Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Psychology, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Michael A. Hogg

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Eusebio M. Alvaro

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Michelle C. Bligh

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Cecilia Ridgeway

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2020 Nicolas B Barreto


Expectation States Theory, Leadership, Small Groups, Social Identity Theory of Leadership, Social Influence, Status Characteristics Theory

Subject Categories

Social Psychology


One of the most important features of any group is who is most influential, who leads. Expectation states theory (EST) and the social identity theory of leadership (SITL) both make predictions about which group member will have the most influence. EST argues that group members follow whomever they believe will lead the group to success. SITL states that the individual who best embodies the group’s defining attributes has the most influence. This dissertation proposed that influence and leadership in a group are dependent on group features, and it tested two such features: (a) a group’s social context and (b) a group’s goals. Two studies were conducted. Study 1 focused on the social context of a task group, specifically the presence or absence of a competitive outgroup. Study 2 focused on the type of group, specifically if the group was focused on a particular task or not. Study 1 (N = 216) manipulated group context (intergroup vs. intragroup between-subjects) and had student participants evaluate three ingroup leader options: a representative leader, a leader with social status, and a leader with experience (a three-level within-subjects variable). It was predicted that group members in an intergroup context (vs. intragroup) would be more likely to endorse (H1a) and positively evaluate (H1b) a representative group member over someone with social status in society, who in turn would be rated more positively than someone with task-related expertise. It was found that representative leaders were endorsed the most and rated highest among the leaders. While endorsement was not conditional on group context (failing to support H1a), leader ratings were conditional on the presence of a competitive outgroup (supporting H1b), however not in the way expected. When an outgroup was present, leaders with expertise were rated as high as representative leaders. Without an outgroup, leaders with expertise were rated significantly lower than representative leaders. Study 2 (N = 217), similar to Study 1, was a 2 (between) by 3 (within) design comparing two types of groups (task-oriented vs. non-task-oriented) and had student participants evaluate three ingroup leader options. When the context was non-task-oriented (compared to task-oriented), group members were expected to show greater endorsement (H2a) and more positive evaluations (H2b) for a representative leader than for a leader with general social status or one with task-related expertise. The results of Study 2 replicated the pattern found in Study 1, but none of the interactions predicting leader rankings or ratings were significant, thus, failing to support either hypothesis.