Van Vugt, M., & Chang, K. (2006). Group reactions to loyal and disloyal high status members. Unpublished manuscript.  
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Abstract:

 

In three experiments we investigated group reactions to disloyal and loyal members, whereby loyalty (disloyalty) was operationalized in terms of staying in (leaving) a group when leaving is personally beneficial, yet harmful to the group. All three experiments confirmed our main prediction that disloyal members are evaluated more negatively than loyal members, especially when they are high status members, whose contributions are relatively more important to group welfare. Additional analyses suggest that disloyal high status members are disliked more because they undermine group identification, cooperation between members, and the cohesion of the entire group.
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