Establishing the construct of subtle identity performances directed at the outgroup and providing an answer to successful intergroup leadership
Jones, Benjamin R.
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Leaders responsible for overseeing multiple groups increase the likelihood of accomplishing organizational goals if they can successfully garner support and trust from all the groups they lead. However, when a leader emerges from one group, he or she may be viewed by others as having an inherit bias to his or her own group. How can a leader gain the support and trust of those in other groups without alienating him or herself from his or her base? This is a common, but understudied, intergroup leadership dilemma. In this dissertation, I aim to show that subtle identity performances directed at the outgroup (subtle identity performancesDAO), subtle appeals that are effectively invisible to those who are not familiar with the targeted outgroup’s norms, can be used by leaders to gain support and trust from their outgroup members, allowing them to maximize their potential following. Indeed, subtle identity performancesDAO are increasingly possible in today’s technological age; motivated leaders can access information that informs them of a targeted outgroup’s normative behavior and utilize this information to conduct subtle appeals to gain trust and support from their opposition. In my dissertation, I conduct three studies that introduce the construct subtle identity performancesDAO and test its effectiveness as a solution to a common problem of intergroup leadership. While the results of the studies ultimately do not support my primary hypotheses, that leaders can utilize subtle identity performances to gain trust and support from outgroup members, I offer suggestions for future research to help extend the body of work on subtle appeals.