Social recognition as an equal: The role of equality-based respect in group life


Daniela Renger, Institute of Psychology, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Olshau enstrasse 40, 24098 Kiel, Germany.



The study presented in this article examined the role of social recognition as an equal in group members' motivation to serve their ingroup as well as actual group-serving behavior. We predicted and found that social recognition as opposed to non-recognition as an equal, communicated by fellow group members, increased participants' group-serving motivation and behavior. In addition, the psychological processes underlying this effect were examined. We theoretically derived a mediational chain, which was then tested empirically. As expected, social recognition as an equal led to experiences of being respected, and perceived equality of self played a mediational role in this relationship. The experience of respect, in turn, was associated with stronger collective identification, which played a mediating role linking the respect experience with higher motivation and better behavioral performance in group-serving tasks. Moreover, these effects operated over and above group members' perceptions of being liked by others. The practical and broader social implications of equality-based respect are discussed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.