Members from diverse workgroups face the challenge to work effectively together. Benefits associated with diversity may be overshadowed by lack of cohesion and subgroup forming, which can withdraw team members from working together cooperatively or helping each other out when necessary. In three studies, we showed that an individual's focus on relationships (relational identity orientation; Brewer & Gardner, 1996), promotes prosocial behavior towards workgroup members from a different social group. Study 1 showed that high-trait relationally oriented individuals are more willing to cooperate with an outgroup member compared to low-trait relationally oriented individuals. Study 2 showed that priming a relational orientation leads to a higher willingness to help outgroup members compared to priming a personal or collective orientation. In Study 3, we replicated the findings of both studies and additionally tested two person-by-situation interaction models. It appeared that both trait relational identity orientation and identity primes appeared to independently predict cooperation tendencies with fellow workgroup members.
- identity orientation