Do people from the same social class background cooperate more with each other than people from different social class backgrounds? If so, what is the explanation for this difference in cooperation? And, critically, what strategies can be implemented to reduce this difference? These questions have important societal and organizational implications. For example, if two members of a work team are less likely to cooperate because they have different class backgrounds, their performance might suffer unless managers implement certain strategies.
Researchers have conducted several studies whether people who share similarities cooperate more than people who are different. These studies suggest a small ingroup favoritism effect, but very few of these studies focused on social class. Moreover, the few studies that examined social class and cooperation have found different results, so more research is needed to clarify any effects. Also, none of the studies have tested why people might cooperate more with other people from the same (rather than different) social class.
In this SROP project, the student will conduct a study that will advance understanding of social class and cooperation. The study will be conducted online with research participants who will report their social class and make a decision to cooperate in a standard economic game. The student will learn how to set up the survey, collect the data, and analyze the data. I will meet with the student regularly to provide the necessary training and guidance.
As one of the organizers of the SROP and the Director of the PhD program at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, I am dedicated to providing opportunities for students considering an academic career to learn and apply research skills. I am a psychologist, and my research is in the area of organizational behavior, which examines how people think, feel, and act in the workplace. I believe that students learn by doing. As such, I involve students in all aspects of research (with the required guidance), including designing survey instruments, collecting data, analyzing data, and writing up the research. Over almost 20 years, I have trained and published with many PhD and undergraduate students who are now PhD students and Professors. I look forward to working with more students as part of this program.