Advances in Intergroup Communication

by Howard Giles (Volume editor) Anne Maass (Volume editor)
©2016 Textbook VII, 355 Pages
Series: Language as Social Action, Volume 21


Advances in Intergroup Communication is a timely contribution to the field. It reflects developments in older, more established intergroup settings (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, organizations) whilst introducing newer studies such as the military and political parties. It also pays attention to emerging trends in new media and social networks and considers the developing field of neuroscience of communication.
The volume brings together authors from different geographical areas (North America, Europe, and Australia) and from different disciplines (particularly communication, linguistics, and psychology). Contributions are organized around five themes, corresponding to the five sections of the book: defining features and constraints; tools of intergroup communication; social groups in their context; intergroup communication in organizations; and future directions.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Chapter One: Advances in and Prospects for Intergroup Communication: Prologue
  • Part One: Intergroup Communication’s Defining Features and Constraints
  • Chapter Two: Shared Identity and the Intergroup Dynamics of Communication.
  • Chapter Three: De-Dichotomizing Intergroup and Interpersonal Dynamics: Perspectives on Communication, Identity and Relationships
  • Chapter Four: Language Attitudes as Intergroup Terrain
  • Chapter Five: News Media and Intergroup Contexts
  • Chapter Six: Political Correctness
  • Part Two: Tools of Intergroup Communication
  • Chapter Seven: Intergroup Metaphors
  • Chapter Eight: Binomial Word Order and Social Status
  • Chapter Nine: Nonverbal Behavior and Intergroup Communication
  • Chapter Ten: Social Media and Intergroup Communication: Collapsing and Expanding Group Contexts
  • Part Three: Social Groups and their Context
  • Chapter Eleven: Gender and Linguistic Sexism
  • Chapter Twelve: Communication of the “Invisible”: Disclosing and Inferring Sexual Orientation through Visual and Vocal Cues
  • Chapter Thirteen: An Intergroup Approach to Political Communication
  • Part Four: Intergroup Communication in Organizations
  • Chapter Fourteen: Organizational Socialization and Intergroup Dynamics
  • Chapter Fifteen: Intergroup Communication and Leadership in Healthcare
  • Chapter Sixteen: Intergroup Communication Perspectives on Military Families and the Military-Civilian Divide
  • Part Five: Future Directions
  • Chapter Seventeen: Towards a Social Neuroscience of Intergroup Communication
  • Chapter Eighteen: Conceptualizing the Diversity of Intergroup Settings: The Web Model
  • Chapter Nineteen: Social Networks and Intergroup Communication
  • Contributors
  • Index

← viii | 1 →CHAPTER ONE

National and world news is continually punctuated with intergroup dramas that are imbued with the dynamics of language and communication. In the world of film and fiction, the 1915 Oscars brought moving commentaries relating to different intergroup settings, such as adequate pay for women, caring for Alzheimer’s patients, the traumas of returning military from war, the status of gay men, and the like. In the real world, political discourse surrounding the Greek debt crisis, including heavily metaphorical language used by German journalists and politicians alike, has aggravated intergroup relations to a point that was unimaginable to most. Greek-bashing (see Bickes, Otten & Weymann, 2014, for a media analysis) was the first step of an escalation that has thrown Europe into what many consider the most serious crisis since its existence. These issues and events have been paralleled by academic attention to a growing number of intergroup settings and theories associated with them (see Giles, 2012) across an array of areas in the discipline of Communication.

As such, the current book, which is the third in this book series on intergroup communication, is timely as it reflects developments in older, more established intergroup settings (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, organizations) and introduces new, hitherto little studied ones, such as the military or political parties. It also pays attention to emerging trends in new media and social networks and, different from prior volumes, considers the developing field of neuroscience of communication. For us (and most other intergroup theorists), a situation is an “intergroup” one if people are relating to each other primarily based on their social category memberships rather than their personal characteristics, such as ← 1 | 2 →mood, temperament, or personality (Dragojevic & Giles, 2014; Gangi & Soliz, this volume).


In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a perspective emerged which was to have profound effects on intergroup social psychology, and ultimately intergroup communication, namely, social identity theory (SIT: for overviews, see Hornsey, 2008). SIT (Tajfel & Turner, 1986) was originally developed to explain prejudice and discrimination, and the circumstances under which societies would move from relatively cooperative and harmonious arrangements to overt conflict. In the earliest work that was the precursor to this theory, Tajfel, Billig, Bundy, and Flament (1971) found that artificially created groups (e.g., teams differing in over- vs. underestimation of dots) would display intergroup discrimination, even though the groups were created in the laboratory and had no history or norms. For example, when asked to distribute rewards to one team or the other, members would favor their own team and would also limit rewards to the other team; this occurred even when the individuals distributing the rewards did not benefit personally from their actions. Tajfel’s (e.g., 1978) theory suggested that we have an inherent desire to view groups that we belong to in a positive way, and he posited that this is because our group memberships are an important part of who we are. Thus, social identity became defined as the aspects of the self that are made up of the groups we belong to, and that are imbued with emotional and value significance. In the underestimating vs. overestimating team study, by giving the underestimation rewards and denying them from the overestimation, a blue team member could feel good about the underestimation because as a team they were different from and better than (had more rewards) the other group.

Since that time, the study of intergroup relations has become a major area in its own right in social psychology (Hornsey, 2008) and SIT has inspired an array of other theoretical positions, including, but not limited to, self-categorization theory (Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, & Wetherell, 1987), the uncertainty model of intergroup relations (Hogg, 2012), and the social identity deindividuation (SIDE) model of computer-mediated communication (Postmes, Spears, & Lea, 1998). An intergroup perspective has also had considerable impact across various subfields of communication and social psychology (for a recent review, see Maass, Arcuri, & Suitner, 2014), such as those focusing on health, family, education, organizations, new and old media and, within these, has provided insightful analyses across many different settings, including those relating to sexual orientation, disability, sports, police-community, and intercultural relations, to name but a growing few (Giles, 2012; Giles, Reid, & Harwood, 2010; Harwood & Giles, 2005).

← 2 | 3 →Interestingly, Tajfel and his colleagues were clearly concerned with issues of language and communication from the very beginning (e.g., Bourhis, Giles, Leyens, & Tajfel, 1979; Bourhis, Giles, & Tajfel, 1973; Giles, 1978), and an array of books (Giles, 1977, 2012; Giles, Reid, & Harwood, 2010; Gudykunst, 1986; Harwood & Giles, 2005; Ruscher, 2001) and journal special issues (Clément, 1996, 2007; Reid & Giles, 2005; Sutton, 2008) emerged. Furthermore, the field of intergroup communication has also become more robust and embraced other more qualitative and sociolinguistic approaches (e.g., Carbaugh, Lie, Locmele, & Sotirova, 2012; Stubbe, 2012; Weatherall, 2012; Whitehead & Stokoe, 2015).

Simultaneously, the first work on communication accommodation theory was emerging (for historical overviews, Gallois, Ogay, & Giles, 2005; Giles, in press) that acknowledged more directly the role that group memberships play in influencing how people adjust their talk in social interaction with others. For instance, work from this perspective showed that people would emphasize group-related speech markers (accent, dialect, vocabulary) in situations that reflect group-related threat (Giles, 1979), and the theory also spawned satellite models, including for example ethnolinguistic identity theory (e.g., Giles & Johnson, 1981) and various models examining the role of accommodation in intergenerational settings (Giles & Gasiorek, 2011). Other examples include the use of the social identity approach as a basis for understanding language expansion and language death, bilingualism and multilingualism, language attitudes, stereotyping, and media selection and perception (see chapters in Giles, 2012).

SIT has expanded enormously in the past 40 years and has become the basis for a general social identity approach to social psychological and communicative phenomena. Indeed, it is rare for a social scientific theory to become so developed. In the case of SIT, Tajfel’s critical insight followed from a critique of early approaches to understanding prejudice and discrimination. According to SIT, people are motivated to maintain or enhance a positive sense of social identity, but the way in which this occurs is directed and constrained by beliefs about the legitimacy and stability of ingroup status vis-à-vis relevant outgroups, the degree to which boundaries between groups are thought to be permeable, and the individuals’ degree of identification with their ingroup. Combinations of these beliefs, driven by a desire for positive social identity, lead to the crystallization of three different social belief structures, namely social mobility, social competition, and social creativity.

In each case, these belief structures are best understood as resulting from an intergroup struggle for power, prestige, and status. Those groups that fare well in the intergroup context are those that emerge with relatively high status, and by extension their group members achieve positive social identity. When people consider their group to have stable and legitimate low status, believe it possible to join a high-status group, and have little commitment to their ingroup, then they are likely to have social mobility beliefs. In other words, the problem of striving for ← 3 | 4 →a positive social identity is solved by adopting an ideology based on individual movement between groups. However, people might perceive their group’s status to be low, but consider the circumstances that produce that low status to be illegitimate and unstable. If this is combined with a sense that it is not possible to shift into another group, and with strong ingroup identification, such a person is likely to solve the problem of positive social identity by engaging in social competition. In other words, people with these beliefs are likely to have hostile attitudes towards (rather than about)members of the higher-status outgroup, and may engage in social action designed to change the situation. Examples would include engaging in language revival movements, engaging in social protest, or developing prejudicial attitudes toward members of the advantaged group.

Finally, someone who sees no possibility of individually joining another group, but who also believes that the status of their group is stable (i.e., cannot be easily changed through some form of social action), is likely to value their ingroup but to avoid confrontation with an outgroup. Social creative responses to this problem of resolving positive social identity include finding a lower-status group to make comparison with, rejecting the basis for social comparison (e.g., the slogan “Black is beautiful”), or ignoring the basis for status (e.g., intelligence, competence, wealth), and focusing instead on an alternative solidarity-based dimension for defining the ingroup (e.g., integrity, benevolence, or decency). The interaction and situational constraints of these processes will be discussed in Ehala et al.’s Chapter 18 in this volume).


More than previous volumes in this series, “Advances in and Prospects for Intergroup Communication” brings together authors from different geographical areas (North America, Europe, Australia) and from different disciplines (particularly communication, linguistics, and psychology). Thus, among its kind, it is probably the most balanced and multidisciplinary. The contributions are organized around five large themes, corresponding to the five sections of the book, addressing respectively (a) intergroup communication: its defining features and constraints, (b) tools of intergroup communication, (c) social groups in their context, (d) intergroup communication in organizations, and (e) future directions.

Intergroup Communication’s Defining Features and Constraints

How does our social category membership affect communication and how does communication change as a function of our group membership and the degree to which we identify with our group? How do we react to different linguistic styles that are associated with ingroup and outgroup categories? How are ingroups ← 4 | 5 →and outgroups depicted in the news and how are intergroup relations maintained, shaped or modified by news reporting? And how can intergroup communication be regulated through norms? These questions are addressed in the first section, composed of five chapters that analyze the general processes underlying intergroup communication from different vantage points.

In Chapter 2 on Shared Identity and the Intergroup Dynamics of Communication, Katharine Greenaway, Kim Peters, Alex Haslam, and William Bingley address communication with ingroup and outgroup members from the perspective of SIT. They argue that people are motivated to communicate effectively with ingroup members, but that communications with outgroup members have the potential to be compromised by reduced willingness to communicate. The authors discuss the broad range of social and organizational evidence that speaks to these hypotheses, and to the processes that underpin them. In particular, they report evidence that (a) communications that are crafted for ingroup members are generally of a higher quality than those crafted for outgroup members and (b) that communications that are believed to be crafted by ingroup members are generally perceived to be of a higher quality than those perceived to be crafted by outgroup members (even when their quality is in fact identical). At the same time, research reported in their chapter also shows that these patterns change in response to factors that change the basis of perceivers’ self-categorization. For instance, communication with outgroups becomes more effective when it is framed as reflecting superordinate goals and in ways that encourage perceivers to recategorize an erstwhile outgroup as an ingroup.

In the following chapter, entitled De-Dichotomizing Intergroup and Interpersonal Dynamics: Perspectives on Communication, Identity, and Relationships, Katlyn Gangi and Jordan Soliz address the question of how our communication both affects and reflects our social identities. Historically, much of the scholarship on human relations tends to dichotomize the interpersonal and the collective or group-based level (e.g., interethnic-racial, intercultural, interfaith). For instance, we often locate a relational context in an interpersonal or intercultural domain. To challenge this dichotomous view, the authors of this chapter suggest four propositions to guide future theorizing: (1) Interpersonal communication attends to constellations of social identities; (2) Relational solidarity is not solely the product of interpersonal dynamics; (3) Greater relational intimacy does not necessitate less intergroup influence; and (4) Personal relationships operate as social collectives. Whereas previous research has demonstrated how intergroup dimensions can pervade personal relationships (e.g., interfaith families, interethnic-racial friendships), the authors here posit that many of our personal relationships still reflect an intragroup collective identity. And although our closest and most intimate relationships are typically seen as those in which intergroup dynamics are absent (or minimized), these authors suggest that closeness necessitates acknowledging and attending to — in ← 5 | 6 →addition to individual idiosyncrasies and personality — the social identities of the other. Thus, in this chapter, Gangi and Soliz position social identity and intergroup theorizing as a framework that accounts for identity, difference, relational solidarity, and communication in intimate and non-intimate relationships.

In Chapter 4, entitled Language Attitudes as Intergroup Terrain, Marko Dragojevic examines language attitudes from an intergroup perspective. Language attitudes are evaluative reactions to different linguistic styles (e.g., accent, dialect) that involve two sequential cognitive processes: categorization and stereotyping. First, listeners use speech cues (e.g., accent) to infer speakers’ social group membership(s). Second, based on that categorization, they attribute to speakers stereotypic traits associated with those (inferred) group memberships. In other words, language attitudes reflect people’s stereotypes about different linguistic groups and, as a result, are a function of past and current intergroup relations. Drawing on intergroup theories and past research on language attitudes in a wide range of disciplines (e.g., communication, psychology, linguistics), this chapter examines (a) how, when, and where language attitudes are formed, (b) how existing language attitudes influence communication and social interaction, and (c) how and when language attitudes might change over time.

In Chapter 5, concerning News Media and Intergroup Contexts, Craig Stewart discusses how journalists and editors—often members of privileged groups—make decisions, both consciously and unconsciously, that determine how members of marginalized outgroup members are represented in the news media. These representations will then influence how news media consumers see members of those outgroups, especially when ingroup members have little or no other contact with outgroup members. At the same time, outgroups’ use of social creativity and social competition strategies in public communication will itself become the subject of news discourse, bringing these marginalized perspectives (through various filters) to ingroup audiences, and playing a role in the potential reshaping of intergroup relations. This chapter reviews research on news media across several areas: how intergroup contexts shape news production and consumption; how news coverage of crime, immigration, and the “war on terror” affects intergroup attitudes; how news influences, and is influenced by, national and political identity; and how news media may impede or improve intergroup relations.

In the last chapter of this section, Becky Robinson and Scott Reid discuss how norms of political correctness may affect and be affected by intergroup dynamics. In their chapter on Political Correctness the authors discuss the advantages and risks of regulating intergroup communication through political correctness norms. Norms of political correctness dictate that members of privileged groups should avoid communicating about members of historically disadvantaged groups (e.g., women, ethnic minorities) in any way that might be seen as offensive. On the one side, these norms are beneficial to intergroup relations. For instance, research on ← 6 | 7 →stereotype threat has shown that offensive communication can have detrimental effects on members of minority and majority groups alike. On the other side, paradoxically, the pressure to comply with the (often vague) norms of political correctness can result in less friendly intergroup relations. The authors of this chapter explore the factors that affect judgments towards politically (in)correct communication, how norms of political correctness are communicated to group members, and the ways in which communication is used to sanction norm violations.

Together the first five chapters address the mutual influence of social identity and communication in intergroup settings and delineate general psychological and normative processes affecting communication between social groups and their members.

Tools of Intergroup Communication

In this section, authors investigate specific verbal and nonverbal tools used in intergroup communication to express and to negotiate social identities. Some of these constitute very blatant forms of expression, such as when speakers refer to outgroup members with animal metaphors; others are very subtle as in the case in which we follow or do not follow the gaze of our interlocutor or in which we simply mention social groups in different order (men and women vs. mothers and fathers). Yet others are specific to mediated communication in which self-presentation and intergroup interaction follow somewhat different principles, dictated by the deindividuated nature of the setting in which communication takes place. Together, the chapters of this section illustrate the rich repertoire from which players in the (real or cyber) social arena can choose when communicating across group boundaries.

In Chapter 7, concerning Intergroup Metaphors, Nick Haslam, Elise Holland, and Michelle Stratemeyer review research and theory on the use of metaphors in intergroup contexts. These metaphors are common ways of marking group differences and may convey positive as well as negative meanings. The authors place special emphasis on the use of animal metaphors and their relation to dehumanizing perceptions of outgroups. They examine research on the diverse meanings of animal metaphors, and how dehumanizing meanings of different kinds attach to particular metaphors (e.g., ape metaphors for Africans or ‘primitive’ people, vermin metaphors in Nazi imagery, insect metaphors in the Rwandan conflict). They also discuss the use of animal metaphors in the context of gender, and the sexualized or derogatory meanings they sometimes carry (e.g., wildcat, fox, chick). Finally, the totemic use of animal metaphors as signifiers of ingroup pride and strength, as in sporting teams, is examined. Together, this chapter illustrates the functions of metaphors both in protecting and magnifying the ingroup and in derogating and dehumanizing the outgroup.

← 7 | 8 →In Chapter 8, entitled Binomial Word Order and Social Status, an international and interdisciplinary team composed of Peter Hegarty, Sandra Mollin, and Rob Foels addresses the implicit social meanings of binomial word order. Why do phrases that reference gender groups (e.g., men and women) or gendered individuals (e.g., Romeo and Juliet) reference males first? Classic linguistic theories articulate a plethora of explanations for speakers’ behavioral preferences to order words in binomial phrases. Hegarty, Mollin, and Foels argue that preferences are explained by semantic beliefs about the entities referenced rather than the phonological features of words. Specifically, order expresses beliefs about the status, closeness, and agency when binomials reference individuals, kinship and occupational roles, and social categories. The authors summarize converging evidence in psychology and linguistics on gender binomials and present new results on preferences for order when referring to different status groups.

Luigi Castelli and Giovanni Galfano, in their chapter on Nonverbal Behavior and Intergroup Communication, go beyond spoken or written words, looking at the way in which intergroup relations affect nonverbal behaviors and how such nonverbal behaviors, in turn, shape interactions between members of different groups. Non-verbal communication represents a virtually unavoidable ingredient of social exchanges and may take many different forms: from complex behavioral patterns to more subtle facial expressions, gestures, bodily and gaze movements, which can either be performed in a deliberate or more spontaneous fashion (Ambady & Rosenthal, 1998). In the first part of the chapter the authors discuss how category-based processing affects people’s non-verbal behaviors. Here, the focus is mainly on each actor in isolation, examining the role of stereotypical expectations, personal values, situational goals, and triggered motivational states in shaping non-verbal components. Next, the authors focus on more properly interactive processes, examining how typical patterns of non-verbal behavioral mimicry, and joint action/attention can be disrupted in intergroup contexts. Finally, they broaden the perspective further by discussing the implications of observing different non-verbal behaviors in intergroup vs. intragroup settings as a key route for cultural transmission and for the maintenance of stereotypical representations and strong intergroup boundaries.

Finally, in Chapter 10, entitled Social Media and Intergroup Communication: Collapsing and Expanding Group Contexts, Caleb Carr, Eric Varney, and Ryan Blesse address a more general issue, namely, the processes by which social media enable new means of self-presentation and group identification, allowing individuals multiple ways to affiliate with social, organizational, or educational groups. Paradoxically to these displays of social identities, social media concurrently afford individuals opportunities to personalize themselves as unique individuals, distinct from a social group. This chapter presents original arguments about how social media enable social identification processes and facilitate intergroup ← 8 | 9 →interaction to broaden and bridge disparate groups. The authors conclude by applying these principles to promising future directions for mediated communication and the application of intergroup principles to self-presentation and intergroup (and intragroup) interactions.

Social Groups and Their Context

The third section is dedicated to specific intergroup settings in which the above-mentioned tools may emerge (an issue that will again be addressed in Chapter 18). Each intergroup setting has specific characteristics, including different degrees of interdependence, attachment, trust, legitimacy and permeability of group boundaries. Unsurprisingly then also the communication between groups should show distinct features that reflect the nature of their relation. Here three intergroup settings are considered, namely gender, sexual orientation and political party membership.

The first chapter in this section addresses gender, a pervasive and somewhat unique intergroup setting, not only for the unusually high level of interdependence but also for the fact that gender is grammatically marked in many languages, making it an intrinsic and unavoidable aspect of speech and reading. Ute Gabriel and Pascal Gygax start their chapter on Gender and Linguistic Sexism from the assumption that language, as a vehicle of representations, can highlight, accentuate or blur intergroup boundaries. On one side, the normative use of masculine terms in gendered languages, though theoretically carrying a generic gender meaning, leads to an empirically demonstrated invisibility, or even exclusion of women in gender representations. On the other side, the mere existence of morphological gender markings (e.g., in French “doctoresse”) or semantic markings (calling a doctor “female doctor”) can unnecessarily activate gender-categories, suggesting it to be relevant even when it is not, thereby leading to the perpetuation of gender stereotypes. The authors first provide a short overview of how gender of human referents is marked/non-marked in different languages and then discuss the link between language and intergroup relations through the lens of their meaning activation model (Lévy, Gygax, & Gabriel, 2014).

In Chapter 12, entitled Communication of the “Invisible”: Disclosing and Inferring Sexual Orientation Through Visual and Vocal Cues, Fabio Fasoli, Anne Maass, and Simone Sulpizio discuss different ways in which sexual orientation may be disclosed in interpersonal communication. Different from other social categories such as sex, race or age, sexual orientation is an invisible, private characteristic, which can only be inferred on the basis of self-disclosing communication. Whereas heterosexuality is the default that rarely requires disclosure, homosexuality may be communicated either explicitly or, more commonly, through subtle implicit cues such as symbols, non-verbal behaviors or vocal information. In ← 9 | 10 →this chapter, the authors argue that the display of such cues has communicative value and can, to some degree, be interpreted correctly by observers. Although subtle, such cues are sufficient to elicit spontaneous categorization, which will in turn guide subsequent inferences about a host of characteristics such as likeability, personality characteristics, medical conditions, and the like. Drawing on both psycholinguistic and social-psychological research, Fasoli et al. discuss how sexual orientation is communicated, which cues are interpreted more or less accurately and what consequences derive for intergroup relations based on sexual orientation.

The final chapter in this section deals with political party membership. In her chapter entitled An Intergroup Approach to Political Communication, Charlotte Nau analyzes political partisanship, an individual’s formal or psychological commitment to a particular political party, which is widely considered a central force in democracies. As demonstrated by previous research, partisanship has the ability to influence citizens’ perceptions of political events, messages, and personnel. Hence, it can shape their specific attitudes, such as candidate preferences, and guide their behavior, such as voting. Social psychology often treats political partisanship as an attitudinal construct, but some argue that it also represents an instance of group identification, similar to age, ethnicity, or gender. Therefore, political communication must pay attention to the question of how an individual’s membership in one or another political group impacts their way of transmitting or receiving political messages. This chapter explores political partisanship through the lens of intergroup communication. Specifically, the author reviews existing theoretical frameworks and empirical findings to describe how partisanship is related to biases in the processing of political information. According to the author, these biases serve to strengthen group identity by perpetuating differences in opinions and attitudes between supporters of different parties.

Intergroup Communication in Organizations

The fourth section of this volume deals with the question of how (and with which complications) intergroup communication takes place in organizations such as companies, health services or the military. This section underlines the need to consider intergroup communication within the constraints of specific organizations, each characterized by unique forms of interaction, a unique history, and unique goals.

In Chapter 14, entitled Organizational Socialization and Intergroup Dynamics, DaJung Woo and Karen Myers argue that many organizational phenomena can be examined from an intergroup perspective, including gender issues, intergenerational or inter-team interactions, and professional identities/identification. The authors start the chapter by providing a brief overview of organizational research to show how identity-related and intergroup issues have been studied. Then, they ← 10 | 11 →introduce organizational socialization and discuss why/how this area is an important and interesting intersection of intergroup and organizational communication. Socialization is the process by which individuals join and become integrated into organizations or professional communities. Considering that organizational membership and one’s profession/position within organizations is often one of the most important social identities that influence one’s self-identity, SIT is highly relevant to analyzing socialization processes. From this perspective, socialization is the process in which individuals characterized as outgroup members — “not yet one of us” — transition to become ingroup members by achieving membership in organizations, teams, or occupational groups. The chapter shows intergroup dynamics that occur in four different stages of socialization — anticipatory socialization, encounter, metamorphosis, and exit — and concludes with suggestions for future socialization research framed by intergroup perspectives.

Chapter 15, written by Lori Leach, Bernadette Watson, David Hewett, Gavin Schwarz, and Cindy Gallois, is dedicated to Intergroup Communication and Leadership in Healthcare. The health sector is wellknown as an arena of poor communication and organizational conflict, which threatens the safety and quality of patient care. Communication failures have been implicated as a major cause of adverse events in patient care, and repeated calls have appeared for better interprofessional training and relations. Hospitals comprise culturally distinct units within which power hierarchies and professional identities influence relations and communication, which often give rise to conflict. In this chapter, the authors review the existing literature about organizational communication in health. They discuss the often neglected role of management in hospitals, the impact of system variables on intergroup dynamics and interprofessional communication, and the consequences for patient care. It is argued that leadership by clinicians and managers, and communication between them, is a key contributor to quality of care. The chapter concludes with a research agenda, emphasizing research that aims to position health care leaders as drivers of improvement in intergroup communication.

In Chapter 16, entitled Intergroup Communication Perspectives on Military Families and the Military-Civilian Divide, Steven Wilson and Skye Chernichky deal specifically with military families as a group who experiences unique challenges, such as relocations, deployments, and the possibility (and in some cases, reality) of a service member being injured or killed. They also possess unique strengths such as shared sense of pride in serving their country. Military families often feel divided from their civilian counterparts, yet intergroup perspectives have rarely been applied to date in this context. The authors of this chapter address this gap by exploring how military family members define their shared social identity, when military families experience interactions with civilians as intergroup communication, when military-related social identities (e.g., active duty vs. guard/reserve) may create divides between military families, and when military/civilian ← 11 | 12 →divides may emerge within military families (e.g., service members vs. spouses/parents). Intergroup theories are used to illuminate and explain aspects of military life (e.g., perceived understanding, social support) in ways that complement and extend existing interpersonal communication theories.

Future Directions


VII, 355
ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2016 (April)
Intergroup Communication Gender Sexism
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2016. VII, 355 pp., num. ill.

Biographical notes

Howard Giles (Volume editor) Anne Maass (Volume editor)

Howard Giles (PhD, D.Sc. Bristol) is Professor of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is Founding and current Editor of the Journal of Language and Social Psychology and the Journal of Asian Pacific Communication. Anne Maass is Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Padova. She has been Associate Editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Chief Editor of the European Journal of Social Psychology.


Title: Advances in Intergroup Communication
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