Total Performance Inconsistency and Status Generalization: An Expectation States Formulation* Academic Article uri icon


  • Past research has documented the fact that status characteristics organize group interaction. Freese and Cohen (1973) specified a condition under which a performance characteristic would eliminate the effect of a differentiating diffuse status characteristic. The present research extends the Freese‐Cohen theory to specify a condition under which a differentiating diffuse status characteristic will eliminate the effect of a performance characteristic. Predictions derived from the formulation are (a) in situations where actors are differentiated by a diffuse status characteristic and a totally inconsistent performance characteristic, influence rates will be a function only of diffuse status and (b) it is the strength (0) of a totally inconsistent performance characteristic, rather than the number of traits comprising the characteristic, that determines its effect. These predictions are contrasted with those of other expectation states formulations (i.e., Berger et al., 1977). Laboratory experiments generally support our formulation while providing some disconfirming evidence for the other formulations. Copyright © 1981, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

author list (cited authors)

  • Hembroff, L. A., Martin, M. W., & Sell, J.

citation count

  • 14

publication date

  • June 1981