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Is an outgroup member in need a friend indeed? Personal and task‐oriented contact as predictors of intergroup prosocial behavior

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Intergroup contact, particularly close personal contact, has been shown to improve intergroup relations, mainly by reducing negative attitudes and emotions toward outgroups. We argue that contact can also increase intergroup prosocial behavior. More specifically, we predict that different forms of contact will differentially impact on prosocial behavior directed at individual outgroup members and outgroups as a whole. Data of two studies (N1 = 264, N2 = 185), conducted with workgroups in two organizations, show that personal contact is a better predictor of prosocial behavior directed at individual outgroup members, whereas task‐oriented contact is a better predictor of prosocial behavior directed at an outgroup as a whole. Additionally, Study 2 provides evidence that empathy mediates the path from personal contact to individual‐directed prosocial behavior, whereas reward (but not cost) considerations mediate the path from task‐oriented contact to outgroup‐directed prosocial behavior. Implications for research on intergroup contact and prosocial behavior are discussed. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Research article
Is an outgroup member in need a friend indeed? Personal and task-oriented contact
as predictors of intergroup prosocial behavior
MIRIAM KOSCHATE
1
*, SALOME OETHINGER
2
, DIETA KUCHENBRANDT
3
AND ROLF VAN DICK
4
1
University of Exeter, UK;
2
University of Koblenz-Landau, Landau, Germany;
3
University of Bielefeld,
Germany;
4
Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany
Abstract
Intergroup contact, particularly close personal contact, has been shown to improve intergroup relations, mainly by reducing
negative attitudes and emotions toward outgroups. We argue that contact can also increase intergroup prosocial behavior. More
specically, we predict that different forms of contact will differentially impact on prosocial behavior directed at individual outgroup
members and outgroups as a whole. Data of two studies (N
1
=264, N
2
= 185), conducted with workgroups in two organizations,
show that personal contact is a better predictor of prosocial behavior directed at individual outgroup members, whereas task-
oriented contact is a better predictor of prosocial behavior directed at an outgroup as a whole. Additionally, Study 2 provides
evidence that empathy mediates the path from personal contact to individual-directed prosocial behavior, whereas reward (but
not cost) considerations mediate the path from task-oriented contact to outgroup-directed prosocial behavior. Implications for
research on intergroup contact and prosocial behavior are discussed. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
A vast number of studies have shown that intergroup contact
improves intergroup attitudes and emotions in many contact
settings and between different social groups (Pettigrew & Tropp,
2006, 2008). However, few studies have examined the ways in
which intergroup contact promotes positive intergroup
behavior (Schoeld, 1995; Tausch & Hewstone, 2010), such
as intergroup prosocial behavior. Previous research indicates
that different motivational processes underlie ingroup and
outgroup prosocial behavior (Stürmer, Snyder, Kropp, & Siem,
2006; Stürmer, Snyder, & Omoto, 2005). In the present paper,
we aim to examine (1) whether different forms of contact will
differentially impact on prosocial behavior directed at individual
outgroup members and outgroups as a whole, respectively, and
(2) the motivational processes that mediate the different paths.
Our research differs from previous research on intergroup
contact and prosocial behavior in two important ways. First, we
will differentiate between qualitatively different intergroup
contact situations: personal contact and task-oriented contact
(see Bettencourt, Brewer, Croak, & Miller, 1992; Brewer &
Miller, 1984). Second, we will examine both prosocial behavior
directed at an individual outgroup member as well as prosocial
behavior shown toward the outgroup as a whole. Although this
distinction has been suggested before (e.g., Wright & Richard,
2009), little research has examined the differential predictors of
individual-directed and group-directed intergroup prosocial
behavior explicitly. In the following sections, we will argue that
personal contact is more likely to promote prosocial behavior
directed at individual outgroup members, whereas task-oriented
contact is more likely to increase prosocial behavior directed at
the outgroup as a whole. We will also examine whether empathy
and costreward considerations differentially mediate the two
proposed paths. To test this idea, we investigated contact and
prosocial behavior between workgroups in two large German
organizations.
INTERGROUP PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR
The question about facilitating versus inhibiting factors for
prosocial behavior between individuals has received a great deal
of attention by researchers in social psychology. However, work
focusing on the constraints and processes that determine
intergroup prosocial behavior has only recently begun. With
regard to intergroup prosocial behavior, Wright and Richard
(2009) suggest a distinction between prosocial behavior shown
toward an individual outgroup member and prosocial behavior
directed at the outgroup as a whole. Although group membership
is thought to be salient in both instances, different personal and
strategic concerns appear to play a role when prosocial behavior
is directed at an individual outgroup member compared with the
outgroup as a whole, as we will discuss in the following sections.
Prosocial Behavior Directed at Individual Outgroup
Members
Stürmer and colleagues (Stürmer et al., 2005 2006) contrasted
help directed at individual ingroup members with help directed
*Correspondence to: Miriam Koschate, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Washington Singer Laboratories, University of Exeter, Exeter EX44QG,UK.
E-mail: M.Koschate-Reis@exeter.ac.uk
European Journal of Social Psychology,Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. (2012)
Published online in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com) DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.1879
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Received 23 May 2011, Accepted 27 February 2012
at individual outgroup members in a series of eld and
laboratory studies. These studies show that empathy is an
important predictor for help given to an ingroup member but
not for help given to an outgroup member. Instead, outgroup
members were helped more when they were attractive. This
difference in underlying motivation to help is based on the idea
that similarity (e.g., based on shared group membership) is
necessary for empathy to facilitate help. In a recent extension
of this model, Siem (2008; see also Stürmer & Snyder, 2009)
proposed that empathy may become predictive of help toward
an outgroup member if his or her group is perceived to be similar
to the ingroup.
According to the decategorization/personalization model
(Brewer & Miller, 1984; Ensari & Miller, 2006), contact that
leads ingroup members to focus on personal characteristics of
individual outgroup members should increase perceptions of
similarity. Similarities and dissimilarities can be discovered
during personal contact because such contact encourages social
comparisons between individuals as well as self-disclosure and
perspective taking (Ensari & Miller, 2006). Furthermore, by
creating differentiated and personalized conceptions of group
members within a situation, a categorization into ingroup and
outgroup loses its functionality and personal relationships can
be formed (Miller, 2002). Findings by Bettencourt et al. (1992)
support the decategorization/personalization model by showing
that the exchange of personal but not task-relevant information
led to a more individuated perception of outgroup members, par-
ticularly in cooperative settings. In line with the decategorization/
personalization model, personal intergroup contact has been
shown to increase empathy toward outgroup members (e.g.,
Hewstone, Cairns, Voci, Hamberger, & Niens, 2006; Tam
et al., 2007; Tam, Hewstone, Harwood, Voci, & Kenworthy,
2006).
In sum, personal contact is likely to promote prosocial
behavior directed at individual outgroup members because such
contact increases perceptions of similarities, thereby increasing
empathy. In contrast, personal contact is less likely to affect
prosocial behavior toward the outgroup as a whole as highly
personalized contact undermines category-based responding
(Bettencourt et al., 1992), and thus generalization to the whole
outgroup (Brown & Hewstone, 2005).
Prosocial Behavior Directed at an Outgroup as a Whole
Models predicting prosocial behavior toward an outgroup as a
whole suggest that most instances of outgroup helping have an
ingroup-serving function (Van Leeuwen & Täuber, 2009). For
instance, outgroup helping can be used to demonstrate status
and power (Nadler, 2002), to ensure the existence and the
meaning of the ingroup (Van Leeuwen, 2007), or to create a
more favorable impression of the group (Hopkins et al., 2007).
Thus, when group membership is salient and prosocial
behavior is shown toward another group as a whole, it is likely
that such behavior is motivated by strategic concerns. In addition
to an ingroup-serving function (i.e., rewards for helping),
strategic concerns are likely to further include considerations
of costs for helping (see Piliavin, Dovidio, Gaertner, & Clark,
1981). When one group helps another, it incurs costs such as
investing time and resources. A group may also jeopardize its
higher status when the prosocial action allows the outgroup to
become more autonomous (Nadler, 2002). Consequently,
strategic concerns such as costreward considerations are likely
to motivate prosocial behavior directed at an outgroup as a
whole.
Greater familiarity with the outgroup may lead to perceived
lower costs of helping (see also Dovidio, Piliavin, Gaertner,
Schroeder, & Clark, 1991) because less time and resources need
to be spent on identifying the problem and solving it. Task-
oriented intergroup contact has been found to increase
knowledge about the outgroups skills, roles, and duties
(Hewstone, Carpenter, Routh, & Franklyn-Stokes, 1994). Such
contact is also likely to increase perceived rewards for helping
as it gives the ingroup a chance to gauge any ingroup-serving
functions within the particular relationship.
In contrast to personal contact, contact situations that create a
strong task orientation have been shown to keep category-based
perceptions of outgroup members salient (Bettencourt et al.,
1992). This nding is in line with the mutual intergroup
differentiation model (Brown & Hewstone, 2005), which favors
category salience rather than decategorization during intergroup
contact so that changes in intergroup relations are generalized to
all outgroup members, even those not involved in the contact
situation (Brown, Maras, Masser, Vivian, & Hewstone, 2001;
Van Oudenhoven, Groenewoud, & Hewstone, 1996; Voci &
Hewstone, 2003). When category salience is achieved,
interactions between individuals represent intergroup contact,
leading to a category-based treatment of outgroup members.
In sum, task-oriented contact is likely to promote prosocial
behavior directed at an outgroup as a whole because it increases
perceived rewards and decreases perceived costs of intergroup
prosocial behavior. In contrast, task-oriented contact is less
likely to affect prosocial behavior directed at individual
outgroup members as category-based responding is retained.
RESEARCH CONTEXT
In the present studies, we will investigate contact and prosocial
behavior between employees working in different workgroups
within the same organization. Although workgroup relations
should overall be cooperative and allow for frequent and
positive intergroup contact, they have been found to provide a
fertile ground for intergroup conict (van Knippenberg, 2003).
Intergroup bias and so-called turf warsbetween workgroups
are widespread phenomena (Garman, Leach, & Spector, 2006;
Schütz & Bloch, 2006). Such conicts have been shown to
negatively affect employee well-being because they contribute
to mobbing (Zapf, Knorz, & Kulla, 1996) and stress (De Dreu,
van Dierendonck, & Dijkstra, 2004). Furthermore, conict
between workgroups may lead toworkow disruptions (Richter,
West, van Dick, & Dawson, 2006), and are thus a main concern
for management (Wunderer, 1990). Workgroup membership
has been found to be a meaningful social identity for many
people on a daily basis, frequently more so than the
superordinate organizational identity (Riketta & van Dick,
2005). Consequently, workgroup relations are a relevant eld
for testing intergroup contact effects on prosocial behavior.
Intergroup contact in organizations appears to have similar
effects as in other intergroup contexts. Intergroup contact under
Miriam Koschate et al.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. (2012)
the conditions presented by Allport (1954) (i.e., equal status,
goal interdependence, and authority support) has been found to
increase cooperation between workgroups, which in turn
reduces bias (Koschate & van Dick, 2011). Furthermore,
frequent intergroup contact alleviates the negative impact of
strong workgroup identication on effective intergroup relations
for employees who interact frequently with members of other
workgroups (Richter et al., 2006).
Prosocial behavior provides an important basis for the
operation of organizations (Katz, 1964). Workgroups need to
coordinate their work, provide internal services to each other,
and share resources in a way that benets the organization as a
whole. Consequently, prosocial behavior in organizations has
been found to shape the work context (Borman & Motowidlo,
1993), which in turn affects productivity (Podsakoff, Ahearne,
& MacKenzie, 1997). In this context, Rioux and Penner
(2001) showed that personal prosocial motives were more
closely related to help given to individual colleagues in an
organization, whereas organizational concerns were more likely
to predict prosocial behavior shown at the organizational level.
This study, however, neither examined prosocial behavior
between workgroups and their members nor intergroup contact
as a predictor of such behavior.
SUMMARY OF HYPOTHESES
On the basis of the literature on intergroup contact and
intergroup prosocial behavior summarized earlier, we predict
that personal contact with individual employees of another
workgroup should be more closely related to prosocial behavior
directed at individual members of that workgroup than task-
oriented contact (Hypothesis 1). In contrast, task-oriented
intergroup contact with another workgroup should be more
closely related to prosocial behavior directed at that workgroup
as a whole than personal contact (Hypothesis 2). These
differential relationships between different forms of contact
and intergroup prosocial behavior will be tested in Study 1. In
addition, Study 2 aims at investigating different processes
that underlie the two different paths from contact to outgroup
helping behavior. More specically, we propose that the path
between personal contact and prosocial behavior directed at
individual outgroup members will be mediated by empathy
(Hypothesis 3). In contrast, the path between task-oriented
contact and prosocial behavior directed at another workgroup
should be mediated by reward considerations (Hypothesis 4a)
as well as cost considerations (Hypothesis 4b).
STUDY 1
Participants and Procedure
We conducted a survey study in a large German mail-order
company. The organization is structured in a hierarchical
way with four business units representing 18 departments
(e.g., purchasing, marketing, controlling, sales, logistics),
subdivided into 70 workgroups. Most employees are white-
collar workers. Most departments are actively involved in
creating two mail-order catalogs per year as well as weekly
mailings. Although the atmosphere is overall friendly, many
rivalries exist between workgroups with similar tasks and
between departments over resources. It is relatively rare for
employees to change from one workgroup to another.
However, apprentices are required to work in a number of
different workgroups and departments throughout their
apprenticeship program, creating a low but constant level of
permeability between workgroups. Overall, employees
reported a relatively high level of identication with the
organization (M= 4.21, SD = 0.57) and an even higher level
of identication with their workgroup (M= 4.33, SD = 0.63,
t(259) = 3.28, p<.001), suggesting that the workgroup is the
more important social identity in their normal working day
(see also Riketta & van Dick, 2005).
1
Of the 70 workgroups, nine workgroups with less than
three employees were excluded from the study for reasons of
anonymity, and another ve workgroups were excluded because
there was no regular interaction with other workgroups. Of the
remaining 56 workgroups, 49 (88%) different workgroups with
a total of 386 employees agreed to participate in the study. Each
of these employees received a questionnaire, of which 286
(74%) were returned. Twenty-two questionnaires were excluded
because of missing data on one or more variables, leaving 264
(68%) data sets to be analyzed.
Measures
Participants were provided with a booklet containing all items
and were asked to indicate the name of their workgroup at the
beginning. Scales were presented in the following order: task-
oriented contact, personal contact, prosocial behavior toward
individual outgroup members and the outgroup as a whole
(counterbalanced), and tenure. Participants were asked to answer
all contact and prosocial behavior items with respect to one
specic other workgroup that was identied as the main
cooperation partner of the participants own workgroup by the
workgroups manager (in the following referred to as reference
workgroup). All items with the exception of tenure were
measured on a ve-point response scale, with endpoints
1(=do not agree at all)and5(=fully agree), respectively (see
Appendix A for all items).
Task-Oriented Contact. Two items assessed task-oriented
contact with the reference workgroup (sample item: Iwork
together with members of this workgroup frequently).
Cronbachs alpha of .77 indicated a satisfactory internal
consistency.
Personal Contact. Three items asked participants about the
amount of personal contact to employees from the reference
workgroup (sample item: I often spend my leisure time with
members of this workgroup). Internal consistency of the scale
was satisfactory with a Cronbachs alpha of .73.
Prosocial Behavior. In organizational contexts, prosocial
behavior is frequently conceptualized as organizational
1
Identication with the workgroup and the organization was measured with
four items each, adapted from Doosje, Ellemers, and Spears (1995).
Cronbachs alphas were satisfactory with .80 (workgroup identication) and
.72 (organizational identication).
Contact and prosocial behavior between workgroups
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. (2012)
citizenship behavior (OCB). OCB generally reects employees
willingness to do more than is formally required by their job
description (Smith, Organ, & Near, 1983). Two main
dimensions of OCB can be distinguished: individual-directed
OCB such as helping another employee and group-directed
OCB that is aimed at another workgroup or the organization as
a whole, such as conscientiousness and civic virtue (Coleman
& Borman, 2000; Williams & Anderson, 1991). Scales
measuring individual-directed and group-directed prosocial
behavior, respectively, were based on the German OCB scale
by Staufenbiel and Hartz (2000). This scale is based on
commonly used OCB scales (e.g., MacKenzie, Podsakoff, &
Fetter, 1991; Podsakoff et al., 1997; Podsakoff, MacKenzie,
Moorman, & Fetter, 1990). The OCB subscales used in this
study were adapted and refer to a specic target, namely the
reference outgroup and its members.
Individual-directed prosocial behavior was assessed with
the OCB subscale helping. The internal consistency of the
four-item scale was satisfactory with a Cronbachs alpha of
.73. To measure group-directed prosocial behavior, the
subscales conscientiousness and civic virtue were combined.
Conscientiousness refers to diligence shown when working
on a project for the other workgroup, whereas civic virtue
refers to behavior that is thought to initiate or improve
cooperation with the reference workgroup. The internal
consistency of the eight-item scale was satisfactory with a
Cronbachs alpha of .73.
Control Variables. With the exception of tenure, no demo-
graphic variables were assessed to ensure anonymity. Tenure was
assessed by asking subjects for how many years they had been
working for the organization. A categorical answering format
was used (from 1 = less than 5 years to 6 = more than 25 years).
We assessed tenure because it is likely that participants who have
been with the organization longer will have had more opportuni-
ties for contact with members of other workgroups. Finally, size
of the workgroup was assessed because a larger workgroup size
may reduce employeesmotivation to get to know members out-
side their own workgroup personally.
Results
Scale means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations are
provided in Table 1. Overall, the variables are related in the
expected directions. Neither group size nor tenure had an effect
on intergroup contact, prosocial behavior, or their expected
relationships, and were therefore not included in further
analyses. Notably, personal and task-oriented contact were
unrelated (r= .05, p>.10).
2
Principal Component Analysis
In the initial step, we examined whether individual-directed
prosocial behavior and group-directed prosocial behavior are,
indeed, two separate scales. A principal component analysis
was conducted, which yielded two components with
eigenvalues >1 (Kaiser, 1960). All items for individual-directed
prosocial behavior and group-directed prosocial behavior,
respectively, showed the highest loading on the intended factor,
with all loadings higher than |0.57| and cross-loadings lower
than |0.26|. This analysis clearly indicates that individual-
directed prosocial behavior and group-directed prosocial
behavior are separate scales.
Measurement Analyses
In the next step, measurement assumptions were tested with
conrmatory factor analyses (CFA), using LISREL (ScienticSoft-
ware International, Lincolnwood, Illinois, USA) 8.7 (Jöreskog &
Sörbom, 2004). As omnibus t indices, the root mean square error
of approximation (RMSEA), pfor close t (pclose), the standard-
ized root mean square residual (SRMR), and the comparative t
index (CFI) are reported. These t indices generally indicate an
acceptable model t when RMSEA is below 0.06, pclose is above
.05, CFI is above 0.95, and SRMR is below 0.08 (Hu & Bentler,
1999). Additionally, w
2
values are reported, mainly to compare
the t of alternative models using the w
2
differences test. To re-
duce the complexity of the models, items for individual-directed
prosocial behavior and group-directed prosocial behavior, respec-
tively, were parceled, resulting in two parcels per latent construct.
For group-directed prosocial behavior, one parcel consists of four
items measuring conscientiousness, whereas the other parcel con-
sists of four items measuring civic virtue. For individual-directed
prosocial behavior, each of the two parcels consists of two ran-
domly assigned items of the four-item helping scale.
First, the proposed four-factor measurement model with latent
constructs personal contact, task-oriented contact, individual-
directed prosocial behavior, and group-directed prosocial behav-
ior was tested. This model showed acceptable t with w
2
=43,
df = 21, RMSEA = 0.06, condence interval (CI) for RMSEA =
0.040.09, pclose = .21, SRMR = 0.06, and CFI = 0.97. All fac-
tor loadings were signicant and ranged between 0.45 and 0.91.
The validity of the hypothesized measurement model was
further examined by testing it against alternative models. A
model testing for common method bias with all items
loading on a single factor t the data poorly, w
2
=415, df =27,
RMSEA = 0.23, CI = 0.210.25, pclose <.01, SRMR = 0.15,
CFI = 0.57 (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee, & Podsakoff, 2003).
Also, when a common method factor on which all items were
allowed to load was introduced to the measurement model (see
Podsakoff et al., 2003; Williams, Cote, & Buckley, 1989), all
factor loadings of the proposed constructs remained signicant.
This result indicates that common method variance does not
distort the construct validity of the scales (cf. Kelloway,
Loughlin, Barling, & Nault, 2002).
Structural Analyses
Using LISREL 8.7, the t of the hypothesized structural model
was tested with structural equation modeling (SEM). As the data
2
As employees from 49 different workgroups participated in the study, some of the
variation may be attributed to the group level. Thus, we calculated intraclass corre-
lations for individual-directed prosocial behavior (i.e., helping) and group-directed
prosocial behavior (i.e., civic virtue/conscientiousness) using HLM (Scientic
Software International, Lincolnwood, Illinois, USA) 6 (Raudenbush, Bryk,
Cheong, Congdon, & du Toit, 2004). Analyses indicated that only 8% of variance
in individual-directed prosocial behavior can be attributed to differences between
workgroups, whereas the remaining 92% represent differences at the individual
level. Similarly, only 1% of variance in group-directed prosocial behavior can be
accounted for on the group level, with 99% of variance remaining on the individual
level. Thus, between-group variation playscompared with the individual
variationonly a minor role.
Miriam Koschate et al.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. (2012)
do not depart substantially from normality and the sample is
relatively small (n<300), normal theory maximum likelihood
estimates are interpreted (West, Finch, & Curran, 1995). In
all models, the outcome variables, individual-directed and
group-directed prosocial behavior, are allowed to correlate.
The hypothesized model, with direct paths from personal contact
to individual-directed prosocial behavior, and from task-oriented
contact to group-directed prosocial behavior, showed a
mediocre t(w
2
=60, df = 24, RMSEA = 0.07, CI = 0.050.10,
pclose = .05, SRMR = 0.08, CFI = 0.96). However, a model with
additional paths from personal contact to group-directed
prosocial behavior and from task-oriented contact to individual-
directed prosocial behavior improved the model signicantly
according to a w
2
difference test (w
2
=44, df = 22, RMSEA =
0.06, CI = 0.030.09, pclose = .26, SRMR = 0.06, CFI = 0.97,
Δw
2
=16, df =2, p<.001). The latter model is displayed in
Figure 1.
Next, the relationships among the latent variables in this
model were examined to test the hypotheses that personal
contact is more closely related to individual-directed prosocial
behavior than is task-oriented contact (Hypothesis 1) and that
task-oriented contact is more closely related to group-directed
prosocial behavior than is personal contact (Hypothesis 2).
These hypotheses were tested by comparing a model in which
the paths from both predictors (i.e., personal contact and task-
oriented contact) to the outcome variable were constrained to
be equal against a model with unconstrained paths. A better
t for the unconstrained paths model indicates that the two
regression slopes differ signicantly.
The unconstrained paths model for individual-directed
prosocial behavior tted the data signicantly better than the
constrained paths model (Δw
2
(1) = 25, p<.001). Thus, the path
from personal contact (b= .26, p<.001) to individual-directed
prosocial behavior differs signicantly from the path from
task-oriented contact (b=.30, p<.001), which indicates
a negative relationship between task-oriented contact and
individual-directed prosocial behavior. For group-directed
prosocial behavior, the unconstrained paths model was also
signicantly better than the constrained paths model (Δw
2
(1) = 5,
p<.05). Here, the path from task-oriented contact to group-
directed prosocial behavior was signicantly stronger (b=.46,
p<.001) than the path from personal contact (b=.17,p<.05),
lending support to Hypothesis 2.
In sum, the SEM analyses support our hypotheses by
showing that task-oriented contact is a better predictor of
prosocial behavior directed at the outgroup as a whole than
personal contact. Although task-oriented contact is a similarly
strong predictor of individual-directed prosocial behavior as
Table 1. Descriptive statistics and correlations for Studies 1 and 2
Study 1 Study 2
Variable MSDMSD2345678
1. Tenure
1
1.77 1.03 ——.00 .01 .02 .04 .05 ——
2. Group size 12.87 7.64 ——.09 .05 .08 .04 ——
3. Personal contact
2
2.08 0.96 2.39 0.97 —— .05 .40** .15* ——
4. Task-oriented contact
2
3.98 0.86 3.55 1.10 .43** .13* .35** ——
5. Individual-directed PB
2
3.03 0.88 3.34 0.94 .44** .30** .55** ——
6. Group-directed PB
2
3.78 0.57 3.86 0.85 .14 .36** .36** ——
7. Empathy
1
——4.23 1.33 .27** .19* .50** .32** ——
8. Costs of helping
3
——3.26 1.58 .04 .13 .07 .22
***
.10
9. Rewards for helping
3
——6.18 0.87 .16* .11 .33** .37
***
.28** .20**
Note: Correlations for Study 1 are displayed above the diagonal; correlations for Study 2 are displayed below the diagonal; n= 234 (Study 1); n= 182 (Study 2).
PB, prosocial behavior.
1
Scale: 16.
2
Scale: 15.
3
Scale: 17.
*p<.05.
**p<.01.
Note. Solid lines indicate paths that were hypothesized to be stronger than paths indicated by dashed lines.
Results of Study 1 appear before the slash, results of Study 2 after the slash. *p < .05; **p < .01
Group-directed
prosocial behavior
Individual-directed
prosocial behavior
Task-oriented
contact
Personal
contact
.17/-.22
.26**/.65**
.46**/.62**
-.30*/-.18
.81**/.37**
R2 = 20/.35
R2 = 24/.26
Figure 1. Differential relationships between personal contact, task-oriented contact, and intergroup prosocial behavior in Studies 1 and 2
Contact and prosocial behavior between workgroups
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. (2012)
personal contact, only personal contact predicts individual-
directed prosocial behavior positively.
Discussion
Study 1 provides initial evidence that personal and task-oriented
contact differentially predict intergroup prosocial behavior
directed at individual members and the outgroup as a whole,
respectively. As was hypothesized, results show that group-
directed prosocial behavior is more closely predicted by
task-oriented contact than by personal contact. Although
individual-directed prosocial behavior is predicted similarly
strongly by personal and task-oriented contact, only personal
contact was a signicant positive predictor. Interestingly, after
statistically accounting for personal contact, task-oriented
contact showed a negative instead of positive inuence on
individual-directed prosocial behavior. Task-oriented contact
may discourage helping individual outgroup members because
such help is least likely to benet the ingroup and may be seen
as an unnecessary distraction of ingroup members. Overall, it
seems that intergroup encounters that focus on task rather than
personal issues encourage prosocial behavior directed at another
workgroup. In contrast, individuals who engage with members
of another workgroup outside the work setting are particularly
likely to help individuals of that workgroup, more so than if
they had encountered members of the other workgroup only
during task-oriented meetings, which, in fact, appear to hinder
individual-directed prosocial behavior.
Our analyses also suggest that personal contact and task-
oriented contact are two distinct constructs. Thus, the inclusion
of both personal and task-oriented contact in our study seems
justied. A potential shortcoming of Study 1 is that different
forms of prosocial behavior were assessed with regard to
individual members (i.e., helping/OCB-I) and the outgroup as
a whole (i.e., conscientiousness and civic virtue/OCB-O). Thus,
it is possible that the differential prediction is not because of the
behavior being directed at individuals or the group but because
of different forms of prosocial behaviors. Put differently,
personal contact may encourage helping but not conscientious-
ness and civic virtue, whereas the opposite may be true for
task-oriented contact, independent of whether the intended
target is an individual or a group. Although we have relied on
the commonly used operationalizations of OCB-I and OCB-O
in Study 1, we will use helping directed at individual outgroup
members as well as helping directed at an outgroup as a whole
as outcome variables in Study 2 to test our hypotheses more
stringently. Thereby, the two pathways of our model should
become more comparable.
Furthermore, in Study 1, we have only sought to establish
the differential effects of personal and task-oriented contact
on intergroup prosocial behavior directed at individuals and
groups, respectively. Our hypotheses, however, also suggest
possible motivational processes. Personal contact is predicted
to increase empathy, which in turn should promote helping
shown toward individual outgroup members. In contrast,
task-oriented contact should increase perceived rewards for
helping and reduce perceived costs of helping. In turn,
perceived rewards are thought to increase helping directed
at an outgroup, whereas perceived costs should reduce
outgroup-directed helping.
Thus, the aims of Study 2 are threefold: rst, we will seek
to overcome shortcomings of Study 1 with regard to the
operationalization of both individual-directed and group-
directed intergroup prosocial behavior. Second, we will try to
replicate the differential effects of personal and task-oriented
contact on prosocial behavior directed at an outgroup and its
members, respectively. Third, we will examine whether
empathy and costreward considerations differentially mediate
the two paths between contact and prosocial behavior.
STUDY 2
Participants and Procedure
The second study was conducted as an online survey in a
German pharmaceutical company. The company operates at
three different sites in Germany. Although the company is one
of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world, it remains
family owned. Most employees are white-collar workers. Most
departments are actively involved in research and development
of pharmaceutical products, as well as their production and
marketing. In contrast to Study 1, employees reported a higher
level of identication with the organization (M= 4.49,
SD = 0.58) than with their workgroup (M= 4.14, SD =0.82,
t(184) = 7.39, p<.001).
3
Because of restrictions set by the organization, two
departments (Research & Development, and Medicine) were
excluded from participating in the study. A random sample of
600 of the remaining 4500 employees at one of the companys
sites was drawn, and an email invitation was sent to these
employees. In total, n= 185 (31%) employees completed the
questionnaire within a 3-week period.
Measures
Scales were presented in the following order: costs and rewards
for prosocial behavior, task-oriented contact, personal contact,
individual-directed and group-directed prosocial behavior
(counterbalanced), and empathy (see Appendix A for all items).
Participants were asked to answer all contact, prosocial
behavior, cost, reward, and empathy items with respect to one
specic other workgroup that participants considered to be the
main cooperation partner of their own workgroup. Demographic
variables were not assessed to ensure anonymity. A seven-point
response scale was used to assess empathy, costs, and rewards
for helping, whereas all other items were measured on ve-point
response scales.
Task-Oriented Contact. The same two items as in Study 1
assessed task-oriented contact with the reference workgroup.
The two items correlated positively and signicantly with
r= .63, p<.001.
Personal Contact. Again, the same three items as in Study 1
asked participants about the amount of personal contact to
employees from the reference workgroup. Internal consistency of
the three-item scale was satisfactory with a Cronbachs alpha of .70.
3
As in Study 1, workgroup and organizational identication were assessed
with four items each, adapted from Doosje et al. (1995). Cronbachs alphas
were satisfactory with .88 (workgroup identication) and .79 (organizational
identication).
Miriam Koschate et al.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. (2012)
Costs and Rewards. A three-item scale measuring costs of
helping and a three-item scale measuring rewards for helping
were selected from a 36-item questionnaire that was pre-tested
on a sample of n= 114 participants. Items were measured on a
scale from 1 (= do not agree at all)to7(=fully agree). Costs
of helping include loss of time and distraction from onesown
work (sample item: Helping employees of the other workgroup
distracts me from my own tasks). Rewards for helping include
feeling good about helping, feeling competent, and learning by
helping others (sample item: When I help employees of the
other workgroup I often learn something myself). Internal
consistency of both scales was satisfactory with a Cronbachs
alpha of .86 for costs and .83 for rewards, respectively.
Empathy. Empathy toward an outgroup was assessed with
a German version of the Empathic Concern Index by Batson
(1991; Stürmer et al., 2006). Participants rated their feelings
toward the reference workgroup on ve adjective items (e.g.,
soft-hearted), using a scale from 1 (= do not agree at all)to
7(=fully agree). After the exclusion of one item
(commiserative), the internal consistency of the four-item
scale was satisfactory with a Cronbachs alpha of .81.
Prosocial Behavior. Individual-directed prosocial behav-
ior was again measured with four items from the OCB subscale
helping. In contrast to Study 1, group-directed prosocial
behavior was measured with four items reecting helping
behavior toward the outgroup as a whole rather than group-
directed forms of OCB. Items that measure individual-directed
helping refer to individual members of the other workgroup as
recipients (sample item: I help out members of the other
workgroup when someone falls behind in his/her work). In
contrast, items measuring group-directed help refer to the other
workgroup as a whole as the recipient (sample item: My
workgroup provides the other workgroup with important
information). A scale from 1 (= do not agree at all)to5(=fully
agree) was used to assess both individual-directed and group-
directed prosocial behavior. Internal consistency of the scales
was satisfactory with a Cronbachs alpha of .80 for individual-
directed prosocial behavior and .82 for group-directed prosocial
behavior.
Results
Scale means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations are
provided in Table 1. Again, contact and prosocial behavior
variables were related in the expected directions. In line with
predictions, personal contact was positively related to empathy.
Empathy, in turn, was positively related to individual-directed
prosocial behavior. Simple correlations did not show the
expected relationships between task-oriented contact, costs,
and rewards for helping. However, both costs and rewards were
signicantly correlated with group-directed prosocial behavior
in the expected directions. In Study 2, personal contact and
task-oriented contact were signicantly and positively correlated
with each other (r= .43, p<.001).
Principal Component Analysis
Initially, we conducted a principal component analysis to
determine whether individual-directed prosocial behavior and
group-directed prosocial behavior are two separate scales. The
analysis yielded two components with eigenvalues >1(Kaiser,
1960). All items for individual-directed prosocial behavior and
group-directed prosocial behavior, respectively, showed the
highest loading on the intended factor, with all loadings higher
than |0.69| and cross-loadings lower than |0.32|. This result
suggests that individual-directed prosocial behavior and group-
directed prosocial behavior are separate scales.
Measurement Analyses
In the next step, we tested our measurement assumptions using
CFA. First, the proposed seven-factor measurement model
with latent constructs personal contact, task-oriented contact,
empathy, costs, rewards, individual-directed prosocial behavior,
and group-directed prosocial behavior was tested. This
model showed an acceptable t, with w
2
=264, df =209,
RMSEA = 0.04, CI = 0.020.05, pclose = .09, SRMR = 0.06,
CFI = 0.97. All factor loadings were signicant and ranged
between 0.50 and 0.92.
A model testing for common method bias with all items
loading on a single factor tted the data poorly (w
2
=1186,
df = 230, RMSEA = 0.16, CI = 0.150.17, pclose <.01,
SRMR = 0.13, CFI = 0.65, Δw
2
=1180,df =21, p<.001). Also,
when a common method factor on which all items were allowed
to load was introduced to the measurement model (Podsakoff
et al., 2003; Williams et al., 1989), all factor loadings of the
proposed constructs, with the exception of one item on the
task-oriented contact scale, remained signicant. Overall,
common method variance does not appear to distort the
construct validity of the scales (cf. Kelloway et al., 2002).
Structural Analyses
Direct Paths. Initially, the relationships between the two
different forms of contact and prosocial behavior were examined
to test whether personal contact is more closely related to
individual-directed prosocial behavior than task-oriented contact
(Hypothesis 1), and task-oriented contact is more closely related
to group-directed prosocial behavior than personal contact
(Hypothesis 2). The hypothesized model, with direct paths from
personal contact to individual-directed prosocial behavior, and
from task-oriented contact to group-directed prosocial behavior,
showed an acceptable t to the data (w
2
=106, df =60,
RMSEA = 0.07, CI = 0.050.09, pclose = .09, SRMR = 0.07,
CFI = 0.96). However, a model with additional paths from
personal contact to group-directed prosocial behavior and from
task-oriented contact to individual-directed prosocial behavior
improved the model tsignicantly, according to a w
2
difference
test (w
2
=102, df = 59, RMSEA = 0.07, CI = 0.040.09,
pclose = .11, SRMR = 0.07, CFI = 0.96, Δw
2
=10, df =1,
p<.05) and is displayed in Figure 1.
Again, we compared a model in which the paths from both
predictors (i.e., personal contact and task-oriented contact) to
the outcome variable were constrained to be equal against a
model with unconstrained paths. The unconstrained paths model
for individual-directed prosocial behavior tted the data signi-
cantly better than the constrained paths model (Δw
2
(1) = 10,
p<.01). As predicted by Hypothesis 1, personal contact was
positively and signicantly related to individual-directed
Contact and prosocial behavior between workgroups
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. (2012)
prosocial behavior (b= .65, p<.001), whereas no signicant
relationship emerged between task-oriented contact and
individual-directed prosocial behavior (b=.18, p>.05). For
group-directed prosocial behavior, the unconstrained paths
model was also signicantly better than the constrained paths
model (Δw
2
(1) = 10, p<.01). As predicted by Hypothesis 2,
task-oriented contact was positively and signicantly related to
group-directed prosocial behavior (b= .62, p<.001), whereas
personal contact was not (b=.22, p>.05).
In sum, the SEM analyses replicate and extend ndings
from Study 1 that personal contact is a better predictor of
prosocial behavior directed at individual outgroup members
than task-oriented contact and that task-oriented contact is a
better predictor of prosocial behavior directed at the outgroup
as a whole than is personal contact. Findings from Study 2
clearly support both Hypotheses 1 and 2.
Mediation Analyses. Next, a structural equation model
with a path from personal contact via empathy to individual-di-
rected prosocial behavior and a second path from task-oriented
contact via costs and rewards, respectively, to group-directed
prosocial behavior was tested. The model showed a mediocre
t(w
2
=335, df =223, RMSEA=0.06, CI=0.040.07,
pclose = .24, SRMR = 0.11, CFI = 0.94). A model including
direct effects from personal contact to individual-directed
prosocial behavior and from task-oriented contact to group-
directed prosocial behavior revealed a signicantly better
and acceptable t(w
2
=299, df =221, RMSEA=0.05,
CI = 0.030.06, pclose = .67, SRMR = 0.09, CFI = 0.96,
Δw
2
(2) = 36, p<.001). The latter model is depicted graphically
in Figure 2.
Personal contact was signicantly and positively related to
empathy (b=.40, p<.001), which in turn was a signicant
positive predictor of individual-directed prosocial behavior
(b=.38, p<.001), supporting Hypothesis 3. However, the
direct path from personal contact to individual-directed
prosocial behavior remained signicant (b=.47, p<.001). To
test whether the partial mediation is signicant,weconducted
bootstrap mediation analyses using an SPSS macro by Preacher
and Hayes (2008). The analysis conrmed empathy as a
signicant partial mediator (Δb= .11; CI
99
=0.030.21). The
second path showed that task-oriented contact was signicantly
and positively related to rewards for helping (b= .17, p<.05),
which in turn was a signicant positive predictor of group-
directed prosocial behavior (b=.25, p<.01), as predicted by
Hypothesis 4a. However, the direct relationship between task-
oriented contact and group-directed prosocial behavior remained
signicant (b= .42, p<.001). According to bootstrapping
mediation analysis, rewards for helping was a signicant partial
mediator (Δb= .04; CI
95
=0.0020.071). In contrast, costs of
helping did not mediate the path from task-oriented contact
to group-directed prosocial behavior. Although the negative
relationship between task-oriented contact and costs of helping
reached signicance (b=.19, p<.05), the negative
relationship between costs of helping and group-directed
prosocial behavior did not (b=.11, p>.10). Overall, the
relationships between task-oriented contact, costs of helping,
and group-directed prosocial behavior were in the predicted
direction, but the data did not fully support Hypothesis 4b.
In sum, the SEM analyses support the hypotheses that
personal contact increases helping behavior directed at
individual members of the outgroup in part by increasing
empathy. Task-oriented contact, on the contrary, increases
helping behavior directed at the outgroup as a whole in part by
increasing perceived rewards for helping but not by decreasing
the perceived costs of help.
GENERAL DISCUSSION
The main objective of our research was to test whether different
forms of contact differentially predict intergroup prosocial
behavior. On the basis of models of intergroup prosocial
behavior and the literature on intergroup contact, we suggested
that personal contact is more likely than task-oriented contact
to personalize an outgroup member, thereby creating a basis
for empathy, which in turn affects prosocial behavior directed
at an individual outgroup member rather than the outgroup as
a whole. In contrast, task-oriented contact should promote
Note. All estimated paths are shown in the model. Solid lines indicate significant paths, dashed lines non-significant paths.
*p < .05 **p < .01
Personal
contact
Task-oriented
contact
Individual-directed
prosocial behavior
Group-directed
prosocial behavior
Empathy
Rewards for
helping
Costs of
helping
.40** .38**
.17* .25**
-.19* -.11
.47**
.42**
R2 = .51
R2 = .30
Figure 2. Structural equation modeling depicting the relationships between personal contact, task-oriented contact, empathy, costreward
considerations, and intergroup prosocial behavior in Study 2
Miriam Koschate et al.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. (2012)
category-based responding (Bettencourt et al., 1992) and give
groups the opportunity to get to know the outgroup (Hewstone
et al., 1994), which should change perceptions of costs and
rewards for helping. Thus, task-oriented contact is more likely
to affect prosocial behavior directed at the outgroup as a whole
rather than prosocial behavior directed at an individual outgroup
member. This notion was supported by the pattern of results of
both studies. The ndings were consistent across both studies
despite the fact that the type of outgroup-directed prosocial
behavior differed between the two studies. In Study 1, we
operationalized outgroup-directed prosocial behavior with
group-directed OCB subscales conscientiousness and civic
virtue. In Study 2, outgroup-directed prosocial behavior was
assessed as helping an outgroup as a whole.
Results of Study 2 also show that the path between personal
contact and individual-directed prosocial behavior was partially
mediated by empathy toward the outgroup. In contrast, the path
between task-oriented contact and outgroup-directed prosocial
behavior was partially mediated by reward considerations. Cost
considerations, however, did not play the expected role. The
ndings pertaining to costreward considerations are in line with
models of intergroup prosocial behavior, in that such models
tend to focus on the ingroup-serving functions (i.e., rewards)
of outgroup helping rather than the costs of such help (Van
Leeuwen & Täuber, 2009). Similarly, studies testing cost
reward models on the individual level have, in some instances,
found rewards to be more relevant than costs in predicting
helping (Bloom & Clark, 1976; Kerber, 1984).
Of course, it may be argued that prosocial behavior that is
mainly determined by ulterior motives rather than a genuine
concern for others is not particularly prosocial after all. Thus,
group-directed behavioral intentions that seem to be primarily
motivated by reward considerations, as our research suggests,
should not be considered prosocial behavior. Some authors have
argued that the positive implications of such behavior are more
important than the motives driving it (Wright & Richard,
2009). On the contrary, research indicates that high-status
groups tend to offer dependency-oriented rather than
autonomy-oriented help (Nadler, 2002), particularly when status
relations are unstable. Under such circumstances, the long-term
effects of outgroup-directed help may be less positive than they
initially appear to be because such help tends to reinforce the
status quo.
Limitations
Although Studies 1 and 2 provide consistent support for our
hypotheses, some limitations need to be considered. One
limitation is that both studies were conducted in the same
intergroup context, namely between workgroups within
organizations. However, we have reason to assume that our
ndings can generalize to other intergroup contexts. First,
intergroup contact effects in organizations and other non-ethnic
settings usually mirror those found in inter-ethnic and inter-
racial settings. A meta-analysis by Pettigrew and Tropp (2006)
showed that contact effects on prejudice are similar in size for
a wide range of different target groups, and within different
settings, including organizations. Second, our model is based
on intergroup prosocial behavior research that has employed a
wide range of different target groups, such as national groups
(e.g., Siem, 2008), groups based on university afliation (Van
Leeuwen & Täuber, 2011), and sexual orientation (Stürmer
et al., 2005). Such ndings make it more likely that our results
generalize to other settings. However, there may be something
fundamentally different about workgroups in organizations
compared with other intergroup settings. For instance, it could
be argued that workgroups are embedded in an organizational
context and have the common goal of contributing to the
productivity of the organization. Consequently, such a common
identity should limit conicts and create a friendly attitude
between workgroups. Although it is true that workgroups share
a common organizational background, it is also true that most
other social groups share a superordinate identityethnic or
racial groups in conict usually live in the same country or
region; other groups (e.g., based on gender, sexual orientation,
or age) form part of the same society. Indeed, according to
Turner (1987), a common higher order category is necessary
for intergroup comparisons, as it is in relation to this higher order
category that another group becomes relevant and valued
attributes for comparison are selected and competed over. Only
when the common superordinate identity becomes salient, for
instance because of a conict with an outgroup at this higher
order level, is it likely that attitudes and behavior at the
subordinate level improve. Even a simultaneous representation
of subgroup and superordinate identity (i.e., a dual identity)
has been shown to create intergroup bias and conict at the
subordinate level (e.g., Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000; see also
Mummendey & Wenzel, 1999). Thus, it is reasonable to assume
that the presented model and ndings are likely to generalize to
other intergroup settings. However, research replicating our
ndings in other contexts is needed to substantiate such a claim.
A second limitation is the cross-sectional design of our
studies. Cross-sectional designs do not allow an inference of
causality. Prosocial behavior directed at an outgroup member
might just as well lead to more contact as vice versa. Our
research question, however, mainly focused on the differential
relationships between different forms of contact and
individual-directed and group-directed prosocial behavior,
respectively, rather than on causal effects of intergroup contact.
Future research, including experimental and longitudinal
studies, is needed to address the issue of causality.
Another shortcoming of our studies is that we do not know
whether individual-directed prosocial behavior was only
shown toward those employees with whom the individual
had personal contact, or whether prosocial behavior was also
shown toward individual outgroup members uninvolved in
the contact. As personal contact is thought to make category-
based responding less likely (Brewer & Miller, 1984), it may
motivate prosocial behavior toward all individual outgroup
members, particularly because we found such contact to
increase empathy toward the outgroup as a whole.
The distinction between personal contact and task-oriented
contact may seem articial as one can easily imagine personal
meetings (e.g., for lunch) to include a discussion of work-related
topics. It is also not uncommon for personal information to be
exchanged before or after a business meeting. Instead, our
argument is that the main focus of such encounters lends itself
to perceive members of the outgroup more in terms of individual
characteristics or in terms of category-based stereotypes (cf.
Brewer & Miller, 1984). Indeed, early intervention programs
Contact and prosocial behavior between workgroups
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. (2012)
suffered from the apparent contradiction that contact at schools
or in the workplace did not always translate into private contact
(Amir, 1969). In a similar vein, friends may not always be able
to overcome group boundaries in salient intergroup contexts,
as Sherifs summer camp studies illustrate (Sherif, Harvey,
White, Hood, & Sherif, 1961).
A potential alternative explanation of our ndings may be that
it is not the focus on personal or task-oriented information during
intergroup contact, as suggested by the decategorization/
personalization model and related research (Bettencourt et al.,
1992), but the fact that two individuals meet during personal
encounters (e.g., in private), whereas more members of a group
may be involved in task-oriented encounters such as business
meetings. However, when looking at further contact situations,
it is easily conceivable that many personal encounters, for
instance lunch breaks, after-work drinks, or company-organized
sports activities, involve a number of members from different
workgroups but still focus on personal information. Similarly,
task-oriented contact quite often occurs between only two
members of different workgroupswhoworkonacommontask,
exchange emails, or talk on the phone, thereby exchanging task-
oriented rather than personal information.
Another possible distinction between personal and task-
oriented contact may be that personal contact is entirely at the
discretion of employees, whereas task-oriented contact is
dependent on organizational culture and norms. This view,
however, underestimates the inuence of organizational culture
and norms on personal encounters between employees because
such contact depends, to a large degree, on opportunities for
contact (Wagner, van Dick, Pettigrew, & Christ, 2003). In recent
years, coffee corners, company-organized leisure activities, and
awaydays have become increasingly common. Although such
measures are mainly introduced to increase commitment to the
organization and as a way to compensate for increasingly long
working hours, they are also likely to inuence personal contact
between members of different workgroups and departments.
Additionally, the physical organization of the workplace in
terms of separate or integrated ofces, oors, or even buildings
for different workgroups may similarly create or prevent
personal encounters. On the basis of the decategorization/
personalization model (Brewer & Miller, 1984) and research
by Bettencourt and colleagues (1992), we believe that
differences in informational focus are more likely than other
possible differences between personal and task-oriented contact
to affect intergroup prosocial behavior. However, future
research is needed to determine which ingredientin intergroup
contact makes it so successful for improving intergroup
relations.
Further Directions for Future Research
Future research is needed to identify further processes whereby
personal contact promotes individual-directed prosocial
behavior and task-oriented contact increases group-directed
prosocial behavior, as empathy and rewards for helping proved
to be only partial mediators. Following research by Siem
(2008), perceptions of similarity may additionally mediate the
path from personal contact to individual-directed helping.
Possible further mediators for the relationship between task-
oriented contact and group-directed prosocial behavior are trust
and respect toward the outgroup, as these variables have been
found to improve prosocial behavior in social dilemma research
(e.g., De Cremer, 2002; Insko, Kirchner, Pinter, Efaw, &
Wildschut, 2005). Trust has also been found to be positively
affected by intergroup contact (Hewstone et al., 2006).
CONCLUSION
Overall, our results indicate that intergroup contact may not only
improve attitudes and emotions toward outgroups and their
members (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006, 2008) but may also
promote positive intergroup behavior such as prosocial
behavior. Furthermore, the differential effects of personal and
task-oriented contact on individual-directed and group-directed
prosocial behavior, respectively, show that qualitatively
different forms of contact may complement each other. Thus,
intergroup encounters that do not focus on interpersonal
relationships (e.g., friendship), but rather emphasize the different
roles groups play in fullling a common task, are not necessarily
less effective. Instead, as our studies show, task-oriented contact
may increase the chances of prosocial behavior being shown
toward the outgroup as a whole, partly by changing perceptions
of rewards for helping.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This article is based on the rst authors doctoral dissertation
and second authors diploma thesis. The authors would like
to thank Fred Müller, Christoph Reis, Mario Gollwitzer, Ute
Gabriel, Oliver Christ, and the anonymous reviewers for their
comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
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APPENDIX A
Items used in Study 1 and Study 2
Studies 1 and 2: personal contact
1. I often meet members of this workgroup during my breaks/
for lunch.
2. I often spend my leisure time with members of this
workgroup.
3. I spend time with members of this workgroup at organiza-
tional events.
Studies 1 and 2: task-oriented contact
1. I work together with members of this workgroup
frequently.
2. I have to work closely with members of this workgroup to
do my work properly.
Studies 1 and 2: individual-directed prosocial behavior
(helping)
1. I help out members of the other workgroup when someone
falls behind in his/her work.
2. When a member of the other workgroup is down, I try to
encourage him/her.
3. I try to act like a peacemaker when there is a dispute be-
tween members of my workgroup and the other workgroup.
4. I willingly share my expertise with members of the other
workgroup.
Study 1: group-directed prosocial behavior (conscien-
tiousness and civic virtue)
1. I give advance notice if I am unable to meet a deadline in a
project with the other workgroup.
2. I stick to the rules when working on a project with the other
workgroup.
3. I work as diligently on a project for the other workgroup as
I do on projects for my own workgroup.
4. I always meet the deadlines for projects with the other
workgroup.
5. I keep myself informed about developments in the other
workgroup.
6. I attend and actively participate in meetings with the other
workgroup.
7. I initiate projects with the other workgroup.
8. I provide constructive suggestions about how we can
improve the effectiveness of the cooperation with the other
workgroup.
Study 2: group-directed prosocial behavior (helping)
1. My workgroup provides the other workgroup with impor-
tant information.
2. My workgroup invests resources (e.g., time, technology) in
the other workgroup so that they can perform their job
better.
3. My workgroup passes on its ideas to the other
workgroup.
4. My workgroup shares its knowledge with the other work-
group to support the other workgroup in their tasks.
Study 2: costs
1. Helping employees of the other workgroup distracts me
from my own tasks.
2. When I help employees of the other workgroup, I wont
have enough time to nish my own tasks.
3. By helping employees of the other workgroup, I lose a lot
of time.
Study 2: rewards
1. After helping employees of the other workgroup, I am
happy about my good deed.
2. When I help employees of the other workgroup, I feel
needed.
3. When I help employees of the other workgroup, I often
learn something myself.
Miriam Koschate et al.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. (2012)
... With these inconsistent findings, researchers have started to focus on when individuals would display ingroup favouritism in prosocial behaviour (Balliet et al., 2014). Previous research has identified several moderators of ingroup favouritism in prosocial behaviour, including perceived similarity with outgroup members (Henderson-King, Henderson-King, Zhermer, Posokhova, & Chiker, 1997;St€ urmer & Snyder, 2009), motivation for helping (Lotz-Schmitt, Siem, & St€ urmer, 2017;Siem, Lotz-Schmitt, & St€ urmer, 2014;Siem & St€ urmer, 2012;St€ urmer, Snyder, Kropp, & Siem, 2006;St€ urmer, Snyder, & Omoto, 2005), reputational concern (Yamagishi, Jin, & Kiyonari, 1999; for competing evidence, however, see Romano, Balliet, & Wu, 2017;Wu, Balliet, & Van Lange, 2015), the level of contact with outgroup members (Dovidio, Gaertner, & Kawakami, 2003;Koschate, Oethinger, Kuchenbrandt, & Dick, 2012), and perception of shared identity with outgroups (Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000;Gaertner, Dovidio, Guerra, Hehman, & Saguy, 2016). ...
... Manipulation of helping target and measurement of helping intentions. After the manipulation of residential mobility, all participants were randomly assigned to one of the two conditions of helping target (ingroup vs. outgroup) and were asked to finish a four-item scale that measured their helping intentions, which was adapted from Koschate et al. (2012). To be consistent with the job-related scenarios described in the manipulation materials for residential mobility, the items were company-based scenarios (see Appendix). ...
... Helping Intentions (Study 1) (Adapted from Koschate et al., 2012) Helping intentions toward ingroup members: ...
Article
People sometimes prioritize helping ingroup members over outgroup members, but sometimes they do not. The current research investigated whether residential mobility, a socioecological factor, would reduce ingroup favouritism in prosocial behaviour. In three studies, we found evidence supporting the causal role of residential mobility in reducing ingroup favouritism in prosocial behaviour. First, we found that participants in the residentially stable condition had stronger intentions to help ingroups than outgroups whereas this tendency was eliminated in the residentially mobile condition (Study 1). We replicated these findings by examining participants' money allocation in a dictator game and their actual helping behaviour in an additional request (Study 2). Furthermore, we explored the underlying mechanisms of the effect of residential mobility on ingroup favouritism in prosocial behaviour (Study 3). We found that the differentiation component of individual identity (i.e., distinctiveness and uniqueness from other people) explained the relation between individuals' moving history and ingroup favouritism in prosocial behaviour (Study 3), in which frequent moves increased differentiation, which in turn reduced ingroup favouritism in prosocial behaviour. Taken together, these studies indicate that residential mobility is powerful in shaping people's behaviour toward ingroups and outgroups, which advances the understanding of intergroup processes from a socioecological approach.
... As for the relation between empathy/sympathy and prosocial behavior, numerous studies have demonstrated that empathy-related responding is an important predictor of a broad range of prosocial behaviors (e.g., helping, sharing; Ongley & Malti, 2014), particularly behavior directed at strangers (Barraza & Zak, 2009;Padilla-Walker & Christensen, 2011). However, only a few experimental studies examined the relation between empathy (but not sympathy) and intergroup prosocial behavior, or prosocial intentions (e.g., Koschate et al., 2012;Stürmer et al., 2005;Vezzali, Hewstone, Capozza, Trifiletti, & Di Bernardo, 2017). Most of these studies were conducted with adults using arbitrary group memberships, and yielded mixed findings that indicate the importance to examine empathy/sympathy toward specific targets. ...
... To my knowledge, there is no research examining the relation between children's gender-based friendships and their prosocial behavior toward same-and other-gender peers (more generally) in middle childhood. Researchers have demonstrated the proposed relation between cross-group friendships and intergroup prosocial behavior with adults when outgroup members were immigrants (López-Rodríguez, Cuadrado, & Navas, 2015) and experimentally assigned different workgroups (Koschate et al., 2012). With children, there is no research examining children's cross-gender friendships and their intergroup prosocial behavior. ...
... First, despite the amount of research testing intergroup contact hypothesis (e.g., Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006), the majority of this literature focuses on the intergroup friendship-attitudes link; whether cross-group friendships would influence intergroup behaviors, particularly positive behaviors, has rarely been examined (cf. López-Rodríguez et al., 2015;Koschate et al., 2012). Second, gender is generally not the focal intergroup category of interest in the intergroup literature; instead, the majority of research revolved around social categories such as race/ethnicity, nationality, and age (e.g., Davies et al., 2011). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Prosocial behavior refers to voluntary acts done to benefit another. To date, there is little work examining children’s prosocial behavior toward outgroup members. Across several multi-method multi-informant data sets, I used various statistical methods (e.g., latent change score analysis, mediation and moderation analyses) to examine the predictors, correlates, and development of children’s prosocial behavior toward various outgroup members (e.g., gender, race). In Study 1, I examined the relation between preschoolers’ other-gender friendships and their prosocial behavior toward other-gender peers. Findings showed support for the hypothesis that cross-gender friendships are positively associated with children’s prosocial behavior toward other-gender peers over time. Further, children’s prosocial behavior toward other-gender peers positively predicted children’s later gender attitudes suggesting that fostering intergroup prosocial behavior could be a potentially effective solution to reduce intergroup prejudice. To capture the multifaceted nature of social identities, in Study 2, I examined children’s prosocial behavior toward various ingroup and outgroup members with the intention of exploring the degree of ingroup-ness and testing the transfer effect of intergroup contact. Findings showed that cross-gender friendships were positively predictive of school-age children’s prosocial behavior toward diverse others. Further, cross-race friendships are related to children’s diverse prosocial behavior indirectly through children’s race-based sympathy. Study 3 extended the previous two studies by testing both Intergroup Contact Theory and Social Identity Theory and taking into consideration the social identity of oneself (versus the targets of prosocial behavior). Specifically, I examined the central component of gender identity: children’s perceived same-gender similarity and other-gender similarity, as well as children’s same- and other-gender friendships. Results showed that only intergroup friendships, but not children’s gender identity, were related to children’s prosocial behavior toward same- and other-gender peers. In sum, this basic research has potential to shed light on ways to promote equity and inclusion across various social groups early in development.
... Although much less frequent, there is considerable evidence that contact can also reduce prejudice in organizational contexts, both when contact is between ingroup and outgroup workers (e.g., Koschate et al., 2012;Vezzali & Capozza, 2011;Voci & Hewstone, 2003, Study 2), and when it is between ingroup workers and outgroup members who are not work colleagues, such as customers (Liebkind et al., 2000;Pagotto et al., 2010). Moreover, positive contact effects in the workplace are not limited to explicit attitudes, but extend to more subtle attitudes, such as those captured at an implicit level (Vezzali & Capozza, 2011;Vezzali & Giovannini, 2011). ...
Article
A field study was conducted with majority and minority group members to test whether the effects of optimal contact conditions and of intergroup contact generalize across situations, and extend to the support of intergroup equality in terms of agreement with social policies benefitting the minority group. Participants were 163 Italian and 129 immigrant workers in three corporate organizations. Results from structural equation modelling analyses revealed that, for the majority group, positive contact stemming from optimal contact conditions was indirectly associated, via reduction in negative stereotypes, with more positive behavior that generalized across situations. For both majority and minority groups, positive contact stemming from optimal contact conditions was associated with less negative stereotypes, and in turn with greater support for social policies favoring the minority. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, also in relation to the significance of the present results for research investigating the relation between intergroup contact and social change.
... Third, although this research is one of the few focusing on intergroup prosocial behavior (e.g., Koschate al., 2012;Taylor et al., 2020), we were limited in the measurement of intergroup prosocial behavior across multiple domains: 1) Researchers have shown that prosocial behavior is a multidimensional construct that encompasses various types and targets (Carol & Padillawalker, 2020). Though our measure of intergroup prosocial behavior focused extensively on various targets, the measure was not rich enough to capture the diverse types (e.g., volunteer, donation), situational contexts (e.g., dire, anonymous; Carlo et al., 2003), and physical contexts (e.g., off campus, at home) of intergroup prosocial behavior. ...
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In an increasingly diverse world, understanding young adults’ intergroup prosocial behavior toward diverse others may inform ways to reduce intergroup conflict and cultivate an equitable and inclusive society. The college years are often the first time that young adults begin to explore their social identities and intergroup relations independently from their parents. Thus, we focused on college students and examined social dominance orientation, social positions, prosocial obligation, and the sense of belongingness in relation to their intergroup prosocial behavior across four domains (i.e., age, gender, race/ethnicity, and department affiliation). Participants were 1163 young adults aged 18 to 24 years (63.2% females, 34.5% males, and 2.3% gender diverse; 50.7% White, 19.6% Latino, 25% Asian, 2.3% Black) from a large public Southwestern university. Four profiles of intergroup prosocial behavior were identified and they were differentially related to the social, cognitive, and contextual correlates we examined. Overall, findings highlighted the need to foster intergroup prosocial behavior and the benefits of intergroup prosocial behavior to young adults’ sense of belongingness.
... This is another channel of fostering a common ingroup identity that is less likely to amplify a sense of inequality than exchanging personal experiences as far as opportunities and rewards are allocated equally. Koschate, Oethinger, Kuchenbrandt, & Van Dick (2012) also found that task-focused contact predicted prosocial behaviour directed at an outgroup as a whole. Shnabel and Nadler (2008) call this kind of intergroup contact an instrumental route to reconciliation when former adversaries cooperate repeatedly to achieve instrumental goals that are important for both parties and gradually learn to trust and accept each other. ...
Article
Full-text available
Though personal intergroup contact is known to predict positive intergroup outcomes, little is known about the kind of positive personal contact that reduces prejudice in real-world post-conflict societies. Using a behavioural experiment, the present study examined the effect of face-to-face personal contact between three groups of ex-combatants (national army, former national army, and armed group) and civilians with disabilities in Rwanda. A total of 444 participants were randomly assigned to intergroup or intragroup pairs under high and low personalization conditions, and their person preference, evaluative bias, and impressions of contact partners were compared to those who had contact without personalization. Between ex-combatants of the national army and civilians, low personalization generally resulted in better intergroup outcomes than high personalization or no personalization. The trend is reversed for personalization between the three groups of ex-combatants, that are former adversaries. Implications for personal contact in real-world post-conflict societies are discussed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
... The goals of this study were 2-fold: First, we wanted to replicate the findings in Study 1, since some of the results in that study were not very robust. Second, previous research has shown that social contact between two groups influences intergroup prosocial behavior (e.g., Koschate et al., 2012). Hence, as a byproduct of the main goal, in Study 2, we also examined whether the influence of social class on children's prosocial behavior would be impacted by a period of social contact. ...
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... equal status, common goals), can promote positive attitudes and reduce intergroup hostility (Pettigrew et al., 2011). There is even some evidence that contact can increase pro-social intergroup behaviour (Koschate, Oethinger, Kuchenbrandt, & van Dick, 2012;Tausch & Hewstone, 2010). ...
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A randomized controlled trial tested whether mindfulness training would increase lab-based and in vivo spontaneous helping behaviors toward racial outgroup members. First, across conditions, those scoring higher in baseline trait mindfulness showed higher levels of preintervention lab-based and ecological momentary assessment (EMA)-based helping behavior. Next, short-term (4-day) training in mindfulness, relative to a well-matched sham meditation training, increased interracial helping behavior in a lab-based simulation. Finally, among people scoring lower in a basic form of trait mindfulness at baseline—that is, with greater room for improvement—mindfulness training predicted higher postintervention in vivo helping behavior reported via EMA. However, neither training condition alone attenuated preferential helping toward racial ingroup members. These findings indicate, for the first time, that mindfulness and its training fosters helping behavior toward strangers and acquaintances regardless of their racial ingroup or outgroup status, but preferential helping of racial ingroup members remains.
Chapter
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Intergroup contact This chapter reviews the overwhelming evidence in support of the contact hypothesis, whereby positive contact between members of different groups is associated with reduced prejudice and improved intergroup relations. We address the generalization of contact effects, and summarize recent advancements in theory and research, reviewing the benefits of different types of contact, the person and group factors that can limit the effectiveness of contact, and the underlying psychological processes that mediate the effect of contact on prejudice. We then show that contact also affects non-conscious, automatic processes, the strength and meaningfulness of outgroup attitudes, and the willingness to trust and forgive outgroups. We conclude by identifying a number of challenging issues for future research, including behavioral, ideological, and collective consequences of contact. The notion that contact between members of different groups can, under certain conditions, reduce prejudice is one of the most prominent ideas underlying approaches to improve ...
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This study tests the relative predictive power of Allport’s contact conditions in reducing intergroup bias with a multilevel model. In addition, it is argued that a fourth contact condition, cooperation, mediates the relationships between the first three contact conditions (authority support, equal status, goal interdependence) and intergroup bias, rather than being an independent predictor. A multilevel model with N = 266 individuals within k = 48 work groups in a larger mail order company shows that equal status and goal interdependence negatively predict intergroup bias, with goal interdependence as the stronger predictor. These effects are partially mediated by cooperation. However, while authority support is predictive of intergroup cooperation, no relationship with intergroup bias emerged. Theoretical and practical implications of the relative predictive power of contact conditions and the mediation by cooperation are discussed.
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This study compared the effectiveness of three theoretically-based conditions of intergroup cooperation in bringing about generalization of ethnic outgroup attitudes from a cooperation partner to the outgroup as a whole. Twenty-seven pairs of Dutch secondary school pupils were assigned at random to work together in triads to solve two word puzzles. The triads consisted of one Turkish pupil, always a confederate, and two Dutch pupils. The three conditions varied according to whether reference was made to the ethnic background of the confederate in both an introductory conversation and in the conversation-break between puzzles (High–High salience); only in the later break (Low–High); or not at all (Low–Low). Results show no differences between conditions in attitudes towards the partner, which were quite positive. However, attitude change only generalized in the two conditions in which ethnic membership was made salient (Low–High and High–High, which did not differ). These findings are discussed in terms of different models of intergroup contact, and how contact may actually work.
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What Are “Intergroup Relations”, and Why Should We Care?Theories of Intergroup Relations in OrganizationsIntervention StrategiesDirections for ResearchReferences
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Despite the widespread interest in the topic of organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs), little empirical research has tested the fundamental assumption that these forms of behavior improve the effectiveness of work groups or organizations in which they are exhibited. In the present study, the effects of OCBs on the quantity and quality of the performance of 218 people working in 40 machine crews in a paper mill located in the Northeastern United States were examined. The results indicate that helping behavior and sportsmanship had significant effects on performance quantity and that helping behavior had a significant impact on performance quality. However, civic virtue had no effect on either performance measure. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the topic of organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs).
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The Psychology of Prosocial Behavior provides original contributions that examine current perspectives and promising directions for future research on helping behaviors and related core issues. • Covers contributions which deal explicitly with interventions designed to foster out-group helping (and to improve its quality) in real world settings • Provides the reader with a cohesive look at helping and prosocial behaviors using a combination of theoretical work with research on interventions in applied settings • Examines helping from multiple perspectives in order to recognize the diverse influences that promote actions for the benefit of others • Contributors to this volume include cutting-edge researchers using both field studies and laboratory experiments.
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Interest in the problem of method biases has a long history in the behavioral sciences. Despite this, a comprehensive summary of the potential sources of method biases and how to control for them does not exist. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to examine the extent to which method biases influence behavioral research results, identify potential sources of method biases, discuss the cognitive processes through which method biases influence responses to measures, evaluate the many different procedural and statistical techniques that can be used to control method biases, and provide recommendations for how to select appropriate procedural and statistical remedies for different types of research settings.