Why Some Groups Just Feel Better: The Regulatory Fit of Group Power

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Abstract

The current research applied the regulatory fit hypothesis (E. T. Higgins, 2000) to the evaluation of groups, suggesting that individuals' group appraisal depends on how well the groups fit their regulatory needs. Specifically, it was predicted that higher power groups would fit and be more valued by those individuals with a promotion focus because these groups provide a better opportunity to sustain nurturance and achievement needs. Alternatively, lower power groups were predicted to fit and be more valued by those individuals with a prevention focus because these groups necessitate (and thus sustain) a focus on safety and security. Five studies found support for these predictions by both assessing and manipulating regulatory focus and group power and by using explicit and implicit measures of group attraction. Moreover, these regulatory fit effects occurred specifically for group power and not for general differences in group status.

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