The Right to Reconcile: Victim-Group Member Agency Following Workplace Injustice

Okimoto, T. G. (University of Queensland), Leong, W. E. R. (University of Queensland)

Following intergroup conflict, expressing the collective opinion of victim group members is an integral part of the reconciliation process. However, are these sentiments fully representative of what members of the victim group honestly feel? The present research examined victim group members’ feelings of agency to engage in intergroup action, having the “right” to vocalise opinions during intergroup dialogue.  Two experimental studies (N = 398 and N = 429) tested for the influence of perceived agency on behavioural indicators of intergroup dialogue among victim group members (female employees), in response to two different gender-related intergroup transgression contexts: #MeToo and workplace discrimination. We also tested for the effect of identity-based predictors of agency (i.e., group prototypicality, gender identification, personal experiences of victimisation), as well as possible situational contingencies (i.e., provision of an apology, perceived transgression severity). In line with predictions, we found that employees with stronger victim group credentials (e.g., prototypical, with personal experiences of victimization) feel more agency in expressing their views, and thus are more likely to engage in both real and hypothetical opportunities to for voice. These findings contribute to our understanding of intergroup dialogue, showing how identity-based factors can potentially inhibit steps towards reconciliation.


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Intergroup Conflict