A Theory of Social Integration Author(s): Peter M. Blau Reviewed work(s): Source: American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 65, No.

6 (May, 1960), pp. 545-556 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2773647 . Accessed: 21/01/2013 19:43
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the process in which his disclaimer of superordinate status is exchanged for their acceptance gives rise to social integration. XLVI (1951). A fundamental dilemma of social life is that between being looked up to and being liked by associates. Both the respect and the affection of our associates are important to us.2 This paper attempts to analyze the processes through which individuals become integrated in groups. if we make only complimentaryremarks. BLAU ABSTRACT Social integration prevails in a group if bonds of attraction unite its members. 1958). 1959). Thibaut and Harold H. For an early study see Robert F. Schutz. Persons interested in becoming integrated members of a group are under pressure to impress the other members that they would make attractive associates. Kelley. but the resulting competition for popularity gives rise to defensive tactics that block social integration. but it will hardly endear us to him. 485-95. this may increase his respect for our competence.he may feel more favorable toward us but see no reason to respect our judgment.THE AMERICAN JOURNAL VolumeLXV OF SOCIOLOGY Number6 MAY 1960 A THEORY OF SOCIAL INTEGRATION PETER M. Bales and Fred L. Strodtbeck. Empirical data support the hypothesis that acceptance as a peer depends on approachability as well as attractiveness. and it presents a tentative theory of social integration. A member who can provide valued services to the others forces them to give up their defensive tendencies and manifest their attraction to him. 2 For a theory that deals extensively with the psychological processes underlying these patterns of interaction in groups see John W. A different approach to the study of exchange processes is presented in William H. If we make penetrating criticisms. Alternatively. "Phases in Group and Social Problem Solving. one who demonstrates his approachability obviates the need for the defensiveness of others and thus frees them to express their feelings of attraction to him. FIRO (New York: Rinehart & Co. 21 Jan 2013 19:43:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Suppose a colleague has asked us to comment on the first draft of a paper he has written. This dilemma between commanding respect (which implies a superordinate relationship) and winning friendly acceptance (which implies an egalitarianone) is deeply rooted in group life. Concern here is not with differences in personality that predispose individuals to seek satisfaction in one kind of personal relationship rather than another but with processes of exchange in groups and the conflicting demands they make on the members. but our efforts to win the one often hurt our chances to win the other. The SocialPsychologyof Groups (New York: John Wiley & Sons.1 It calls attention to the complex social processes through which individuals become integrated in groupsand groups develop social structures. Although he benefits from supportive comments as well as from valid criticisms. and. 545 This content downloaded on Mon. the process in which his services are exchanged for their respect and deference gives rise to social differentiation.. involving for us either a gain in respect at the expense of warm acceptance or a gain in intimacy at the cost of respect. he benefits from them and reacts to them in different ways. ' The significance of this dilemma has been stressed by Bales." Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

if a person's qualities are valued by the other members of the group. If he has high social status in the society at large. which is that of Festinger and others in the tradition of Group Dynamics. These are bonds of social attraction.and Paul F. Only if he can make himself attractive to the other members will he attain an integrated position Leon Festinger et al. unless one is attracted to a group for some reason. A person who is motivated to attain an integrated position in a group has strong incentives not simply to wait until the others discover his good qualities but to exert effort to prove himself an attractive associate.: Row. Networks of sentiments between persons and patterns of interaction in groups. and how attractive each person is to the rest of the group. 73-78. although they seem to be opposites. A cohesive group is one whose members are strongly attracted to one another. they may derive some special gratification from him that draws them to him. 57577). 21 Jan 2013 19:43:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . A person's strong attraction to a group clearly does not make him an integrated member of it. This involves. The central sociological problem is what social processes are set in motion as every member of the group seeks to become or remain attractive to the others. pp. Group Dynamics (Evanston.. essentially. they are likely to find him more attractive than if his social status is low."AmericanPsychologist. they are more likely to enjoy association with him and to be interested in having him as a companion."in RobertK. where all members have yet to achieve integration and where the group's cohesiveness depends on their concern with doing so. He will try to impress them. Of course.4 To be sure. pp. Indeed. Kitt. pp. But the patterns in already established groups probably differ only in degree.. A person is considered to be integrated in a group if the other members find him sufficiently attractive to associate with him freely and accept him in their midst as one of them.. Merton. of course. The concept of attraction refers to favorable sentiments toward others which find expression in an inclination to engage readily in social intercourse with them.XI [1956].546 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY SOCIAL ATTRACTION A group is distinguished from an aggregate of individuals by the social bonds that unite the membersinto a more or less cohesive social structure. he will tend to be attractive to them. 1953).). but this attraction merely supplies him with a goal yet to be achieved. he is not likely to become a member. If his values and theirs are similar. 164-66. not a matter of chance. This content downloaded on Mon. "Contributionsto the Theory of ReferenceGroup Behavior. and Dorwin Cartwrightand Alvin Zander. Social Pressuresin Informal Groups (New York: Harper & Bros. There are a number of factors that make a person attractive to others. 1950). however. 'Robert K. particularly if there is a considerable amount of turnover of membership. The first perspective.5 In general.: Free Press. I See among them. make social interaction more rewarding ("The Prediction of Interpersonal At- traction.3 is adequate for such problems as the influence of group standards on behavior but not for the analysis of group structure and the integration of individuals in groups. revealing characteris' Theodore Newcomb points out that both similar and complementary interests. Continuitiesin Social Research(Glencoe. Lazarsfeld (eds. indicate attributes of social structures and not of individuals. only individuals can experience such feelings and manifest such conduct. Bonds of social attraction can be looked upon from two perspectives: how attracted each person is to the group. If the personality needs he expresses in social interaction are complementaryto their needs. 1950). Of special interest is the case of the face-to-face group in the process of formation. and which of these find expression in his conduct in a given group is. However. Peterson & Co. Merton and Alice S. 47-51. Ill. every individual has a large repertory of qualities. Ill. the conception of reference group directs attention to the fact that people are attracted to and influencedby groups of which they are not members at all.

at least initially. to approach him freely and to draw him into friendly social intercourse. and passim. 2 [Edinburgh Social ScienceResearchCentre. pp. every memberhas three formalroles in this interaction: first. Attraction to an individual makes us vulnerable and creates a need for defenses. his possible rejection poses a threat against which we shall try to protect ourselves by resisting the temptation to make overtures to him. Creating a good first impression is a subtle form of bragging.6 Creating an impressive image of one's self is a complicated process. particularly (but not only) in new groups. he is likely to trip over his own feet and thus make a poor impression.where many of us have been impressed by him and feel attracted to him. second. if we find him attractive. they will not consider his behavior a reliable indication of his actual qualities but will instead discount it. Actually. The Presentationof Self in third. of course. Moreover. every memberwants to make a favorable impression on the others. he cannot hurt us by rejecting us. the attraction of alters. is not sufficient for him to become integrated with the other members of the group. and he will have made an unfavorable impression. 8Erving Goffman.and this increases the chances that any one of us will be rejected. many people do manage to create a good impression. his very concern with making a good impression is likely to interfere with his ability to do so. this fear of being rejected by one who has demonstrated his impressive qualities is quite realistic. REACTIONS TO BEING IMPRESSED This content downloaded on Mon. In a social situation. And if he becomes too self-consciousabout putting his best foot forward. he is in a position to choose among a large pool of available companions. But in a group situation other feelings and expectations will arise that prevent them from giv- ing expression to their feeling of attraction in social interaction. Hence the first reaction to being impressed is a defensive reluctance to initiate social contacts for fear of rejection. If a person has impressedothers with his outstanding qualities. If we are not interestedin associating with somebody and do so only as the occasion demandsit. he must infer from the few immediately available clues what the values of the others are. Indeed. each memberis alter."as he calls it.A THEORY OF SOCIAL INTEGRATION 547 Paradoxically.1956]). Goffman's perceptivediscussionof this strategy of "impression management. one of the others to whom ego wants to become attractive. but. shows in detail how people seek to control the image they present in social situations and thus the impressions they make. If they suspect him of deliberately putting up a front. the more reluctant will they be.There are several reasons for this. When one enters a group. the more attractive a person's impressive qualities make him appear to the others in a group. Even the fact that one does so. Since it can be assumed that everybody 22-23. Given this comparative frame of reference. moreover. unless it remains below the threshold of his full awareness as well as theirs. one of Everyday Life (University of Edinburgh Social the individuals with whom ego competes for ScienceResearchCentreMonographNo. tics that he assumes to be positively valued by the others and concealing those he expects to be negatively valued. each member is also alter ego. each memberis ego. We are most impressed by qualities that are superior to our own and to those we usually encounter. predict on the basis of this inference which of his qualities would make a favorable impression. It is important in this connection to distinguish between feeling attracted to a person and acting upon the feeling by seeking to associate with him. It now becomesnecessaryto dispensewith the fiction that there is one person who tries to impress the other members of the group. and adapt his conduct accordingly. Indeed. 21 Jan 2013 19:43:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Despite these pitfalls and difficulties. 152-62. they will feel attracted to him. the person who seeks to impress others.but its success depends on its being so subtle that it does not appear to be braggingat all. a person whose qualities impress us is unlikely to find ours impressive. however.

Once we have convinced ourselves that a person is not so attractive as he appears. This. a group member's competitors are identical with the "customers" whose output of attraction is the object of the competition for popularity. because it would be a breachof etiquette to make demandson him too quickly. as long as the impressions he has created is all the others have to go by. defensive tactics merge with the strategy of creating a good impression. 21 Jan 2013 19:43:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Why do people feel attracted to a person who has impressed them with his superior qualities? The answer is probably that his qualities raise in them the expectation that they will benefit from associating with him. to being entertained by such an amusing companion.we will convey this opinion to others. at a party. But. The reluctance freely to express attraction to others in the group is not merely a psychological defense mechanismbut a strategic weapon in the competition for popularity. In contrast to economic markets.7 When we make inferences from the impression a person creates. In a work group they may look forward to being advised by such a competent colleague. where a firm's competitors are distinct from its customers (other firms which sell the same product are generally not its customers). by ostentatiously turning away while he tells a story. the members of a group compete with one another for being highly attractive to one another. in any situation. we are not so much interested in simple facts as in evaluations. for example. not in how many years he has played the piano but whether he plays it well. To be sure. namely. thereby raising doubts in their minds about his attractiveness. the more will he antagonize them in their role as alter ego. Every member has an interest in witholding evidence of his attraction to others. Of course. he can live on credit for a while. is merely the extreme case of a much more common phenomenon. An individual may shift the conversation from a topic on which another person has an opportunity to be impressive to one on which he has. The more successful ego is in impressing others in their role as alter with his outstanding qualities. Deliberate deception. are threatened by a person who appears to be very impressive and try to make him look ridiculous. an individual can hardly be completely objective in evaluating his own qualities. because his impressive qualities threaten their popularity in the group. to being seen in such distinguished company. It is often possible to deflate the image a person has presented of himself because the competitive situation encourages group members to present inflated images. If he must compete with others to prove his attractiveness. This content downloaded on Mon.548 THE AMERICANJOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY if successful. the misrepresentations typically made by those who are anxious to make a good impression. 37-44). The structural constraints of the competitive context reinforce the defensive tendencies toward which fear of rejection predisposes the members of groups. By creating a favorable impression. pp. Each individual is interested not only in suppressing his attraction to another but also in defending his standing in the group by preventing the others from becoming too attracted to that person. He may even take advantage of the fact that the others.. it means impressingothers by doing what they wanted to have done but did not quite dare to do themselves. however. therefore. be popular among his peers. is a most effective strategy. too. a person implicitly promises others that they will benefit from associating with him. for example. Thus we expect a person to present an evaluation rather than a mere factual descriptionof himself in social interaction. Since the best defense is an offense. likes to. he is under 7Goffmanemphasizes how tenuousis the distinction betweentrue and false impressions(ibid. and. since manifestations of it would give them a competitive advantage over him by contributingto their popularity. An impostor is an individual who is skilled in extending his credit far beyond his resources. he does live on credit.

he invites others to follow his example. as well as with. he may let us in on the defeats he has suffered. they will feel drawn to him. In sum. When a member surrendershis claim to superior standing in the group. As the listeners sympathize with a person's troubles or smile at his blunders. and. 21 Jan 2013 19:43:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Whatever the content of his remarks. His admission may well encourage others to talk about social blunders they have made. furnish good illustrations of such changes in strategy from creating an impression to demonstratingapproachability. and to take advantage of one another's weaknesses rather than express feelings of attraction and support. also raise doubts in the minds of others as to whetherhe will find them attractive associates and threaten their own standing in the group.After having talked only of the successes he has enjoyed in his career. he is quite easily approachable. such as parties. By calling attention to his weaknessesand demonstrating his approachability. the more members who do so. he will not be able to achieve an integrated position in the group. creating an impressionthat raises expectations which he will not be able to live up to. Once most membersof the group have reported such incidents. Having first impressed us with his Harvard accent and Beacon Hill friends. An important method for penetrating the defense of other group members (but not the only method. DEMONSTRATING APPROACHABILITY The very characteristicsof a group member that impress others also make him appear unapproachableto them. they show him as a person willing to admit his shortcomings. as he has already shown. him. the easier it becomes for the rest to do likewise.It serves. What prevents disintegration and promotescohesivenessis the tendency of group members not to remain preoccupied with appearing impressive but to redirect their efforts to cope with the problemsposed by the impending impasse. Completely reversing his earlier strategy of presenting only the most impressive parts of his self.a person gives public notice that he withdraws from the competition for superior standing in the group and that all he wants to accomplishwith his attractive qualities is to win full acceptance as a peer. The crucial theoretical point is that. although a person's integration in a group dependson his being attractive to the others. His superior qualities. If such competitive processes were to prevail.A THEORY OF SOCIAL INTEGRATION 549 particularly strong pressures to present too high an evaluation of himself. Unless he can break through these defenses. Having earlier carefully protected himself against ridicule or even made jokes at the expense of others. If membersof This content downloaded on Mon.the function of contributingto social integration. the social processes generated by pervasive concern with making a good impressioncreate an impasse that makes social integration impossible. which make associating with him inviting. on the other. the one hand. Self-deprecationthus removes the threat his attractiveness has posed for the other members and induces them to act upon their feeling of attraction to him by engaging him in social intercourse. because he ceases to be a threat against which they have to protect themselves. since it obviates the need for defenses. as will be seen presently) is for a person to demonstrate that.) Such self-deprecating modesty is disarming-literally so. The first person at a gathering who relates how he once committed a terrible faux pas makes a self-deprecating statement. even though he has attractive qualities. and these doubts and threats give rise to defensive tactics. he may tell a story that reveals his immigrant background. the group would undoubtedly disintegrate. he may relate an incident that makes us laugh at. competition for popularity constrains members of a group to present an inflated image of themselves which exposes them to ridicule on and embarrassment. (Situations where a modicum of social integrationmust be achieved quickly. for still another to tell about his faux pas is not so much self-deprecation as an attempt to establish a link with the rest. he now flaunts his weaknesses. consequently.

puts an individual under pressure to shift his strategy from impressing others to demonstrating his approachability. we do. all things considered. will have provided evidence that he 8Erving Goffman. Thus the conception that a mother's unconscious rejection of her child may find expressioneither in overt rejection or. as Goffmanpoints out. it merely activates already existing feelings of attraction by reducing the reluctance to express them. superiority once firmly established. Impressive qualities that make a person attractive simultaneously discourage others from freely approachingand accepting him. Brideshead Revisited (New York: Dell PublishingCo.the chances are that we shall be embarrassed. this is a common bond. intrinsically untestable. therefore. through reaction-formation. Establishing such links is a substitute for self-deprecation. The same is true of the notion that the socioeconomic position of a class manifests itself either in classconsciousnessor in the very opposite-false consciousness. Do we not often react to ostentatious modesty with embarrassment rather than with warmthand acceptance?Indeed. unless the weaknesses a person admits are less salient qualities than those with which he has impressed others. Even quite limited empirical checks. Journal of Sociology. particularly if these set them apart from the majority in the community."9 SOME EMPIRICAL DATA It is. LXII (1956). changing quickly to a pose of almost flirtatious affability. Therefore.this will increase our liking for him and not cause us discomfort. and these social processes promote mutual attraction and group cohesiveness.. for a person to become fully accepted and integrated in a group. 1956). This content downloaded on Mon.and.The statement that outstanding qualities make a person more attractive to others (thus increasing his chances of integration) and less approachable (thus decreasing these chances) is equally meaningless without further specification. for example. The main thesis advanced here is that. for his exhibition of modesty is a claim for acceptance which our failure to be attracted to him prevents us from honoring. but only undercertainconditions. 264-71.If a person whose qualities we admire modestly admits to some shortcomings. he will not have demonstrated that he is approachable as well as attractive but. But if a person whom we do not find attractive insists on revealinghis shortcomings. since it predicts both a direct and an inverse cor9Evelyn Waugh. The question arises whether self-deprecation may not have social consequenceswhich are the very opposite of those here ascribed to it. "Embarrassment. These strategies are beautifully illustrated in Brideshead Revisited. Concern with winning acceptance in a peer group.550 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY a group are characterizedby similar experiences or attributes.in strong attachment is.8 Self-deprecatingmodesty does not make one attractive.that his ethnic background is the same as theirs. Each member's demonstrationthat he considers himself no better than the rest and merely seeks acceptance as an equal makes it easier for the others to let their hair down. embarrassment arises. when the expectations of one person are not fulfilled by others. without further qualification. 21 Jan 2013 19:43:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . for it also serves to show that an individual does not seek superior standing but only acceptance as a peer. he can link himself to them by indicating that he shares some of these characteristics. After one has discovered the characteristics of most of the others. where the speakerdescribeshis wife as adept in "first impressing the impressionablewith her chic and my celebrity and. he must prove himself not only attractive but also approachable. 220. p. however. serve to curb fruitless speculation and clarify conflicting assumptions." American is. of course. instead.really unattractive. A theory according to which a given variable may have contradictoryconsequences may be suspected of making unscientific assumptions that are inherently untestable. not possible to present empirical tests of all the hypotheses implied by the above theory. too.

Mass. the least chance. the theory predicts that the greatest contrast in integration is not between the plus-plus and the minus-minuscategory but between the plusminus and the minus-plus category.Thus popularity-the number of "friendship" choices received from outsiders as well as from the in-group-is presumablyindicative of attractive qualities. 117-20).Since social "flip-flophypotheses"(InteractionProcess Analy. the implications of seniority for attractiveness have been largely removed. on the other hand. Each work group consisted of five or six caseworkers under a supervisor. common sense would lead us to expect that those with two positive qualities have the greatest chance of being accepted by their peers. but their residual effect that is not already reflected in the sociometric choices is undoubtedly a less salient force than that manifested in these choices. (Although oldtimers are not necessarily more attractive than newcomers. A study of twelve work groups in a public assistance agency furnishes data that can be used to test this prediction.integrationis expectedto find expressionin being sis [Cambridge. as here defined.'0 It is possible. the theory implies that the memberswho are positive on the more salient attribute (and hence attractive) and negative on the less salient one (and hence also approachable) are most likely to win the acceptance of their peers. Experienced oldtimers. The distinctive significanceof being not only attractive but also approachablebecomes particularly evident if one singles out the highly integrated workers (those called by the majority of the ingroup rather than simply by some by their first name).) If popularity is held constant. (Responses from supervisors are not included in the analysis here.The expectation derived from the theory. and those with two negative qualities. are generally more attractive associates but."1 Respondents are classified on the basis of both sociometric status and background characteristics. Bales calls this type of conception group duringlunch and coffee breaks. there was a direct relationship between seniority and popularity. The upper rows in Table 1 show that this was the case. since it was not standard practice in this agency. as reported by the others. for example. however. If group members are classified on the basis of two attributes. This content downloaded on Mon. In short. readilydrawninto socialinteractionby peers. less approachableones than newcomers-workers who had been with the agency less than one year. as individuals who are easily approachableas well as attractive. was indicative of friendly acceptance. and the remaining influences of seniority are probably due primarily to its unapproachability component. whatever the specific attributes that attract others to any given individual. Background characteristics also make a person more or less attractive. in and it was also directlyrelatedto the extent of his contacts with other members of his own work 10Robert F. And the memberswho are negative on the more salient but positive on the less salient attribute are expected to be least likely to be integrated." tion used. Only 35 per cent of the twenty-six popular oldtimers were "A worker's integration.these 1950].A THEORY OF SOCIAL INTEGRATION 551 relationbetween superiorqualities and social integration. The naive assumptionwould be that newcomers are less integrated in their work group than equally attractive oldtimers. they may also be called two findingshelp to validate the index of integra"heads-I-wintails-you-losetheories. Whether a caseworkerwas or was not called by his first name by some of the other members of his own work group. to derive a more precise inference from the theory. pp. so to speak. are most likely to be integrated among peers-more so than popular oldtimers-and that unpopularoldtimersare least likely to be integrated-less so than unpopular newcomers. is that popular newcomers. is the measure of integration employed.) The use of first names among peers. partly for this very reason. was directly related to the frequency with which he receivedsocialcontactsfrom colleagues the office. they were so in this agency. 21 Jan 2013 19:43:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . In contrast. that is.: Addison-Wesley Press.

When father's occupation is substituted for seniority...... as indicated by his popularity... of cases .. particularly for others who themselves have a working-class background. so that their effects were cumulative. Not integrated ... tfie impact of popularity and socioeconomicorigin on integration again confirms the theoretical expectation (Table 2). Both popularity and seniority.. which made him readily approachable... whose attractiveness was complemented by greater approachability (and... of cases. Often consulted ...... first names... No.. and unpopularnewcomersthe least... This content downloaded on Mon. of course.. ..... among the unpopularworkers... Total .... 21 Jan 2013 19:43:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 43 57 83 17 38 63 41 59 Total. 100 7 100 23 101 8 100 22 worker'sposition in his work group....... Rarely consulted .. a question that cannot be answered on the ' Such findings raise the question of how the characteristics the choosers and those of the of chosen were related on the various dimensionsof choice-consultation.. Popular oldtimers were the most prone to be consulted. increased the chances of being named often by colleagues as a consultant........5-52 THE AMERICANJOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY those who originated in the working class...... significantly enhanced his chances of highly integrated despite their attractiveness.... such as his status as a regular consultant to colleagues (lower rows of Table 1). This pattern of findings differs sharply from the cumulativeeffects the same two factors had on other aspects of the case- TABLE 1 SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF POPULARITY AND SENIORITY POPULARITY Popular Seniority Oldtimer Newcomer (Per Cent) (Per Cent) Unpopular Seniority Newcomer Oldtimer (Per Cent) (Per Cent) Integrated .......... independently. Work on this problemis now in progress.. Not integrated . (Whether the same results would be obtained in an organizationthe majority of whose members have a middle-classbackgroundis. etc..... popularity.12 The prestige and manners of people with a middle-class background are likely to make them less easily approachable than integration in his peer group only if it was combinedwith a working-classorigin. A worker's attractiveness..... 69 31 100 65 35 100 26 100 0 100 25 75 100 4 TABLE 2 31 69 100 38 62 100 13 47 53 100 6 94 100 17 SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF POPULARITY AND SOCIAL ORIGIN POPULARITY Popular Father's Occupation Non-Manual Manual (Per Cent) (Per Cent) Unpopular Father's Occupation Manual Non-Manual (Per Cent) (Per Cent) Integrated . 8 per cent of the thirteen oldtimersand 18 per cent of the seventeen newcomers were highly integrated)..... No.. Total .. as did most caseworkers in the agency.. in contrast to all four of the popular newcomers.

13 SOCIAL DIFFERENTIATION 553 An attempt to analyze processes of social integration in abstraction from other group processes is likely to be misleading. but they have various other interests -such as obtaining satisfaction in their work. and then some unimpressive ones. completed." This suggests that strangers at sociable gatherings first try to impress one another and that demonstrating approachability is the next step in establishing closer social bonds. but they seem to support one inference derived from it. again spend much time in presenting a favorable image to one another. (Except for a relationshipbetween age and seniority. the fact that fifteen of eighteen confirm the prediction is suggestive. because social reality is not a mirage.isolated social relations-say. regardless of which of the six backgroundfactors is under consideration. creating as positive and acceptable a view of themselves as possible. While any one of these findingscould also be interpreted differently. . to demonstrate their approachability. a bit of indirect evidence is contained in a systematic study of social interaction at evening parties. expanding acquaintances were more likely than any other category to share with one another private experiences and feelings. . when the frequency of being consulted by colleagues is substituted as the sociometric measure in these tables." In contrast. and Robert Potter for giving me access to the tables and memos of their sociability project. male or female. a basic differencebetween group life and more transient. When the effects of respect (being named by peers as one of the best caseworkers in the group) and the same background characteristics are determined.) Four other backgroundfactors may have the same implications for approachability as seniority and socioeconomic origin-whether a caseworkeris white or Negro. Strangers were particularly likely to present a "polished. all six findings are in agreement with the specific prediction. that between salesman and customer-is that membersof a group have an opportunity to check the reliability of "The theory implies that group members display first impressive qualities. Finally. or admirable [image] . of course.) The relationships between guests were classified as strangers.Thus people are not exclusively concerned with the position they occupy in the group in which they presently find themselves. which makes it the more remarkable that they support the central hypothesis.) This content downloaded on Mon. (Established friends. four of six show the expected contrast in integration between the plusminus and the minus-plus category. the theory advanced provides a single explanation for all of them. but the data presented furnish no information on such time sequence. Indeed. that individuals who have characteristics that make them approachableas well as some that make them attractive have the best chance of winning acceptance in their peer group. that is. the lowest. Moreover. These findings do not prove the theory. expanding acquaintances (people who were just starting to become friendly). Jeanne Watson Eisenstadt.A THEORY OF SOCIALINTEGRATION basis of the available data. the plus-minus category contained the highest proportion of integrated workers. however. . the same results are obtained if sociometric measures other than popularity are used as indications of attractive qualities. namely. there was "much less of the defensive style that involves putting up a pleasing front.a group member's attractiveness to others depends not so much on his clever strategies in impressing them as on his actual qualities and performance. and various categories of closer associates. The respected workers with a "low" background were most often integrated among peers. and the workers who were not respected with a "high"background were integrated least often. there were no significant relationships between any two of the six backgroundvariables. and old or young. and the minus-plus category.) Five of the six tables that indicate the influence of both popularity and one of these characteristics reveal the predicted pattern. to name only one-and these also influence their interaction. since it leaves out of consideration the influence the latter forces have upon the former. Moreover. 21 Jan 2013 19:43:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Protestant or not. Although not all these tests are independent. (I am indebted to David Riesman.as the previous discussion may wrongly have implied. to prove their attractiveness. Although no direct evidence on the sequence of these patterns is available.

These sociating with a person who apparently has social processes. quences. If he helps the rest prove his approachabilityor face the conse.tive force behind a defensive barrier that tracted to them. The person who tells them that people with superiorqualities demonstrateshis approachabilitylessens the are generally not easily approachable. he furnishes them incentives for er's impression of him. But whether one employs this superior qualities for the benefit of others strategy or another to impress the members not only makes himself an attractive assoof a group. then. live up to the ex. social ac. Finally. egy to impress others (hence people cultiA member of a group who utilizes his vate poise).just as does im.fensive reactions that occur in groups as pressive behavior and for the same reasons. a workceptance as an equal is not the only form er's superior competence motivates his colsocial attraction to a person may take. he must lishes social obligations. The situation at this stage qualities. however.on his having the sagacity to refrain from ity. they will be unThis. Oldtimers are presumed vite him to make their parties a success. 21 Jan 2013 19:43:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . people will also infer that an aloof and to associate with him. he estabarouses in them. however.barrier enough to make it easy for others ever.wvishes.continuingto contributein the future. even when The diffident person is one who anticipates popularity (or respect. oldtimerswere more attractive presenting too impressive a front at first. fenses his implicit claim of superiority By renderingsignificant services. two differentmethods of ceptualization. in which some mem- This content downloaded on Mon.benefits.associating with him. A person may be onstrated ability commandsand the obligawilling to face the consequences of having tions his services create will induce others impressed others and. is an alternative that has der obligation to him. then. each member tries to prove his attractiveIf a person appears to have outstanding ness to the others. to be less approachable than newcomers. Sooner or later.with him.of the group to attain important objectives. An individual's ability to live up to the exand this had the expected effect on their pectations of others depends not only on his chances of being accepted on a first-name capacity to supply desired services but also basis.554 THE AMERICANJOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY first impression. Unapproachabilityhas indirect as well as dealing with the problem posed by the dedirect social consequences. how. because past experience prevents its activation. The respect his demnot yet been considered.Their deference is his reward for pectations his outstanding qualities have past contributions and his incentive for raised. Despite their greater unapproachabil. as a matter of fact) this and carefully manages to raise only is held constant. These considerationsraise expectations that he can easily meet or even some questions concerning the earlier con. self-assured and to relinquish their defenses and associate even arrogant conduct can serve as a strat. consultants than newcomers. as the data presented in gatherings induces his acquaintances to inTable 1 indicate. Or a person's sparkling wit at social approachability. On attractive force somewhat but lowers the the basis of the same past experience. if he provides those with a person and in comparingone anoth. And since people the others are constrained by self-interest do make these inferences.surpass. others will be attracted to him but may be described figuratively as an attracwill also infer that he may well not be at. and leagues to associate with him to obtain his other forms appear not to be contingent on advice. collectively or individually. otherwise he would increases the attractive force so much that not be so self-assured.vides services does not lower the barrierbut standing qualities. instead of appeasing to follow his suggestions and defer to his their defensive reactions. There are. in subsequent interaction superior qualities. and. For example. he still must cope with the de. Others expect some benefit from as. The person who prounapproachable person probably has out.ciate but also earns respect and deference.

" American Journal of Sociology. integrative forces. it is because other social sociates without having as yet been successful in overcoming one another's resistance processes forestall it. LXIII (1958). imThe theory can now be reformulated ply that all existing forms of social inequalbriefly: A group is cohesive if bonds of so. each memberwill seek to impress the others Since the benefits he has to offer make the with his good qualities. XVIII (1959-60). bonds simultaneously with relieving his. he atactions against letting one's self be impressed tains and sustains a secure position in the by others threaten to lead to an impasse in group without having to demonstrate his which social integration would be impossi. If groups do not disintegrate. and Processes of Interaction." Human Oration. Blau. (To state that some EXCHANGE PROCESSES AND form of social differentiationis inevitable in GROUP STRUCTURE face-to-face groups does not. A person with superiorqualities which ing the significance of cohesiveness (an emergent enable him to provide services that are in "George C. Besides. 152-57.approachability. Their significance forces other to dispel the defenses of others and induce membersto overridetheir own defenses and them to accept him as a peer by demonstratseek to draw the person who makes them ing his approachability.ity are necessary prerequisites of collective cial attraction unite its members. A method for distinguishesses.and many anxious to prove themselves attractive asobviously do not.dence of his willingness to surrender any tributes to the achievement of their goals claim to a superordinate position. The others. At to his advantage the fact that by his deferthe same time the obligations incurred by ence he has already given the rest some evithe rest of the group to a memberwho con.In doing so. tivates group members to reveal their best paying respect and deference to him underqualities to one another. but the cohesiveness of a group cannot be tion may be looked upon as exchange procmeasured simply by adding the degrees of integration of all its members." American Sociological Review.'4 cial differentiation. it becomes evident mines their self-confidence.give rise to other processes that lead to soentiation in the group.A THEORY OF SOCIALINTEGRATION 555 group attribute) and that of integration ( a characteristic of individual members) is presented in Blau. For social life. XXV (April.'5 its members must members to one who furnishes valued servbe concerned with attracting one another. 21 Jan 2013 19:43:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . of course. Social tion and that processes of social differentiRank. and since competition for popularity and defensive re. "Structural Effects. 16 Group cohesiveness is here defined as the preFollowing Homans' suggestive conceptuvalence of integrative bonds among group memalization. are ble. ices intensify their need for integrative To prove himself an attractive associate.'6 these patterns of social interacbers. however. "Social Behavior as Exchange. in turn. "Social Integration. give rise to social differ. 178-93. In short. This content downloaded on Mon.his abilities command their respect. help to strengthen the group's ganization. bers come to command the respect and def. Homans. he turns into the group and associate with him. thus increasing their achievement of common or individual goals. 1960).and it threatens that some have abilities that permit them the impressiveimage they have tried to preto make important contributions to the sent to one another. the very processes traction. Under these condiThese contributions are a source of social tions a group memberwill be under pressure attraction. In the course of the competition that mo. Thus it appears that processes of social integration also promote differentia"4 See Peter M. These constrains them to repay him with respect tendencies give rise to bonds of mutual atand deference.to expressingfeelings of attraction.) integration to prevail in a group and a coThe attraction and deference of other hesive unit to develop. 597-606. But the resulting others eager to associate with him. need for social support.required for social integration in a group erence of others.Hence social differentiation seems inevitable.

To put it into a somewhat different perspective. "The Relationship between Leadership and Popularity Roles in Small Groups. Groupmembers may also exchange services with one another. demand receives the respect and deference of others in a group. XX [1955]. 1955). Group members who are liked by associates experiencepressures to becomeconcernedwith earningtheir respect.556 THE AMERICANJOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY merely accepted or liked him. Those unable to make any contributionsthat win them at least limited respect may leave the group. 21 Jan 2013 19:43:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Many others have been implicit." American Sociological Review. 18 An alternative strategy may be for the leader to form a coalition with the most popular member of the group (see Philip E. and new members with greater potentials may be recruitedin their place. 5867). UNIVERSITY OF CMCAGO "7See Peter M. 108-9.17Such practices threaten the position of the informal leader or leaders of the group. Theodorson. Since deference is a high price. pp. These tendencies also reflect the dilemma posed at the beginning of this paper. Blau. In conclusion. A person who succeeds in doing so not only can dispense with services for which he had to pay with deference but also earns the respect of others who up to then had This content downloaded on Mon. Slater. particularly in cohesive groups (see George A. A person who is not able to offer services that are in demand must settle for a lower position in the group. XXII [1957]. The Dynamics of Bureaucracy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press." American Sociological Review. The first is to derive operationalhypotheses from the theory and test them in empirical research. which bestows superordinate status upon him. To illustrate by making another hypothesis explicit: a person's tendency to demonstrate his approachabilityin a group to which he is attracted is expected to vary inversely with his ability to render valued services to its other members. But this probably is only a short-run expedient. 300-310). and those who commandthe respect of others are constrained to devote efforts to courting their affection. group members will search for ways to obtain needed services at less cost. two important tasks required to improve the theory here suggested should be mentioned. informal leaders often seek to fortify their position by winning the loyalty or even affection of the others. he wins social acceptance in exchange for ceasing to compete for superior standing in the group and for the contribution to social integration he thereby makes. instead of receiving them from one with superior abilities in exchange for deference. leaders who remain unpopular are unlikely to maintain their position for long. One such hypothesis and preliminary tests of it have been presented. The second task is to extend the theory and systematically analyze the dynamics of the exchange processes discussed. He can exchange his ready acceptance of others like him and his conformity to group norms for their acceptance of him. They will be motivated to improve their own qualificationsfor furnishingthose services. A few brief examples of these further dynamic processes must suffice at this point. in exchange for renderingthese services. To avert this threat.'8 Such positive sentiments toward the leader make deferring to his wishes and complyingwith his requestsless onerous for others-not as much of a burden from which they will try to escape. "Role Differentiation in Small Groups.

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