Yes We Can! Making Good Theory Practical by Applying the Social Identity Approach to Domains of Health, Education, Organization and Leadership

Haslam, A. (University of Queensland), Bentley, S. (University of Queensland), Cruwys, T. (Australia National University), Haslam, C. (University of Queensland), Jetten, J. (University of Queensland), Peters, K. (University of Queensland), Steffens, N. (University of Queensland)

Social identity research was pioneered as a theoretical approach to the analysis of intergroup relations, but over the last two decades it has increasingly been used to shed light on applied issues. One early application from social identity and self-categorization theories was to the organisational domain, but more recently there has been a surge of interest in applications to multiple spheres of health. This paper charts the development of this Applied Social Identity Approach, and abstracts five core lessons from the research that has taken this forward. (1) Groups and social identities matter because they have a critical role to play in organisational and health outcomes. (2) Self-categorisations matter because it is people’s self-understandings that shape their psychology and behaviour. (3) The power of groups is unlocked by working with social identities. (4) Social identities need to be made to matter in deed not just in word. (5) Psychological intervention is always political because it always involves social identity management. This analysis provides an introduction to new programmes (G4H, G4E and 5R) that are discussed in this symposium. Their success speaks to the rarely tested truth of Lewin’s famous dictum that nothing is so practical as good theory.


Twitter: @alexanderhaslam

Event Timeslots (1)

Making Good Theory Practical Symposium