Dealing with deviants: The effectiveness of rejection, denial, and apologies on protecting the public image of a group
Article first published online: 6 APR 2009
Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 40, Issue 2, pages 282–299, March 2010
How to Cite
van Leeuwen, E., van den Bosch, M., Castano, E. and Hopman, P. (2010), Dealing with deviants: The effectiveness of rejection, denial, and apologies on protecting the public image of a group. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 40: 282–299. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.622
- Issue published online: 12 FEB 2010
- Article first published online: 6 APR 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 29 JAN 2009
- Manuscript Received: 25 AUG 2008
- Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Grant Number: 451-02-030
Public transgressions by group members threaten the public image of a group when outside observers perceive them as representative of the group in general. In three studies, we tested the effectiveness of rejection of a deviant group member who made a racist comment in public, and compared this to several other strategies the group could employ to protect their image. In Study 1 (N = 75) and Study 2 (N = 51), the group was judged less racist after rejecting the deviant than after claiming a non-racist position or not responding to the transgression. Perceived typicality of the deviant partially mediated this effect in Study 2. In Study 3 (N = 81), the group was judged least racist after forcing the deviant to apologize and as most racist after denying the severity of the transgression. Results also showed a negative side-effect of rejection. Perceived exclusion of the deviant contributed to a perception of the group as disloyal to its members, which resulted in a less favorable overall group evaluation. Potential benefits and risks of rejection, denial, and apologies are further discussed in the General Discussion. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.