Status Generalization Theory

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From its beginning, the 2016 presidential election has been extremely controversial in nature. Both candidates, having controversial pasts to begin with, have managed to cause panic and distress amongst Americans with every debate, rally, and speech. The more outwardly controversial of the two, Donald Trump, earned the win and became the president elect of 2016. Since his election, there have been protests nationwide as many Americans remain shocked that someone so seemingly contentious was able to become the president elect. However, Trump’s election seems to make a great deal of sense when a known group dynamics theory is taken into consideration. The status generalization theory explains how someone who has prestige in a certain field is …show more content…
However, this time was much different than the debates, the rallies, and the many other speeches that he had made, as this speech was his acceptance speech to being voted the president of the United States of America. Many people across the nation are currently wondering how a seventy year old man with no political experience was able to become the President of the United States of America. It is clear that these people do not understand the Status Generalization theory. According to Julian Oldmeadow (2007), this theory states that “individuals with high social status in society acquire advantages and influence in a wide range of task contexts, even when there is no previous association between the status characteristic and task performance” (p. 273). Another explanation of status generalization by Cornwell and York (2006) elaborates that “status generalization begins when one individual, i, observes the status characteristic(s) of another, j. J 's observable status characteristics lead i to form expectations about j’s general abilities, and these expectations are manifest in behavioral outcomes” (p. 457). This process of status generalization, in which someone is easily able to obtain high prestige in a new domain simply because of their high status in another domain, occurs in almost every social setting in which is it applicable, so it is easy to see how it was able to …show more content…
A study done by Cornwell and York (2006) explains how status generalization applies to small groups, specifically courtroom juries. “The jury room, in its idealized form, constitutes a protected space where diverse individuals can gather and deliberate as equals. However, sociological research suggests that, in small heterogeneous groups, processes such as status deference and status generalization may allow members of historically-dominant groups to steer discussions” (p. 456). This research suggests that there are many external factors that contribute to one’s status in a new social situation. It is believed by many social psychologists that race, gender, ethnicity, religion and height are all contributing factors to a person’s perceivable abilities in new group settings, such in the courtroom on a jury (Cornwell & York, 2006, p. 456). In the case of courtroom juries, as is the case in many other setting, the elderly white male who is professional in dress is able to take the reigns and control the conversation. The research in this study provides two main explanations for why this may be. One reason states “jury studies conducted 50 years ago found that white, upper-class men dominate jury deliberations, presumably due to their higher status outside of the jury room.” (Cornwell &

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