Social Identity, Self-Categorization, and the Communication of Group Norms


Michael A. Hogg; e-mail: or Scott A. Reid; e-mail:


We articulate the role of norms within the social identity perspective as a basis for theorizing a number of manifestly communicative phenomena. We describe how group norms are cognitively represented as context-dependent prototypes that capture the distinctive properties of groups. The same process that governs the psychological salience of different prototypes, and thus generates group normative behavior, can be used to understand the formation, perception, and diffusion of norms, and also how some group members, for example, leaders, have more normative influence than others. We illustrate this process across a number of phenomena and make suggestions for future interfaces between the social identity perspective and communication research. We believe that the social identity approach represents a truly integrative force for the communication discipline.