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Yes We Can? Group Efficacy Beliefs Predict Collective Action, But Only When Hope is High

Cohen-Chen, Smadar and van Zomeren, M (2018) Yes We Can? Group Efficacy Beliefs Predict Collective Action, But Only When Hope is High Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 77. pp. 50-59.

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Surprisingly, hope is under-researched in contemporary social-psychological explanations of collective action and social change. This may be because collective action research typically focuses on “high-hope” contexts in which it is generally assumed that change is possible (the main appraisal of hope), and thus the main question is whether “we” can change the situation through collective action (i.e., group efficacy beliefs). This line of thought implies that such beliefs should only motivate collective action when hope is high. To test this hypothesis, we conducted three experiments in contexts that were not “high-hope”. In Study 1, conducted within the “low-hope” context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we found that manipulated group efficacy beliefs did not increase individuals’ collective action intentions. Studies 2 and 3 used the contexts of NHS privatization in the United Kingdom and Gun Control Reform in the United States --- contexts that were neither “low-hope” nor “high-hope”, which enabled us to manipulate hope and group efficacy beliefs together in one design. Consistent with our hypothesis, findings of both experiments revealed that group efficacy beliefs only predicted collective action when hope was high. Replicating Study 1, when hope was low, group efficacy had no effect on collective action intentions. We discuss our findings in light of the idea that only when hope for social change is established, the question of whether “we” can create change through collective action becomes relevant. Without hope, there can be no basis for agency, which informs goal-directed action.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
van Zomeren, M
Date : July 2018
DOI : 10.1016/j.jesp.2018.03.016
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2018. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Uncontrolled Keywords : Collective action, Group Efficacy Beliefs, Hope
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 01 May 2018 10:37
Last Modified : 23 Oct 2019 02:08

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