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Stereotyping and Social Identity Theory

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 987 words Published: 8th Sep 2017

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Apply your knowledge of stereotyping and social identity theory to explain what went wrong here.

Stereotyping is the basis of the social identity theory. Stereotyping can be characterized as the way to assign qualities to people in light of their investment in a social theory (McShane, 2010, p. 72). When you further investigate stereotypes, we find two different types. Prescriptive stereotypes and descriptive stereotypes. Prescriptive stereotypes depict the specific behavioral norms that individuals must uphold to avoid derogation or punishment by others (Gill, 2004). Descriptive stereotypes are perceivers’ beliefs about the characteristics of a social group and indicate the attributes, roles, and behaviors that describe that group (Gill, 2004). Collectively, stereotyping lays the groundwork for prejudice and discrimination.

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The social identity theory states that the “in-group” will discriminate against the “out-group” to enhance their own self image. It also clarifies how we perceive people through differentiation, homogenization and categorization. It is crucial to remember that “in-groups” are the groups you are apart of and that you associate with and “out-groups” are the groups that we don’t normally identify with and my discriminate against.

It was clear on in the case of Rochelle Beauport that she appreciated being an assistant brand manager. The position appeared to be more challenging and had a greater affected on the organization’s profits than the new position, market resource coordinator. The market resource coordinator position was more classified as a “behind the scenes” job. Rochelle had the feeling that the new position was not the route to top administration in most organizations. Because of her skin colour she had also built up a perception that she was placed on “reserve” and felt that Syd Gilman thought she didn’t deserve her previous position.

What went wrong was that Syd Gilman thought that Rochelle would enjoy and appreciate the new position that had brought him to the high position he holds at the company. He felt as if offering the new position to her, would help her widen her experience and enhance her career at Hy Dairies, Inc. Mr. Gilman thought that his journey up the corporate latter through market resource coordinator would benefit Rochelle the same way. He believed that his experiences he would be able to share with Rochelle in the future. From Rochelle’s point of view she was confused that the job offered to her was at the same level or even a downgrade for he previous position. Since she had such a great year boosting the company sales, Rochelle was anticipating a promotion to a higher position. Hearing that Mr. Gilman offered her market resource coordinator she was shocked to say the least. She thought that the position was a downgrade and that Mr. Gilman didn’t want her to get promoted because of her skin colour or even her gender. Rochelle wasn’t aware that the new position had been given with positive implications that she’d advance in the company the same way Mr. Gilman did as well.

What other perceptual error is apparent in this case study?

While reading the case study I noticed that the Halo effect, and others is apparent as well. The Halo effect is when you immediately form an impression on someone just from one trait/behaviour. Since you are blinded by the one trait/behaviour its hard for you to be able to see their other traits because you are so focused on one. For Rochelle when Syd Gilman offered her the new position she immediately thought he was trying to downgrade her because the market resource coordinator was known to be a sideline job. Just based on this interaction she felt as if she was being betrayed because of her differences, her thought was that Syd Gilman didn’t want her to reach top management so he gave her market resource coordinator trying to make her think she was getting a promotion. Through the lack of communication

What can organizations do to minimize misperceptions in these types of situations?

In conflict situations, avoiding misunderstanding takes a lot of time and effort. Some considerations that the organizations or Mr. Gilman can do are:

A.) The first is active listening. The goal of active listening is to understand the receivers as well as you understand yourself (McShane, 2010, pg 81). A message cannot be interpreted by the listener if he/she does not pay attention to what the speaker says. In this case, Syd Gilman should pay close attention to what Rochelle Beauport is saying. If need be, he should have the eagerness to discuss, clarify, or repeat anything that is unclear or seems unreasonable. It is possible that Syd is thinking that he understands Rochelle very well, but this is mere a confusion of interpretation and understanding. Because Syd’s goal is to give Rochelle the position where he started, he should first hear her side of story. A major problem is that Rochelle Beauport is interpreting Mr. Gilman’s actions in a different way. You could go as far as saying she felt that she was underestimated. Because of the misunderstanding, there was an error in the communication between the two. To avoid this Syd Gilman should attempt to repeat back her case just as she has presented it to him. This will show that Mr. Gilman is listening (which suggests that Gilman cares about what Rochelle has to say) and that Syd Gilman understands what she has said or feels. It does not indicate that Gilman agrees with what she said, nor does Gilman have to agree. Mr. Gilman just needs to indicate that he does understand her perspective.


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