Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology



Social identity as social glue (2004)

Van Vugt, M., & Hart, C. M. (2004). Social identity as social glue: The origins of group loyalty.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 583-598. 



Three experiments investigated the role of social identity in fostering group loyalty, defined as staying when members can obtain better outcomes by leaving their group. In the first experiment, high (vs. low) identifiers expressed a stronger desire to stay in the group in the presence of an attractive (vs. unattractive) exit option. The second and third experiments replicated this basic finding and tested several explanations. The results suggested that high identifiers’ group loyalty is better explained by an extremely positive impression of their group membership (group perception) than by a justification of previous investments in the group (self perception) or their adherence to a nonabandonment norm (norm perception). Hence, social identity seems to act as social glue. It provides stability in groups that would otherwise collapse.


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