- All Subjects: Social Psychology
- All Subjects: Positive Emotions
- Creators: Shiota, Michelle
- Resource Type: Text
- Status: Published
As a highly participative process, its success hinges on inclusive and just engagement of participants. This dissertation employed a multimethod approach to address the question, “What impacts do social dynamics have on participation in scenario planning for sustainability?” First, I conducted an ethical exploration of participation, looking to the systemic societal factors that might function as barriers to authentic participation. Next, I conducted an ethnographic study of a scenario planning workshop to identify ways in which social influence and authority impact participation in the process. Finally, I piloted a psychology study that explored the impact of explicit acknowledgement of status differential and the use of pre-event brainstorming on participation in a small group task that parallels scenario planning interactions.
In doing so, this dissertation presents a conceptual framework from which to understand the role of participation in scenario planning for sustainability and coins the term “strawman participation,” drawing attention to the role and function of social influence in participatory processes. If “token participation” arises from participants not being granted decision-making power, strawman participation develops from social/structural barriers, then “authentic participation” allows for both decision-making power and social capacity for participation. Though my findings suggest that scenario planning utilizes methods to equalize participation and engage diverse participants, factors such as status differentials and gender dynamics impact authentic participation. Results of the pilot study point to the utility of status concealment and individual-level brainstorming to bolster participation. Ultimately, this work contributes to a more nuanced understanding of participation in service of more robust, pluralistic sustainability decision making.
This study tested the effect of status threat on ingroup identification and examined identity concealability and stereotype endorsement as moderators of the relationship. Participants included a visible identity group (Asian men) and a concealable identity group (gay men). Participants were randomized into either a status threat condition, in which they read a vignette that reminded them of a negative stereotype about the target group and discussed positive stereotypes of the group as well, or a control condition that discussed positive stereotypes only. Participants then responded to a measure of ingroup identification and a measure of stereotype endorsement. A significant main effect of status threat on ingroup identification was found, such that participants in the status threat condition showed lower ingroup identification. The interaction of condition and concealability was not significant. The interaction of condition and stereotype endorsement was marginally significant, such that the main effect shows up stronger for those lower on stereotype endorsement. The main effect is interpreted as a potential protective strategy for self-esteem. The stereotype threat interaction is interpreted as a difference in the way that those who do and do not endorse the stereotype view the legitimacy of the status threat.