Prior studies of the effect of group identification on cooperation in social dilemmas have advanced two competing accounts of this effect, the goal-transformation hypothesis, which holds that identification implies a sense of collective self, which makes personal and collective goals interchangeable, and the goal-amplification hypothesis, which states that identification induces positive expectations about others’ cooperative behavior. These prior studies have, however, neglected to assess the process measures necessary to pit the one account against the other. Following prior research, the present study showed that the effect of identification was moderated by participants’ social value orientation (i.e., individual differences in evaluating the importance of outcomes for self and other) in such a way that identification influenced proselfs’ cooperation more than prosocials’ cooperation. This suggests that the consequence of group identification is that collective goals become personal goals. Extending earlier recent research, mediational analyses showed that the effect of our identification manipulation was mediated by participants’ sense of collective self and not by their expectations. Taken together, these results provide strong support in favor of the goal-transformation hypothesis.

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Keywords Goal-amplification hypothesis, Goal-transformation hypothesis
Publisher Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)
Persistent URL
de Cremer, D., van Knippenberg, D.L., van Dijk, E., & van Leeuwen, E.. (2007). Cooperating if one’s Goals are Collective-Based: Social Identification Effects in Social Dilemmas as a Function of Goal-Transformation (No. ERS-2007-010-ORG). ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM). Retrieved from