Social Identity Theory By John Tuner And Henri Tajfel

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Social Identity Theory Social identity theory was originally formulated by John Tuner and Henri Tajfel in the 1980s. This theory proposes that our social identity is formed and influenced by the groups we belong to, and that people in groups tend to perceive themselves in terms of specific social categories, such as race, religion, and so on (Tajfel & Turner, 1985). As part of social categorization, the groups that people associate with are referred to as “in-groups”, whereas the groups they do not belong to or identify with are called “out-groups”. People share similarities with their in-groups, feel comfortable with them and act more favorably towards them. People tend to have more negative attitudes towards out-groups and, because they have less interaction, their relationships with out-groups are weaker (Tajfel & Turner, 1985). Understanding Social Identity Theory can help team leaders to develop and maintain an effective team management process. The differences and gaps between social identities in teams can change people’s behavior, create tensions and conflicts in various ways: 1. Social loafing Social loafing occurs if the group fails to develop a strong group identity and individual team members may feel left out, which can lead to the development of in-groups and out-groups. In-group members may discriminate against out-group members and this unmatched culture makes people feel anxious and isolated, which leads to a reduction in motivation and effort.

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