergroup competition rather than only by social or relational
intergroup competition, as they assume.
In an earlier paper we have proposed that people, who perceive themselves as
interdependent group members, tend to give greater weight to the desires of the
ingroup and their members than to the desires of the outgroup and their members
(Horwitz and Rabbie, 1982). If so, more instrumental cooperation can be expected
from ingroup members than from outgroup members in the MGP on the basis of a
‘reciprocity’ norm (Gouldner, 1960; Liebrand, 1984) or the ‘groupness’ norm of Tajfel
et al. (1971). On the assumption that the other subject will act ‘just like me’, subjects
will cooperate more with the ingroup than with the outgroup. The instrumental
competition with the outgroup members will be tempered by the standard instructions
of Tajfel ef al. (1971) which imply that subjects’ outcomes are also dependent upon the
allocation decisions of the outgroup members. That is probably the reason why
subjects in the standard MGP tend to give about as much to ingroup members as to
outgroup members with a slight, but significant preference for the own group. This
‘influential strategy of fairness’(Tajfe1 and Turner, 1979, p. 39) (or equality) is difficult
to accommodate to the social identity theory of Tajfel and Turner, which assumes that
people are only interested in achieving a positive distinctiveness on some valued
dimension in an attempt to achieve or maintain self-esteem or a positive social
identity. In this sense, our interdependence hypothesis provides a more parsimonious
explanation of all significant findings obtained by the standard MGP experiments. It
should be noted that in this view, the strategy of fairness, is not only a reflection of a
‘norm of fairness’ as Tajfel et al. (1971) have suggested, but that it has also an
instrumental or ‘utilitarian’ value to the subjects as well.
Thus, when subjects receive the standard instructions of Tajfel et al. (1971), which
imply that they are mutually dependent upon both the allocations of the ingroup
members and the allocations of the outgroup members (IOD-condition) for maximiz-
ing their outcomes, they will use the strategy of fairness more often than when the
Social Identity Theory 179

instructions imply that they are either only dependent on the ingroup (ID-condition)
or only dependent on the outgroup (OD-condition) for maximizing their outcomes. If
it is assumed that the perceived interdependence of outcomes (Kelley and Thibaut,
1978) is a more important factor in subjects’ allocations than the social category they
happen to belong to, it can be predicted that people are likely to allocate monetary
points to those ingroup and outgroup members they perceive themselves to be
mutually dependent upon and who are therefore assumed to reciprocate their
allocations.
To summarize our hypotheses: the greater the perceived interdependence of
outcomes on the ingroup, the more ingroup favouritism will be observed. Similarly,
the greater the perceived outcome interdependence on the outgroup, the more
outgroup favouritism will occur. The ingroup favouritism in the standard IOD
condition will occupy an intermediate position between these two poles of the
perceived interdependence continuum since subjects perceive themselves to be
dependent on both groups. In this two-sided IOD condition more instrumental
fairness or equal allocations will be found than in the one-sided ID and OD
conditions.

Intergroup boundaries and ingroup-outgroup allocations


On the basis of their MGP experiments, Tajfel and Turner (1979) have asserted ‘that
the mere perception of belonging to two distinct groups -that is social categorization
per se - is sufficient to trigger intergroup discrimination favouring the ingroup’ (p.
38). In view of ‘the influential strategy of fairness’ it could also be said, with some
justification, that social categorization, in the context of the MGP experiments, seems
also sufficient to trigger egalitarian responses of ingroup and outgroup members. In
any case, their statement appears to imply that social catgorization per se is seen as a
crucial pre-condition to produce discriminatory and competitive intergroup behaviour
(see also Turner, 1981, p. 97, 1982, p. 16).
We have a different view. In our opinion, explicit social categorization is only one of
the many factors which may contribute to the perception of a bounded social group or
system which is characterized by perceived interdependence among its members.
Other unit forming factors may include common fate and perceived interdependence,
proximity, a shared territory, similar preferences and shared labels, shared threat, the
anticipation of actual intragroup interaction, intergroup competition etc. (cf. Rabbie
and Wilkens, 1971; Dion, 1979). According to our unit-formation hypothesis, the
greater the salience, importance and number of these unitforrningfuctors within the
group, the greater the ingroup-outgroup differentiation or ingroup-outgroup
favouritism between the groups.

Group polarization in the minimal intergroup situation


For some years we have been interested in the question to what extent groups - who
have to make collective decisions in conflict situations - tend to be more competitive
and aggressive than single individuals (Rabbie and Visser, 1972, 1976, 1986; Rabbie,
Visser and van Oostrum, 1982; Rabbie and Horwitz, 1982; Rabbie and Lodewijkx,
1983, l984,1985a,b, l986,1987a,b; Rabbie, 1982,1989; Lodewijkx, 1989; Rabbie and
Goldenbeld, 1988). With respect to intergroup competition it has been concluded that:
180 J. M. Rabbie et al.

'. . . there is some consistent evidence that social groups seem to be more competitive
and perceive their interests more competitively than individuals under the same
functional conditions . . .'(Turner, 1981, p. 97). Our own hypothesis is that groups are
not inherently more competitive (or aggressive) than individuals but that it will depend
on the dominant psychological orientations in the group and the nature of the
perceived interdependence structure between them, whether groups are more or less
competitive than individuals or do not differ at all.
Stimulated by the pioneering work of Doise (1969) and Moscovici and Zavalloni
(1969) on group polarization, Rabbie and Visser (1972) used the value-expectancy
model of Walton and McKersie (1965), to find ouf under what kind of conditions
groups would set higher or lower aspiration levels about what could be accomplished
during the forthcoming intergroup negotiations than individual members did prior to
the discussion. It was expected that union groups, who had a strong bargaining
position vis-a-vis a management group, would be more optimistic about their chances
of achieving their bargaining goals and consequently would set higher aspirations for
themselves after a group discussion than individual members would do prior to the
intragroup interaction. Union groups with a weak bargaining position would show the
opposite polarization effect. This hypothesis received some support: high power
groups set higher aspirations than their individual members while low power groups
did the opposite, especially on those negotiation issues which were the least important
to them. Generally, labour-management negotiations arouse strong competitive
orientations in individuals and groups. When a group has a strong bargaining position
and the chances of success to reach one's negotiation goals seem favourable, groups
are likely to take a more competitive stance than individuals by setting higher
aspiration levels than their individual members did prior to the group discussion.
When their chances of winning appear to be lower, groups with a weak bargaining
position become less competitive than their individual members in setting their
aspiration levels. Thus, after a discussion, groups may become more or less
competitive than individuals, depending on their more rational and realistic
assessment of their negotiation strength to bring the intergroup negotiations to a
successful conclusion.
Our Behavioural Interaction Model (BIM) assumes that intragroup interaction
enhances the cognitive, emotional, motivational and normative orientations of
individuals as they try to cope with an uncertain external environment. Through social
comparison processes and the exchange of persuasive arguments within the group,
members may develop shared cognitions how the conflict situation should be defined
and interpreted, what kind of goals and outcomes can be accomplished, by what
means these goals can be reached and how high they evaluate the probability of
success in reaching these goals. The level of emotional arousal in the group -e.g. how
they feel about themselves and the other party- and the dominant normative
orientations: how one ought to behave in the intergroup conflict will determine the
nature of their intergroup behaviour. With respect to the enhancement of cognitive
capabilities within groups, our enhancement hypothesis (Rabbie and Lodewijkx,
1985a) is consistent with the cognitive insight hypothesis of Pruitt and Kimmel(l977)
and the persuasive argument model of Burnstein and Vinokur (1977) and Burnstein
(1982). Both theories stress the importance of the enhancement of the rational and
cognitive capabilities of the group, as a consequence of intragroup interaction, but
have shown less attention to the possibility that the enhancement of certain emotional,
Social Identity Theory 181

motivational and normative orientations may interfere with the more effective
information processing capabilities of groups as compared with those of individuals
(Janis, 1982; Rabbie et al., 1982).
The goal expectation theory of Pruitt and Kimmel (1977) assumes that parties in
‘the strategic environment’ of the PDG are mainly interested in maximizing their
outcomes. From that perspective, groups are more strongly motivated to maximize
their own outcomes than single individuals. When group members have the
opportunity to discuss their strategic choices in the PDG among themselves, they gain
a greater cognitive insight in the interdependence or reward structure of the game than
single, socially isolated individuals can. Groups will realize that it is more profitable
for both parties, in the long run, to strive for the instrumental goal of mutual
cooperation than not to cooperate or defect, in efforts to maximize their group
outcomes. However, when the other cannot be trusted or expected to cooperate but
seems to have competitive or exploitative intentions, groups will make more non-
cooperative and defensive decisions than individuals. In other words, interacting
groups are more likely to realize than individuals that a tit-for-tat strategy in the PDG
is a more effective way to maximize one’s outcomes than any other strategy (Oskamp,
1971; Wilson, 1971; Axelrod, 1984).
This notion of Pruitt and Kimmel (1977), is closely related to one of the major
explanations of the group polarization effect: the persuasive argument or information
influence model of Burnstein and Vinokur (1977) and Burnstein (1982). Like Pruitt
and Kimmel(l977) this model emphasizes the importance of the rational information
processing in the group. The exchange of persuasive arguments is assumed to favour
the initially preferred alternative, thereby enhancing it (cf. Myers, 1982, p. 140).
Turner and Wetherell (1987), in Turner, et al. (1987), are critical of the persuasive
argument model and have developed an alternative explanation for the group
polarization effect based on their self categorization theory. Although Wetherell
(1987) recognizes that the ‘weight of evidence’favours the persuasive argument model
(p. 146), she lists a number of difficulties with it, including the problem of assessing the
degree of ‘persuasiveness’ of the arguments exchanged during the group discussions
(pp. 148-149).
The attractive feature of studying group polarization or enhancement effects in the
context of experimental games, such as the PDG or MGP, is of course, that some
arguments can be judged, with some validity, as more persuasive than others since
they may lead to choices of alternatives which are ‘objectively’the most effective in
reaching desirable outcomes e.g. the tit-for-tat strategy in the PDG (Axelrod, 1984).
From this point of view, some PDG studies, in which the game behaviour of
individuals and groups have been compared with each other, can be interpreted as
showing some support for the persuasive argument model or the cognitive insight
hypothesis of Pruitt and Kimmel(1977), although they were not specifically designed
to test these hypotheses (Lindskold, Cahagan and Tedeschi, 1969; Lindskold,
McElwain and Wayner, 1977; Pylishin, Agnew and Illingworth, 1966). In our work
with the PDG, we have also found some support for these hypotheses, particularly
when the game behaviours of individuals and dyads are compared with each other
(Rabbie et al., 1982; Rabbie and Visser, 1986).
In one study, we compared the allocation behaviour of individuals, dyads and triads
with each other in a modified version of the standard MGP (experiment 4 in Rabbie et
a/., 1982, pp. 331-336). In view of the strategic task environment of the MGP and its
182 J. M. Rabbie et al.

loosely coupled interdependence structure, we had expected that groups, who had to
make collective decisions about the different allocation strategies available to them in
the Tajfel-matrices, would be more strongly motivated than single individuals to
maximize their outcomes. Through their discussion, they would be more capable than
individuals to choose the most effective strategies which enabled them to achieve this
end, Consistent with these expectations, it was found that the larger the group, the
more people tend to maximize their individual profit (MIP), the less they strived for
maximum fairness (F), and the more they tried to maximize their joint outcomes
(MJP), provided that through mutual cooperation they could maximize their own
financial outcomes. As a consequence of using these strategies, male groups earned
significantly more money than individuals. No evidence could be found for the social
identity hypothesis: groups did not use the M D -the maximizing difference strategy
in favour of the own group- more often than individuals.
In the present experiment, we will try to replicate these findings, although this time
a ‘within-groups’, repeated measurement design will be used rather than a ‘between-
groups’design which was employed in the earlier study of Rabbie et al. (1982). Group
polarization is operationalized as the difference between the mean of the individual
allocations prior to the group discussion and the average consensus about the group’s
allocations in the three interdependence conditions.

METHOD

Subjects
In total 131 subjects, 59 males and 72 females, all students of the University of Utrecht
volunteered to take part in the experiment. They received Dfl. 12.50 (about $6.25) for
their participation, plus a small additional amount of money they allegedly had
earned with the experimental task. Computation of this additional amount was faked.

Design
In an adapted version of the MGP of Tajfel et al. (1971), subjects were run in group
sessions, in which either all males or females participated (12 per session), with
treatment condition randomly determined for each subgroup. For each sex, there were
three treatment conditions: in the ingroup dependence condition (ID) the subjects
were instructed that they would receive, at the end of the experiment, the amount of
money the ingroup members had awarded them. In the two-sided interdependence
condition (IOD), subjects were told that they would receive the amount of money the
others had awarded them. In this control condition, the subjects received the same
instructions as in the Tajfel et al. (1971) experiment which allows a direct comparison
with their results. In the outgroup dependence condition (OD) the subjects were told
they would receive the money the outgroup members had awarded them. To stress the
mutual interdependence in each of these conditions, the subjects were told the other
subjects in the ingroup and outgroup ‘were in the same position as themselves’. There
were two repeated measurement variables: subjects had to make three different types
of ingroup-outgroup allocations, (SPAT, PREF and BOTH, as described below) and
were asked to make individual allocations before and group allocations after a
Social Identity Theory 183

discussion, in an effort to measure group polarization effects. These manipulations


yielded a 2 x 3 design matrix, consisting of two levels of sex and three levels of
interdependence. The within variables were three types of allocations (SPAT, PREF
and BOTH) and two levels of allocations: prior and after a group discussion.

Procedure
The experiment was introduced as a decision-making task. Subjects were categorized
into two groups ostensibly on the basis of their preferences for paintings. The 12 male
or female subjects at each session, were randomly divided into two triads who
allegedly shared a preference for surrealistic paintings (pro-surrealists) and two triads
who preferred paintings of the magic realism school (pro-magic realism). All four
triads were placed in different rooms (see map in Figure 1).
In each of those four rooms, three subjects were seated in separate cubicles which
insured the anonymity of the subjects to each other. These variations in the physical
external environment of the subjects were made in order to study the effects of the
permeability of the intergroup boundaries (Lewin, 1948, 1952) or the perception of
psychological distance between the members of the groups on the allocations in the
MGP. As can be seen in Figure 1 , the triad A, B, C in room 1 and the triad D, E, F in
room 2 differed in territory (rooms) but belonged to the own preference group (pro-
magic realists). From the perspective of subject A, the members B and C, belonged to
‘my own triad’ (MOT) and subjects D, E and F belonged to ‘the other triad’ (TOT),
but both subgroups belonged to the same preference group (SPG). The triads G, H
and I -in rooms 3- and J, K and L -in room 4- belonged to the other (pro-
surrealist) preference group (OPG). These arrangements induced three types of
allocations: SPAT, PREF and BOTH.
(1) In the spatial or SPAT allocations a choice had to be made between a member of
‘my own triad’ (MOT) in the same room and a member of ‘the other triad’ (TOT),
seated in another room, but belonging to the same preference group (SPG). No
explicit categorizations were made between the members of these two subgroups.
(2) In the preference of PREF allocations a choice had to be made between a
member of the other triad (TOT) and a member of the other preference group (OPG)
which were explicitly categorized on the basis of their alleged preference for the
paintings.
(3) In the BOTH allocations a choice had to be made between a member of my own
triad (MOT) and a member of the other preference group (OPG).
In the SPAT allocations only a territorial (room) or spatial boundary had to be
passed between MOT and TOT within the same preference group. In the PREF

Room1 Room2 Room3 Room4

Figure 1. Arrangement of subjects in experimental rooms


184 J. M. Rabbie et al.

allocations only the boundary between the two preference groups had to be passed in
the choice between a member of the other triad (TOT) and a member of the other
preference group (OPG). In the BOTH allocations both boundaries had to be passed
in the choice between a member of my own triad (MOT) and a member the other
preference group (OPG).
These different types of allocations were intermixed in a random order but were the
same for all subjects. They were treated as a repeated measurement variable in the
MANOVA. The map in Figure 1, was also presented to the subjects. So it was quite
clear to them to which subjects they gave the money in these different types of
allocations.
The experiment consisted of two phases: in the first one the subjects had to allocate
monetary rewards to anonymous members of the ingroup and anonymous members
of the outgroup by means of the type of allocation matrices developed by Tajfel et al.
(1971). After the completion of the first round of allocations, subjects were asked to
get out of their cubicles and to discuss face-to-face the various strategies they would
use in the second round of the experiment. After they achieved consensus about their
plans, they allocated monetary rewards to the other triad within their own preference
group (TOT) and to one of the triads of the other preference group (OPG). A
comparison of the average allocations made prior and after the group discussion
should give an indication of the degree of group polarization on the different matrix
strategies (Myers, 1982). The post-experimental questionnaires were filled out
individually.

Dependent measures

Allocation matrices
Our main dependent measures were the monetary allocations to ingroup and outgroup
members by means of the Tajfel-matrices which would later be converted into money.

Matrix 1: (MD + MIP) versus MJP


Person X 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7
Person Y 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25

Matrix 2: MD versus (MIP + MJP)


Person X 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Person Y 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25

Matrix 3: F versus (MD + MIP)


Person X 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
Person Y 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

Matrix 4: MD versus MJP


Person X 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19
Person Y 1 4 7 10 13 16 19 22 25 28 31 34 37

Figure 2. The matrices


Social Identity Theory 185

For each point the subject received 0.5 Dutch cents. On the average they could earn
Dfl 2.50 or about $1.25 extra with the allocation task. In Figure 2, the allocation
matrices are presented.
Matrix 1 and 2 were developed by Tajfel et al. (1971). matrix 3 by Billig and Tajfel
(1973) and matrix 4 was designed by Schot (1989) in an effort to reduce confounding
between different strategies.
According to Tajfel et al. (1971, p. 163) four basic strategies can be inferred from the
ingroup-outgroup allocations: MJP (maximum joint profit), MIP (maximum ingroup
payoff), MD (maximum difference in favour of the ingroup) and F (fairness, or equal
allocations). The matrices were randomly presented to each subject. Each measure
(matrix type) was presented three times in its original form and three times in a
reversed order to obtain the pull scores developed by Tajfel et al. (1971) and Turner
(1978). This amounted to 24 matrices in total.
There have been serious methodological and statistical criticisms on the validity of
the matrices and the ways the allocation strategies are scored, e.g. Aschenbrenner and
Schaefer (1980), Bornstein, Crum, Wittenbraker, Harring, Insko and Thibaut
(1983a,b), Branthwaite, Doyle and Lightbown (1979), Schot and Visser (1985).
However, to assure comparability of our data with the standard MGP experiments,
we used the same types of measures and scoring methods which have been used by
Tajfel et al. (1971) and Turner (1978).

Questionnaires
To assess the validity of the motives and strategies which are inferred from the
ingroup-outgroup allocations, subjects were asked what their reasons had been for
making these choices after the first and the second round of the allocations. Other
questionnaire items include the expectations and attributions subjects made about the
allocations of themselves and others, the degree of perceived dependence on both the
ingroup and outgroup, the expectations regarding the contributions of the various
groups to their own financial outcomes, etc.

RESULTS

The effects of perceived interdependence on allocations


After their individual allocations, the subjects were asked, on seven-point Likert-type
scales, how much they perceived themselves to be dependent upon the allocation
decisions of the ingroup and outgroup members and how much they expected from
them. Consistent with our expectations, subjects in the ID condition perceived
themselves to be more dependent on their own group (M = 5.22) than on the other
group (M = 1.72; F = 90.47, p = 0.000). In the standard IOD condition the subjects
perceived themselves to be dependent on both groups: the means were about the same,
4.67 and 4.52 respectively (F 0.27, n.s.), and for the OD condition the subjects
perceived themselves to be more dependent on the outgroup: means were 2.64 and 5.84
respectively (F= 65.62, p = 0.000).
As was hypothesized, there is a close correspondence between perceptions of inter-
dependence with ingroup members and outgroup members in the three
186 J. M. Rabbie et al.

interdependence conditions and the allocations subjects expected from them to


maximize their outcomes. Subjects in the ID condition, expected more from the
ingroup ( M =4.84.) than from the outgroup ( M = 1.84; F = 101.06,~= 0.000). For the
IOD conditions these means were 4.62 and 3.22 respectively; ( F =3 2 . 8 9 , ~ 0.000) and
for the OD condition 2.84 and 5.17 ( F = 4 3 . 1 5 , ~= 0.000).
Although the perceived interdependence data are closely related to the expectancies
of the subjects, it is interesting to note that in the standard IOD condition more was
expected from the ingroup (M 4.62) than from the outgroup (M = 3.22) although
they perceived themselves about equally dependent upon both groups (M’s 4.67 and
4.52, respectively). Even in the OD condition, in which it was made clear to the
subjects that they could not expect anything from the ingroup, their positive
expectations about their own group were a full scale point higher than similar
expectations concerning the outgroup in the ID condition (2.84 versus 1.84). These
findings may reflect the operation of the normative orientation to expect more of one’s
own group than from an outgroup, e.g. according to the generic ‘groupness’ norm of
Tajfel et al. (1971), or the moral notion that more weight should be given to the desires
of the ingroup and its members than to the outgroup and its members (Horwitz and
Rabbie, 1982). In general, however, these data indicate that we have been successful in
inducing the intended perceived interdependencies and consequently the normative
expectancies in our experimental conditions.

The validity of the allocation strategies in the MGP


As we have noted earlier the validity of the pull measures of Tajfel et al. (1971) and
Turner (1978) have been severely criticized, e.g. Aschenbrenner and Schaefer (1980),
Bornstein et al. (1983a,b). One particular problem has been the confounding of the
measurements of different strategies in the Tajfel matrices. For example, one of the
central measures of Tajfel et al. (1971): ingroup favouritism (FAV), is a combination of
MIP and MD. Tajfel and Turner (1979) have stressed the importance of MD rather
than of MIP in FAV, while we have done the opposite (Schot and Visser, 1985). To
obtain some information about this issue and to assess the validity of the allocation
strategies designed by Tajfel et al. (1971), subjects were asked to indicate what their
reasons or motives had been for their allocation decisions. In view of space limitations
we restrict our analysis to the BOTH allocations in the standard IOD condition which
approximate most closely the data which have been obtained by Tajfel et al. (1971).
The correlations between the motives and pulls for the BOTH allocations in the IOD
condition are presented in Table 1 ’.
As can be expected, there is a positive correspondence between the strategies inferred
from the allocation behaviour by means of the Tajfel-matrices and the reasons or
motives which were given for these allocations. With the exception of strategy 4 (MIP
+ MJP on MD), all the correlations between the pulls and the motivational
orientations indicated by the subjects are significant and in the expected direction. To
the extent that these positive and significant correlations can be considered as an
indication of the validity of these ‘pulls’, the construct validity of these measures seems
acceptable, despite our initial skepticism about them (Schot and Visser, 1985).

‘The correlations between the SPAT, PREF and BOTH allocations and the motives in the three
interdependence conditions will be reported elsewhere (Schot, 1989).
Social Identity Theory 187

Table 1. Pearson correlations between pulls and motives given for ‘BOTH’-allocations in control
IIOD) condition
Motives
F MD MIP MJP MOP
Pulls Means 4.07 3.48 2.78 3.43 1.73

1. FAV on MJP 2.85 -0.29 0.61* 0.65* -0.02 0.15


2. MJPand FAV 1.43 0.29 -0.16 -0.27 0.35* -0.28
3. MD on MIP + MJP 2.92 -0.37* 0.63* 0.50* 0.23 -0.09
4. MIP + MJP on MD 3.12 -0.02 -0.14 -0.21 0.11 -0.23
5. FAV on F 2.36 -0.31 0.57* 0.38* 4.10 -0.08
6. F o n FAV 6.26 0.34* -0.30 -0.29 -0.44* -0.05
7. MDonMJP 2.65 -0.43* 0.54* 0.38* 0.12 -0.13
8. MJPonMD 4.02 0.30 -0.15 -0.17 0.22 -0.34*
*p<0.05, two-tailed.

Moreover, the FAV and MJP measure reveals significant positive correlations with the
motivational orientations MD (0.61) and MIP (0.65), while for FAV on Fthe correla-
tions are respectively 0.57 and 0.38. Thus, on this issue, there seems to be more support
for the interpretation of Tajfel and Turner (1979) of the FAV-measure than for our own
position (Schot and Visser, 1985).

Ingroup-outgroup allocations
Table 2 presents the MANOVA’s (Table 2a) and the mean pull scores of each strategy
in the experimental conditions, for the individual SPAT, PREF and BOTH allocations
prior to the group discussion (Table 2b). Since no significant sex differences or inter-
actions between the sex of the subjects and the dependence conditions were obtained,
the data for the male and female subjects will not be presented separately.
Since the BOTH allocations approximate most closely the data which are commonly
obtained with the MGP experiments, we focus only on the BOTH allocations to
examine the validity of our interdependence hypothesis.
As can been seen in Tables 2a and b, for the BOTH allocations, there is strong
support for our instrumental interdependence hypothesis: people allocate the most
money, by means of the ‘Tajfe1’-matrices, to those ingroup or outgroup members they
perceive themselves to be the most dependent upon for maximizing their own financial
outcomes. As predicted, the difference between ingroup favouritism in the ID
condition and the outgroup favouritism in the OD condition is highly significant,
while this measure in the IOD condition occupies an intermediate position between
these two poles of the interdependence continuum. The expected linear trends for the
two indices of ingroup favouritism, FAV on MJP (1) and FAV on F(5) are highly
significant (p 0.000) and explain respectively 51 per cent and 45 per cent of the
variance of the individual BOTH allocations for this strategy (see Table 2a).
As predicted, the instrumental fairness (F on FAV (6)) in the standard IOD
condition is higher than in any of the one-sided interdependence conditions. Thus, the
instrumental fairness is greater in the two-sided (A4= 6.26) than in the one-sided
dependence conditions: M = 2.45 and 2.77, respectively (explained variance 12 per
cent).
c.
Table 2a. MANOVA: F and p-values in the SPAT, P R E F and BOTH allocations 00
00

SPAT PREF BOTH


F(2,116) Cond* Mult. I? F(2,119) Cond* Mult. I? F(2,118) Cond* Mult. RZ
FAV on M J P 12.33 0.000 0.213 46.24 0.000 0.440 56.97 0.000 0.509
M J P on FAV 4.01 0.02 0.104 8.82 0.000 0.139 4.84 0.01 0.083
M D on MIP+MJP 2.12 n.s. 0.058 8.86 0.000 0.145 11.63 0.000 0.197
MIP+MJP on M D 14.90 0.000 0.239 2.25 n.s. 0.086 5.25 0.007 0.090
FAV on F 5.21 0.007 0.104 35.83 0.00 0.380 47.36 0.000 0.448
F on FAV 0.82 n.s. 0.075 1.35 n.s. 0.064 4.96 0.009 0.123
M D on M J P 5.66 0.004 0.097 13.36 0.000 0.187 19.90 0.000 0.284
M J P on M D 14.07 0.000 0.206 2.22 n.s. 0.062 0.47 n.s. 0.017
*Multivariate F is significant (p=O.OOO).
The multiple I? refers mainly to the variance explained by the main effect of interdependence conditions; neither the main effect of sex nor
the interaction with was significant.

Table 2b. Means of SPAT-, PREF- and BOTH-allocations in the interdependence conditions
SPAT PREF BOTH
Ingroup Both gr. Outgroup Ingroup Both gr. Outgroup Ingroup Both gr. Outgroup
dependent dependent dependent dependent dependent dependent dependent dependent dependent
FAV on M J P 4.50*' 2.56*' 4.90b 6.57*' 1.65b -5.92*' 7.67*" 2.85*b -6.50*'
M J P on FAV 2.50*" ONab 4.19b 2.457' 0.65" -2.45tb -0.74a 1.43tb -0.21"
M D on MIP+MJP 0.69 1.17 4.59 0.15a 2.24*b -1.75ta 1.18 a 2.92*" -2. 14tb
MIP+MJP on M D 8.23*" 3.80*b 0.llC 6.29*' 3.95* 3.61* 7.36*" 3.12*b 6.00*'
FAV on F 3.34*' 1.977' 4.83b 5.04*' 1.72tb -5.61*' 8.31*' 3.36tb -5.86*'
F on FAV 5.67* 7.09* 7.34* 5.45*' 6.22* 4.20* 2.45*' 6.26*b 2.77*a
M D on M J P 1.227' 0.48' -1.56tb 2.22*b 1.877" -2.84*b 4.26*" 2.65*' -3.38*b
M J P on M D 6.59*" 4.04*b 4.25' 4.97* 3.68* 2.11t 4.31* 4.02* 2.88*
*, tindicate means significantly different from zero (*p<O.Ol and tp<O.OS; Wilcoxon pairs, two tailed); different superscripts (a, b and c) indicate
significant difference w 0 . 0 5 ; MANOVA) within SPAT-, PREF- and BOTH-allocations.
Social Identity Theory 189

The tendency to differentiate the ingroup from the outgroup (MD), the core
motivation in the MGP according to SIT, is not very strong: MD on MIP + MJP (3)
2.92 and MD and MJP (7) = 2.65, but both differ significantlyfrom zero. On both MD
indices the expected ingroup favouritism is found for the ID and IOD conditions
which are significantly different from the negative MD in favour of the other group in
the OD condition. This difference accounts for 28 per cent of the variance (see Table
2a, row 7).
When subjects are dependent upon both groups as in the IOD condition, there is the
expected greater inclination to maximize joint gain (MJP on FAV (2); M = 1.43) than
in the one-sided ID and OD conditions. When the costs to one’s own group remains
constant as in MJP and MD strategy (8), in the last row of Table 2b, this difference
between OID and the one-sided dependence conditions tends to disappear.
Our hypothesis was that subjects in the MGP are mainly interested in maximizing
their own outcomes, especially when money is at stake (Rabbie, Schot, Mojet and
Visser, 1988). As expected, the strategy to maximize own profit: (MIP + MJP) on MD
( 5 ) is weaker in the IOD- than in the ID- and OD-condition. Inspection of the matrix
on which this measure is based (see Figure 2) indicates that this measure reflects
maximum ingroup profit in the ID and maximum outgroup profit in the OD
condition. As can be expected in the IOD condition this measure (M 3.12) is
significantly lower than in the two one-sided dependence conditions.

Group boundaries and psychological distance


It will be remembered that in the SPAT allocations, subjects gave money to their own
or ‘my own triad’ (MOT), and to the other triad (TOT), who were seated in different
rooms, but shared the same preferences for the paintings. Thus, the SPAT ingroup-
outgroup allocations had to be made between two subgroups within the same
preference group. The boundaries between these two subgroups were only based on
the difference in ‘territory’ or rooms. No explicit categorizations of these two
subgroups were made by the experimenter. In the PREF allocations the subjects were
explicitly categorized into groups allegedly on the basis of their preferences for the
paintings. In the BOTH allocations, the boundaries were based on both implicit
(territory) and explicit categorization (preference) (cf. Billig and Tajfel, 1973). These
three types of allocations were mixed at random, but for practical reasons, each
subject used the matrices in the same order. The SPAT, PREF and BOTH allocations
in the various interdependence conditions are presented in Figure 3, graphs a (ID), b
(IOD), and c (OD) respectively.
It was expected that the greater the ‘permeability’ of the group boundaries i.e. the
ease to ‘pass’ from one group to the other (Lewin, 1948), the greater the perceived
psychological closeness between the ingroup and the outgroup and the less ingroup
favouritism would occur. Or, to put it the other way around, the greater the strength
of the group boundaries the greater the ingroup favouritism in the ID and outgroup
favouritism in the OD condition. In the IOD condition however, subjects perceived
themselves to be dependent on both groups and, as a consequence of this important
unit-forming factor, they will feel some closeness to both groups. This will weaken the
impact of the implicit and explicit categorizations of the subjects on their ingroup-
outgroup allocations.
190 J, M. Rabbie et al.

means of pulls
* MJPonMD
4- MDon MJP
-0-Fon FAV
-X- FAVon F
-0- MIP+MJPon MD
-?eMD on MIP+MJP
t MJPonFAV
- FAVon MJP

SPAT PREF BOTH


Figure 3a. Group boundaries in allocation behaviour - ingroup dependlence condition

-m- MJPonMD
8-
d- MDon MJP
9----- ---0
_ _ _ _ _ - - -0
6- -0- FonFAV
-X- FAVon F
n
4-
-c- MIP+MJP on MD
2- + MDon MIP+MJP
+ MJPonFAV
0
- FAV on MJP

-‘t
-6
SPAT
I

PREF
I

BOTH
Figure 3b. Group boundaries in allocation behaviour - both groups gependence condition

means of pulls
f MJPon MD
0-
0,.
4-MD on MJP
6- -0- Fon FAV
-X- FAVon F
4-
-c- MIP+MJPon MD
2- +- MDon MIP+MJP
+ MJPon FAV
- FAV on MJP
-2

-4 -

-6 -
1 I

SPAT PREF BOTH


Figure 3c. Group boundaries in allocation behaviour - outgroup dependence condition.
Group boundaries in allocation behaviour ingroup dependence condition
Social Identity Theory 191

As can be seen in Figure 3a, there is strong support for this hypothesis for the FAV
on F(5) measure in the ID condition: the multivariate F i s highly significant (F(2,39) =
23.80, p = O.OOO), with a positive linear component (F(l,40) = 21.68, p = 0.000). In the
OD condition the expected mirror-image is found (multivariate fl2,40) = 9.64, p =
0.000). This time however, not only the negative linear component (F(1,41) = 1 8 . 8 7 , =~
0.000) but also the curvilinear component of the outgroup favouritism is significant
(F(1,41) = 6.26, p = 0.02). The significant curvilinear trend in the OD condition is
understandable since the SPAT allocations to the ingroup and outgroup members
within one’s own preference group have no instrumental value to the subjects while the
outgroup favouritism in the PREF and BOTH allocations contributes equally well to
the maximization of one’s perceived self interests.
The FAV on MJP pull (1) shows the same pattern of results. The multivariate F i n
the ID condition is significant (fl2,40) = 4 . 3 7 , ~= 0.01), while the positive linear trend
is also significant (fl1,41) = 6.55, p = 0.01). In the OD condition a significant
multivariate F i s obtained: (F(2,38) = 14.72, p = O.OOO), with a significant linear trend
(F(1,39) = 3 0 . 2 1 , ~= 0.000) and a significant curvilinear component (F(1,39) = 1 1 . 1 7 , ~
= 0.002).
It is interesting to note that, in the outgroup condition, even in the SPAT allocations
some outgroup favouritism was observed for these two FAV-indices, although these
allocations had no instrumental value for the subjects. It seems likely that some
generalization did occur from one type of allocation to the other. This possible
‘learning effect’ was rather slight however, since the outgroup favouritism in the SPAT
allocations were not significantly different from zero while in the PREF and BOTH
allocations they clearly were significant (see Table 2b; rows 2 and 5).
As expected, in the standard IOD condition (Figure 3b) no significant linear or
curvilinear trends were obtained, not only for the FAV strategies but for aN ‘pulls’
depicted in Figure 3b. This result suggests that the perceived interdependence on both
groups is a more important unit-forming factor than the variations in implicit or
explicit social categorization in its effect on the ingroup-outgroup allocations.
Therefore, from now on we will focus only the SPAT, PREF and BOTH allocations in
the one-sided dependence conditions.
It is to be expected that the subjects will be the most fair in the ID condition when
they have to make a choice between a member of the own triad and a member of the
other triad within their own preference group (in the SPAT allocations) since such a
strategy contributes to their own gain. But they will allocate least fairly in the BOTH
allocations in which they have to make a choice between a member in their own triad
and a member of the other preference group. There is a strong support for this
hypothesis as can be seen in Figure 3a. In the ID condition the multivariate Ffor the F
on FAV pull (6) is highly significant (F(2,39) 9.04, p 0.001), with a significant
negative linear trend (F(1,40) = 9.28, p 0.004). In the OD condition fairness within
one’s own preference group (SPAT) contributes anything to outgroup profit, while
making fair choices across the preference boundaries in the PREF and BOTH alloca-
tions does not lead to profit for the outgroup and thereby indirectly to gain for
themselves. As can be seen in Figure 3c, the predicted negative linear trend is highly
significant (multivariate (F(2,40) = 8 . 9 3 , ~= 0.001; linear component: F(1,41) = 14.53,
p = 0.000).
In the ID condition it makes more sense to cooperate with members of the other
triad in one’s own preference group (SPAT) in an effort to maximize one’s outcomes
192 J. M. Rabbie et al.

than to cooperate with members of another preference group as happens in PREF and
BOTH. The MJP on FAV pull (2) shows strong support for this argument (multi-
variate F(2,40) = 7 . 2 7 , ~ 0.002; linear component: F(1,41) 1 4 . 8 2 , ~ 0.000). Interest-
ingly, also the curvilinear component is significant (F(1,41) = 5 . 0 7 , ~= 0.03). Apparent-
ly, one is least likely to cooperate in the ID condition when a choice has to be made
between a member of one’s own triad and a member of another preference group as
happens in the BOTH allocations. For the MJP and MD pull (8) only the expected
decreasing linear trend is found (multivariate 8’(2,41) = 4.17, p = 0.02; linear compon-
ent: F( 1,42) = 8.29, p = 0.006).
In the OD condition, mutual cooperation is only an effective strategy when it
favours the other preference group rather than one’s own preference group (‘joint
other’, cf. Kelley and Thibaut, 1978). The MJP on FAV pull can be considered as a
MJP strategy which favours the other group (‘joint other’, c$ Kelley and Thibaut,
1978). The MJP on FAV strategy with a negative sign (-) reflects ‘joint-own’. As can
be seen in Figure 3c the ‘joint-own’ pull is stronger for PREF than in the SPAT and
BOTH allocations. This curvilinear trend for this MJP-other strategy is highly
significant (F(1,39) 12.83, p = 0.001). The MJP on MD score (8) reflects mutual
cooperation without any costs to one’s own ingroup member. Since this strategy
favours the outgroup member, a strong positive linear trend was predicted, which in
fact occurred (multivariate F(2,41) = 5 . 4 7 , ~ 0.008; linear component F(I ,42) = 11.04,
p = 0.002).
It is to be expected that the ingroup-outgroup differentiation in favour of the
ingroup (MD) would decrease the smaller one perceives the psychological distance
between the (sub)groups (‘closeness’) -as is the case for the SPAT allocations at one
pole of the closeness continuum through the BOTH allocations at the other pole-
particularly when the allocations could be made at no costs to the ingroup recipient as
happens in the MD on MJP pull (7). As predicted, in the ID condition (Figure 3a) there
is a significant increasing linear trend for the MD on MJP pull. The multivariate F
is (F(2,41) = 7 . 2 3 , ~ 0.002); the linear component of this trend is (F(1,42) = 1 1 . 6 9 , ~
=
0.001). The MD on MIP + MJP pull (3) does not yield any significant effects.
The (negative) MD pulls (3 and 7), in the OD condition show the expected
decreasing linear trends in the means as the strength of the boundaries increases, but
none of these boundaries produce significant effects. In contrast, the MIP + MJP on
MD strategy (4) which reflects outgroup favouritism in this condition, shows a strong
positive linear effect: the stronger the group boundaries the more often this strategy is
used (multivariate F(2,37) = 1 4 . 1 8 , ~= 0.000, with a linear trend of F( l,38) = 25.59,~=
0.000). In the ID condition, the MIP + MJP on MD strategy is stronger for the SPAT
and the BOTH allocations in which a choice has to be made between a member one’s
own triad and a member of another group, than for the PREF allocation, but this
trend does not yield a significant effect: F(2,40) = 2.94, n.s.
In general, it appears that the unit-formation hypothesis receives the most support
in the one-sided ID and OD conditions, in which the boundaries between the (sub)
groups clearly seem to matter for maximizing one’s outcomes. In the standard IOD
condition, however, the perceived interdependence on both groups may have
produced feelings of psychological closeness to members of both groups which seem to
override the psychological distances which were created between them by the implicit
or explicit categorizations which were made.
Social Identity Theory 193

Table 3a. Group polarization in allocation behaviour, ingroup


condition
Indiv. Group Polar. Constant* Sex7
1. FAV on MJP 6.47 9.20 2.86 0.002 n.s.
2. MJP on FAV 2.45 0.26 -2.20 0.04 n.s.
3. MD on MIP+MJP 0.15 0.46 0.13 n.s. n.s.
4. MIP+MJP on MD 6.29 10.46 4.31 O.OO0 n.s.
5. FAV on F 5.04 9.66 4.77 0.000 n.s.
6. F on FAV 5.45 2.33 -3.27 0.001 n.s.
7. MD on MJP 2.22 2.33 0.11 n.s. .04
8. MJP on MD 4.97 7.80 2.82 0.009 n.s.
*Mulitivariate F(8, 35) = 8.41 ;p=O.OOO.
TMultivanate F(8, 35) 2.42 ;p=0.03.

Table 3b. Group polarization in allocation behaviour, control condition


Indiv. Group Polar. Constant* Sex7
~ ~

1. FAV on MJP 1.65 1.09 4.56 n.s. n.s.


2. MJP on FAV 0.65 3.73 3.07 0.05 n.s.
3. MD on MIP+MJP 2.24 1.17 -1.07 n.s. n.s.
4. MIP+MJP on MD 3.95 7.75 3.80 0.02 n.s.
5. FAV on F 1.72 0.94 -0.27 n.s. n.s.
6. F on FAV 6.22 4.10 -2.48 n.s. 0.04
7. MD on MJP 1.87 0.65 -1.22 n.s. n.s.
8. MJP on MD 3.68 8.12 4.43 0.001 n.s.
*Multivariate F(8, 28) 2.12 ;n.s.
TMultivanate F(8, 28) = 1.51 ;n.s.

Table 3c. Group polarization in allocation behaviour, outgroup


condition
Indiv. Group Polar. Constant* Sex7
1. FAV on MJP -5.92 -8.85 -3.25 0.005 n.s.
2. MJP on FAV -2.45 0.14 2.45 0.002 n.s.
3. MD on MIP+MJP -1.75 -0.86 0.80 n.s. n.s.
4. MIP+MJP on MD 3.61 8.33 4.95 0.000 n.s.
5. FAV on F -5.61 -8.40 -2.97 0.001 n.s.
6. F on FAV 4.20 3.60 -0.79 n.s. n.s.
7. MD on MJP -2.84 4.00 -1.25 n.s. n.s.
8. MJP on MD 2.11 4.80 2.79 0.003 n.s.
*Multivariate F (8, 30) 9.62 ;p = 0.000.
TMultivariate F(8, 30) = 0.45 ; n.s.

Group enhancement or polarization


According to our interaction model, intragroup interaction enhances the cognitive,
emotional, motivational and normative orientations which are already present in
socially isolated individuals. On the assumption that the strategic task environment of
the MGP elicits mainly instrumental motivations to maximize one’s outcomes,
194 J. M. Rabbie et al,

especially when money is at stake, it is to be expected that, after a group discussion,


groups will become more outcome-oriented than individuals prior to the group
discussion and they will tend to use those allocation strategies which appear to offer
the greatest value at the lowest costs (Lewin, 1952; Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980). Given
the different manipulations of the interdependence structure of the MGP and the
impoverished social environment subjects have to cope with, groups are also more
likely to act more ‘rationally’ than individuals in the sense of choosing the right means
for their desired ends in the different interdependence conditions (cf. Colman, 1982,
pp. 256-257). In an earlier study we have found some evidence for this hypothesis
(Rabbie et al., 1982).
The evidence for the enhancement hypothesis will be examined by means of the
PREF allocations, since the group discussions occurred among the triads in each
room which allegedly shared the same preference for the paintings and were asked to
allocate money to the other triad in their own preference group and a triad in
the different preference group. In Table 3a the mean PREF allocation-strategies for
the ID condition are presented which were made individually prior to the group
discussion in the subjects’ own triad.
In column 2 of Table 3a the mean of the group consensus can be seen for the
different strategies, while in the third column the degree of polarization is presented.
In Tables 3b and 3c the data for the IOD and OD conditions can be examined.
It was expected that groups would be more rational and effective than socially
isolated individuals in pursuing strategies which would maximize their own outcomes.
As can be seen in Table 3a and 3c there is strong support for our enhancement
hypothesis, particularly in the one-sided interdependence conditions in which it is
much clearer which path or strategy leads to the desired goal of profit maximization
than in the IOD condition.
In the ID condition, after a discussion, groups increased the ingroup favouritism on
both the FAV on MJP (1) and the FAV on F ( 5 ) measures. There was also a significant
increase in the maximization of ingroup profit on MIP + MJP on MD (4). All the
strategies which seemed not effective to achieve the desired end of maximizing ingroup
profit showed the expected negative polarization effects. These strategies decreased
significantly in importance such as fair or equal allocations (F on FAV (6), and MJP
on FAV (2)). Interestingly, there was an unexpected but significant increase in MJP on
MD (8) after the discussion, presumably because subjects could cooperate with the
other group at no costs to the other triad in their own preference group. So it seems
that groups favour more socially desirable outcomes than individuals if it does not
cost them anything! For the MD strategies (3 and 7), which seem to make no
contribution at all to maximization of ingroup outcomes, no significant polarization
effects were obtained.
There is only one significant sex effect. On the seventh, MD on MJP, pull (discrimin-
ation without costs to oneself) there is a negative polarization effect for men (from 2.33
to 0.71 -1.61, while for women there is a positive polarization effect (from 2.12 to
3.75 1.62; univariate F = 4.52, p = 0.04). So it seems that in this ingroup condition, a
group discussion made females more and males less discriminatory than the individual
members prior to the group discussion.
In the OD condition, it is to be expected that groups, as compared with their
individual members will show a significant polarization effect on those strategies
which maximize outgroup profit in the expectation that the outgroup members will
Social Identity Theory 195

Table 4a. Group polarization in motivational orientations,


ingroup condition
Indiv. Group Polar. Constant* Sex7
1. MIP 5.20 5.82 0.62 ns. n.s.
2. MJP 3.02 2.24 -0.77 n.s. 0.01
3. MOP 1.33 1.35 0.02 ns. n.s.
4. MD 3.88 4.66 0.77 0.04 ns.
5. F 2.91 2.02 -0.88 0.01 n.s.
*Multivariate F ( 5 , 39) 2.31; n.s.
?Multivariate F ( 5 , 3 9 ) 2.00; n.s.

Table 4b. Group polarization in motivational orientations,


control condition
Indiv. Group Polar. Constant* Sex7
1. MIP 2.78 2.73 -0.04 n.s. 0.05
2. MJP 3.43 5.17 1.73 O.OO0 n.s.
3. MOP 1.73 2.17 0.43 n.s. n.s.
4. MD 3.48 3.53 0.04 n.s. 0.003
5. F 4.07 4.95 0.82 0.05 n.s.
*Multivariate F (5, 34) 6.27;p=0.000.
?Multivariate F ( 5 , 34) = 3.39;p=0.01.

Table 4c. Group polarization in motivational orientations,


outgroup condition
Indiv. Group Polar. Constant* Sex?
1. MIP 1.97 1.55 -0.42 0.04 ns.
2. MJP 2.93 3.24 0.31 n.s. n.s.
3. MOP 4.64 5.17 0.53 0.05 n.s.
4. MD 1.97 1.66 -0.31 ns. ns.
5. F 3.48 3.50 -0.04 ns. ns.
*Multivariate F(5, 38) = 2.73;p = 0.03.
?Multivariate F(5,.38) 0.90; n.s.

reciprocate this outgroup favouritism. Again this hypothesis receives strong support:
there is a significant increase in outgroup favouritism on both indices of FAV, -FAV
on M J P (1) and FAV on F(5)- and on the (MIP + MJ P on M D (4)) measure, after
the group discussion. There is also a significant increase in MJP, provided it benefits
the outgroup: M J P on FAV (2), and MJP on M D (8).
In the IOD condition, in which it is less clear than in the one-sided dependence
conditions which strategy is most effective in maximizing one’s outcomes no strong
group polarization occurs. The MANOVA is only marginally significant (F=2 . 1 2 , =~
0.07). If we examine the univariate effects only those strategies which include a MJP
orientation show a positive significant or near significant polarization effect: MJ P on
M D (8), F = 13.67,p = 0.001; MIP + MJP on M D (4), F 6.02,p 0.02. When MJ P
favours the other group -MJP on FAV (2)- the group polarization is marginally
significant (F= 4.07, p = 0.05). Since subjects perceive themselves to be dependent on
both groups, the stronger tendencies of groups than individuals to cooperate with the
196 J. M. Rabbie et al.

other group make sense because only in this way are they able to increase their chances
of maximizing the outcomes.
Since subjects indicated their motives for the allocation decisions before and after
the group discussion, we are also able to examine the degree of group polarization in
their motivational orientations. These polarization effects are presented in Tables 4a,
4b and 4c for the ID, IOD and OD conditions, respectively.
Although the multivariate Fis not significant, Table 4a shows that groups in the ID
condition are more motivated to increase the relative difference between own group
and other group (MD) and to decrease fairness as compared with their individual
members prior to the group discussion. Thus, according to their motivations groups
become more competitive and less fair than individuals in the ID condition.
In the OID condition however, groups become more cooperative and fair in their
motivations than individual members prior to the discussion. The greater cooperative-
ness in motivational orientation of groups is consistent with their behaviour, but their
greater fairness does not show up in their allocation behaviour. Two significant sex
effects were obtained: males become more outcome-oriented after the discussion
(mean MIP = 3.52) than before ( M = 2.82). They strive also for more relative gain
(mean M D = 4.58) after than prior to the discussion ( M =3.52). Females on the other
hand become less outcome oriented as groups ( M = 2.16) than as individuals ( M =
2.75). They also strive for less relative gain: the figures are 3.45 and 2.79. If it is
assumed that group discussion enhances the motivational orientation which is already
present at the level of the individual, this result suggests that in the IOD condition
males become more outcome-oriented and competitive in groups, while women show
the opposite effects.
As can be see in Table 4c, groups in the OD condition are less motivated to strive for
MIP, and more willing to strive for outgroup profit than individuals in order to
maximize their outcomes.
All these groups polarization effects clearly show that it depends on the perceived
interdependence structure between the parties whether groups will be more, or less,
competitive or cooperative than individuals as a consequence of group discussions, as
we have argued earlier (Rabbie and Lodewijkx, 1985a).

DISCUSSION

Contrary to the assertions of Tajfel and Turner (1979, p. 38; 1985, p. 14), there is a
rational link between economic self-interests and the strategy of ingroup favouritism
in the MGP. The more people perceived an outcome interdependence with ingroup
members, with members of both groups, or with outgroup members, the more money
they allocated to these members, in the expectation that these allocations would be
reciprocated, leading to a maximization of their economic self interests. Thus, the
greater the perceived dependence on ingroup members, the greater the ingroup
favouritism while the greater the perceived interdependence on outgroup members,
the greater the outgroup favouritism. In the standard, two-sided dependence
condition, the expected intermediate level of ingroup favouritism was obtained. More-
over, consistent with the interdependence hypothesis, the (instrumental) fairness in the
two-sided standard MPG was greater than in the one-sided interdependence
conditions. So it appears, that the interdependence hypothesis provides a more par-
Social Identity meory 197

simonious explanation of the two ‘influential strategies’ of ingroup favouritism and


fairness in the standard MGP than social identity theory has proposed.
In their early work Tajfel et al. (1971, p. 174) emphasized the “‘non-rational”,
“non-instrumental” and “non-utilitarian” character’ of the allocation behaviour in
their experiments. In contrast with this view we have shown that the allocation
behaviour in the MGP is perfectly rational, instrumental and utilitarian at least when
monetary outcomes are involved (Rabbie et al., 1988). Of course, this conclusion does
not imply that people are always rational, utilitarian and instrumental. This depends
on the specific strategic task environment, the anonymity of the internal and external
social environment and the perceived interdependence structure in the MGP.
Tajfelet a/.(197 1)believed also that the allocation behaviour of their subjects should be
interpreted as a kind of compromise solution between the conflicting norms of ‘group-
ness’and ‘fairness’. In line with our behavioural interaction model, there is some evidence
for thisview inthe present experiment. Subjects expected moreof ingroup members than
of outgroup members, even in conditions in which these expectations were not
instrumental in maximizing their financial outcomes. Although the ingroup-outgroup
allocations seemed to be mostly guided by instrumental considerations in the anonymous
strategic environment of the MGP, Tajfel’s abandonment of ‘the generic group norm’
explanation (Tajfel, 1978, p. lo), might have been premature.
In accordance with our unit-formation hypothesis, the greater the permeability of
the boundaries between the groups or the greater the perceived psychological close-
ness between them, the more fairness, the less discrimination, the more cooperation
and the less ingroup or outgroup favouritism did occur. These findings were more
pronounced in the one-sided dependence conditions than in the standard IOD
condition in which it is more difficult to decide what the most effective strategy is to
maximize one’s outcomes.
It was shown that even in subgroups within the same preference group some
ingroup favouritism was observed, although this strategy did not have any utilitarian
value to the subjects in maximizing their outcomes, but can be probably best
understood as a consequences of the normative orientation to give greater weight to
the desires of ingroup members than of outgroup members (Horwitz and Rabbie,
1982), even though no explicit categorization was made between these two subgroups.
Although subjects in standard MGP-situations have been asked to discuss their
allocation experiences with new subjects which followed them (Billig, 1973), they
rarely had to make individual and collective decisions in one and the same MGP as
occurred in the present study. This unusual procedure allowed us to examine
polarization or enhancement effects in minimal intergroup situations.
In line with our enhancement hypothesis (Rabbie & Lodewijkx, 1985a), the group
discussion produced polarization effects only on those allocation strategies in the
different interdependence conditions which seemed the most ‘rational, instrumental
and utilitarian’ devices in maximizing one’s own financial outcomes. Dependent upon
the nature of the perceived interdependence structure between the parties, groups were
more, or less, cooperative than their individual members prior to the group discussion.
Again the support of the group polarization hypothesis was more pronounced for the
one-sided dependence conditions than for the two-sided dependence condition. The
assertions that groups are always ‘essentially competitive’ (Tajfel and Turner, 1979, p.
41) or ‘seem to be more competitive than individuals’ (Turner, 1981, p. 97) did not
receive any support.
198 J. M. Rabbie et al,

In general, no sex differences were found in the allocation behaviour of our subjects.
Apparently, the physical task structure, the minimal social environment and the
manipulated interdependence structure were so compelling that the differences in
instrumental and relational orientations between males and females could not express
themselves in their allocation strategies. Only in the IOD condition males expressed
more outcome-oriented and more competitive motives after the group discussion than
before. For females and opposite effect was obtained. This finding is consistent with
the notions of Major and Deaux (1982) and Deutsch (1982) that in experimental
games males are more competitive and less equalitarian in their orientations and
behaviour than females. As we have seen in the ID condition, females may become
more discriminatory than males when no direct costs are involved. Thus, it seems to
depend on the interdependence structure and the costs involved whether males are
more discriminatory than females.
To avoid any misunderstanding, our aim has not been to disprove social identity
theory or the self-categorization model of Turner and his associates (Turner, 1982,
1985; Turner et al., 1987). We can only say, with some confidence, that the empirical
evidence for these theories, as far as the MGP experiments are concerned, is probably
less convincing than has been claimed by their proponents. Although the MGP
experiments may have been designed ‘to eliminate alternative explanations’ such as
‘interpersonal interdependence’ as Turner et al. (1987, p. 28) have claimed, our data
provide strong evidence for the opposite conclusion.
We are doubtful about Turner’s (1982, 1985; Turner et al., 1987) position, that the
interdependenceperspective is in some way incompatible with the cognitive approaches
to intergroup behaviour he favours. Our basic assumption is that at least both
perspectives are needed to explain and predict the psychological orientations and
behaviour within and between groups (and other social systems). In our interaction
model we have tried to integrate these two approaches. The main question has become
under what conditions, specified by the model, one perspective seems more plausible
than another in understanding the varous relations in the system of minimal
intergroup situations (Horwitz and Rabbie, 1982).

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RESUME

Aprbs une critique conceptuelle et mkthodologique de la ThCorie de 1’IdentitC Sociale (TIS), on


propose, en accord avec un Modtle de l’lnteraction Comportementale (MIC) mais en contraste
avec la TIS, que les rktributions observCes dans le Paradigme du Groupe Minimal (PGM)
classique - qui constituent la base factuelle principale pour la TIS - peuvent &tre
rkinterprktkes comme un comportement instrumental et rationnel visant i~ maximiser les intkrbts
kconomiques propres des sujets plutbt que comme des efforts de leur part pour aboutir B une
identitk sociale positive tel que cela a Ctk avanck par la TIS. La catkgorisation sociale explicite
apparait comme un facteur parmi d’autres affectant les rktributions au sein des et entre les
frontitres groupales dans le PGM. Des effets de polarisation groupale indiquent que les groups,
guidCs par l’interdkpendence p e r p e avec les rkcipiendaires des rktributions, apparaissent plus
rationnels et efficients dans la maximisation des rkcompenses kconomiques que leurs membres
pris individuellement avant la discussion de groupe. Enfin, on conclut que le MIC offre
probablement une explication plus parsimonieuse que la TIS pour I’ensernble des rksultats
habituellement obtenus dans la cadre de PGM.