People are likely to evaluate their group's standing on an ability dimension by comparing the performance level of their own group with that of an outgroup. However, in addition to contrasting performance outcomes, they may also compare the specific circumstances under which both groups have performed. From a related attributes perspective, we argue that the outcome of such a comparison is a crucial determinant of the extent to which the relative success or failure of one's group can be ascribed to its superior or inferior ability respectively, and hence of the degree to which the relative position of one's group on the performance dimension in question can be perceived as legitimate and stable (i.e. as justified and unlikely to change). Accordingly, the present research shows that information concerning performance-related circumstances has an impact on a wide range of reactions to the relative performance of one's group, varying from the experience of positive and negative affect, to motivational responses such as changes in collective efficacy beliefs for performance improvement, individual effort on behalf of the ingroup, and the tendency to hinder the future performance of an outgroup.