A Social Psychological Perspective
Chapter 15. Identity Management Strategies
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When people are not satisfied with their social identity, they have three possible alternatives for a more positive assessment: individual mobility, social creativity, or social competition. The strategy or direction of the behavior adopted by the person depends on the perceived legitimacy of the situation, the stability of intergroup relations, and the permeability of group boundaries (Tajfel, 1982). As we have seen, the social group “women” has been stigmatized for centuries by the patriarchal system, and the prototypical woman has been the housewife. Let’s examine the strategies women might develop to improve their situation in the workplace.
Individual mobility is seen to be associated with a general belief in the possibility of social mobility, while social creativity and social competition are conceptualized as aspects of a belief system of social change. The latter system of beliefs is likely to dictate the behavior of people when the feeling of belonging to a group is very strong and when they are aware that they must act either to enhance or defend their status.
In the workplace, for example, women who perceive that there is a “glass ceiling” may believe that their best strategy for advancing at work is to progress as an individual (for example, act as “one of the boys”) instead of trying to establish collective action to improve the way women are ← 165 | 166 → treated and their status in general (Ellemers & van Laar, 2010; Haslam, 2004; Schmitt, Ellemers, & Branscombe,...
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