"Coping with morality threat in high status groups: The case of financial service professionals "
Utrecht University - Social, Health and Organizational Psychology
Prof.Dr. Naomi Ellemers
Dr. Felice van Nunspeet
1 September 2016 - 31 August 2020
Externally funded by private sector and NWO/Dutch Science Foundation Spinoza Project
This PhD project will study morality threats in high status groups. It aims to build upon theoretical and experimental work on social identity and strategies to cope with a devalued identity, and extend these insights by applying them to the case of professionals in the financial service sector. The recent financial crisis and its aftermath, in combination with the increased visibility of perceived transgressions of the financial sector via media, highlighted the in/outgroup differences between the financial sector professionals and the rest of society. Financial services professionals, as a group, were attacked by the rest of the society and thus the identity of the group was threatened. This created natural research conditions for social identity theory, in/outgroup dynamics and morality research. The PhD project examines reactions of high status group members to moral threats, coping strategies (e.g. CSR) and constituent parts of effective communication between ingroups and outgroups in the private equity industry, from a social psychology perspective. The aim is to develop new theory which can be applied in practice.