Publication date: June 2020
Source: Current Opinion in Psychology, Volume 33
Author(s): Nour S Kteily, Kaylene J McClanahan
Human societies are organized into group-based hierarchies, with some groups enjoying the privileges of being on top and others struggling at the bottom. The position groups occupy in the hierarchy fundamentally shape their psychology, influencing their perception of and orientation toward the status quo and their perspectives and needs in conflict. Despite a growing body of interventions designed to reduce group-based conflict, the role of group power in shaping the effectiveness of these approaches remains underappreciated. We first review the psychological consequences of group power. We then highlight how overlooking this psychology can result in intervention efforts to reduce conflict that are either ineffective or successfully increase intergroup harmony but do so at the cost of entrenching inequality. We conclude with recommendations for incorporating insights from research on group power to develop approaches that help to achieve both greater intergroup harmony and equality.