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Open Access Publication in the Spotlight (August) - 'The stereotype rub-off effect - Organizational stereotypes modulate behavioural expectations, expectancy violation and punishment after transgressions' 

Date:09 August 2021
Author:Open Access Team
Open access publication in the spotlight: August 2021
Open access publication in the spotlight: August 2021

Each month, the open access team of the University of Groningen Library (UB) puts a recent open access article by UG authors in the spotlight. This publication is highlighted via social media and the library’s newsletter and website.

The article in the spotlight for the month of August 2021 is titled The stereotype rub-off effect – Organizational stereotypes modulate behavioural expectations, expectancy violation and punishment after transgressions, written by Peer Stiegert, Susanne Täuber, Marijke Leliveld en Jana Oehmichen (all from the Faculty of Economics and Business).

Abstract

Transgressions committed by employees of non-profit (vs. of for-profit) organizations seem to be judged more harshly by the public. This research studies the underlying process of this relationship. We show that organizational stereotypes of morality and warmth “rub-off” from organizations to individuals affiliated with them (Study 1, N = 297). We show that stereotypes of morality and warmth predict expected communal sharing and market pricing behaviour. (Study 2, N = 300). Next, we identify downstream effects of this stereotype rub-off effect in case of transgressions. We show that communal sharing expectations elicit greater perceived expectancy violation and consequently higher punishment when employees commit transgressions (Study 3, N = 402). In sum, as a result of high perceived morality and warmth and subsequent expectations of communal sharing, transgressions of employees affiliated with non-profit organizations prompt increased expectancy violation in observers, leading to harsher punishment. Our findings have important implications for public relations management of non-profit organizations.

We asked first and corresponding author Peer Stiegert a few questions about the article:

This article was published open access, was open access a deliberate choice?

Yes, publishing open access was indeed a deliberate choice that was made when we started developing the paper. We discussed publishing options early on and agreed that publishing open access would strongly increase the transparency and the impact of our research. We believe it is beneficial to share research outside the boundaries of academia to facilitate discussion on socially relevant topics, such as public reactions to organizational transgressions. For this reason, it was our aim to make the research available to academics and non-academics alike. In addition, our target journal Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes (OBHDP) also encourages publishing open access.

You have made all the data for this article available on the Open Science Framework platform (OSF), why did you decide to do this?

We decided to publish the paper itself including the data on the OSF under a creative commons license, meaning that other researchers may download and reuse the data for their own projects. We decided to do this in order to provide maximum research transparency and encourage further research into organizational affiliation, stereotype attribution processes and their impact on evaluations of moral transgressions. In addition, making the data available increases readers’ confidence in the results that are presented. Over the last years, social sciences have seen several cases in which results of published papers could not be successfully replicated. In our opinion, making the data publicly available for anyone increases readers' confidence in the results and contributes to more collaborative research practices.

Does the stereotype rub-off effect also explain the public outcry in the recent Sywert van Lienden affair to some extent? (Van Lienden was affiliated with two non-profit organizations - Stichting Hulptroepen Alliantie and Dutch political party CDA, but secretly earned millions of euros selling face masks to the government.)

It is indeed related to the case of Van Lienden. He suggested his actions were to be taken as actions of charity and therefore people did not expect him to make money out of his deals. In other words, he actively sought to be seen as affiliated with charity and non-profit interests. Later, many people felt deceived when they found out he actually made quite a lot of money out of it and the public reacted harshly to this perceived transgression of moral norms. However, our context is slightly different from the Van Lienden case. We found that people develop different expectations about people working for non-profit rather than for-profit organizations that even influence how we perceive these people’s very same selfish behaviour when this occurs outside the work environment. For example, a person that wants to sell their car and rigs the mileage before selling it would be punished more harshly for this transgression when they work for a charity rather than a commercial organization. Our study and the case of Van Lienden both are based on the expectations we have about people in or affiliated to a charity context.

Could you reflect on your experiences with open access and open science in general?

Overall the experience with open science was very positive and both the University and the journal provided help whenever needed to navigate the open access publishing process. Since the VSNU has a deal with Elsevier, we were able to publish the article as gold open access without additional fees. My co-authors have experienced in the past that it can be very hard to retrieve funds to pay the required open access fees. The deal greatly reduced the hassle that would have otherwise been a part of publishing open access.

In general, I am very much in favour of open access publishing as the work is available not only to those affiliated to a wealthy university which can pay steep subscription fees. Also students and scholars at universities in less wealthy areas can use the latest insights to write their theses and do their research. I had fellow students in my class who completed their BSc or MSc at small universities in Asia or South America that did not have access to all top journals needed for their research. Open access contributes to closing this gap, so I think it is a positive development in science. Open science includes of course more than just publishing open access; transparency is key to facilitate good research practices. Our paper was therefore published under a creative commons licence so others can use that to build upon your work and datasets. 

This was your first published article as part of your PhD project, congratulations! How did you celebrate this milestone?

Thank you! Unfortunately, celebrating with other people was not possible due to Covid, but after receiving the news that the paper was accepted for publication, I immediately took a week of vacation, got myself a new bike and spent some time outdoors, away from the computer screen.

Useful links:

Open Science Framework (OSF): a platform maintained by the Center for Open Science that helps researchers conduct research more rigorously, and manage and share their work more openly.

Open access journal browser: search engine that can be used to check if a discount on the article processing charge (APC) is available for a specific journal. UG corresponding authors can publish with an APC discount (mostly 100%, so for free) in more than 12.000 journals! 

Openaccess.nl: provides an overview of the open access deals and gives details about the workflow that the publishers use. 

openaccess rug.nl: ask all your open access-related questions to the library’s open access team. 

Citation:

Stiegert, P., Täuber, S., Leliveld, M. C., & Oehmichen, J. (2021). The stereotype rub-off effect – Organizational stereotypes modulate behavioural expectations, expectancy violation and punishment after transgressions. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 165, 127–138. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2021.04.011

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About the author

Open Access Team
The Open Access team of the University of Groningen Library

Link: /openaccess
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