Effective to a fault: Organizational structure predicts attitudes toward minority organizations


Journal Article

© 2017 Elsevier Inc. We consider how the structure of groups seeking collective action on behalf of minorities impacts attitudes toward them. We predicted that hierarchical minority organizations are perceived as more effective social agents than non-hierarchical minority organizations and thus are particularly unlikely to be supported by those who prefer to maintain inequality. In a pretest, a hierarchical organization was judged more efficacious than a non-hierarchical organization. In two experiments (N = 814; N = 809), organizational structure (hierarchical vs. non-hierarchical) and membership (baseline vs. minority) were manipulated. Stronger preference for maintaining inequality was associated with increased desire to limit a minority organization's access to power, specifically when that organization was hierarchical. Findings suggest structure may signal the extent to which minority organizations pose a threat to the dominant social order and thus can drive responses to them. That is, minorities who organize may face unique pushback from those invested in maintaining inequality.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Fath, S; Proudfoot, D; Kay, AC

Published Date

  • November 1, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 73 /

Start / End Page

  • 290 - 297

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-0465

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1031

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jesp.2017.10.003

Citation Source

  • Scopus