Friend or Foe?: A Reversal of Ingroup Bias

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Research on groups in organizations has regularly identified the presence of favoritism toward members of one’s ingroup. Identity with a social group helps understand this bias, yet the mechanisms that may undermine the process have not been well documented. This study investigates the effect that not adhering to group expectations has on the positive bias otherwise awarded ingroup members, thus extending the literature on social identity theory and intragroup dynamics. Given that ingroup members, as compared to outgroup members, are expected to reciprocate loyalty and trust, this study examines what happens to the bias for the ingroup member that does not adhere to group expectations. Results from an intergroup negotiation experiment support the hypotheses that breaching group norms minimizes the ingroup bias effect. More importantly, results revealed a reversal of the ingroup bias, whereby ingroup members who did not uphold group expectations were evaluated more negatively than outgroup members.