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Justice Rules of Ingroup Loyalties

March 19, 2012

“Human beings have devised many ways of dividing available resources ‘fairly’ among themselves; in Western society, especially in work situations, the equity norm has predominated (Sampson, 1975). According to this principle, workers deserve a share of available resources proportionate to their contributions to the finished product (see Walster, Berschied, & Walster, 1973). But what worker characteristics constitute legitimate inputs? Legal sanctions typically prohibit considerations of variables such as ethnicity or gender, which differentiate workers but presumably do not affect their performance. When valued resources become scarce, however, intergroup conflict increases (Campbell, 1965; Sherif, 1966); group differences on such dimensions become more salient, acquiring ‘evaluative significance’ (Tajfel, 1970) and redefinition as relevant inputs in the determination of resource allocation (Lerner, 1977). How pervasive is the tendency to modify justice rules in favor of one’s group when resources are scarce? …” (696)

Ref: Shelagh M.J. Towson, Melvin J. Lerner, and André de Carufel (1981) Justice Rules of Ingroup Loyalties: The effects of competition on children’s allocation behavior Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 7(4) Dec, 696-700

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