Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Experimental Psychology

Major Professor

Lowell A. Gaertner

Committee Members

Michael A. Olson, Garriy Shteynberg


Persons experience attachment to groups because they (a) share those aspects (characteristics, goals, values) that define the group and/or (b) have close relationships with the group members. Two studies examined whether such collective and interpersonal connections affect whistle-blowing (reporting ingroup wrongdoing). We hypothesized that collective connection would promote whistle-blowing via concern for the group’s welfare and interpersonal connection would inhibit whistle-blowing via fear of lost relationships. In Study 1 (N =127) participants listed up to eight ingroups and, for each, rated their collective connection, interpersonal connection, and likelihood of whistle-blowing. In Study 2, participants (N =153) were prompted to think about an ingroup defined by a factorial crossing of collective connection (weak, strong) and interpersonal connection (weak, strong) and rated their likelihood of whistle-blowing. In both studies, whistle-blowing was negatively related to the interpersonal connection and unrelated to the collective connection. Strong interpersonal connections to group members undermine whistle-blowing and facilitate continued ingroup wrongdoing.

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