Frontiers in Psychology
Personality and Social Psychology
Baumeister et al. (2016) proposed that people perform better in groups only “when members of the group are individually identified and responsible” (p. 2), and conversely, that people perform worse in groups when they “are not publicly identified or rewarded” (p. 2). In other words, they emphasized how individual responsibility contributes to group success. However, we argue that shared identity, whereby group members share a common responsibility, can also facilitate group success in many circumstances, and thus should not be discounted. Several authors have shared the same view in the open peer commentary published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences about the ideas of Baumeister et al. (e.g., Budescu and Maciejovsky, 2016; Haslam and Ellemers, 2016; Nijstad and De Dreu, 2016). These authors had noted the special role of shared identity or having a common goal in facilitating bonds between members. Consistent with this, Ein-Dor and Hirschberger (2016) show how forming a cohesive group is a prerequisite for whether differentiation can have its maximal effect on group success. We argue two additional factors ignored by Baumeister et al. influence the effect of individual identity on group success: cultural differences and task characteristics.
Zhang Z, Warren CM, Lei Y, Xing Q and Li H (2018) Commentary: Are groups more or less than the sum of their members? The moderating role of individual identification. Front. Psychol. 9:999. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00999