The question addressed by this research was, “When structural circumstances make revolutionary action likely, under what conditions will a cooptation strategy prevent subordinate revolts?” Experimental procedures established a group status hierarchy consisting of a leader and two subordinates. Groups earned collective outcomes, and the leader usurped an inequitable portion of these outcomes. In this context, the first experiment shows that a cooptation strategy (i.e., offer of a promotion to one of two subordinates) inhibits subordinate revolts. Two additional experiments indicate that the cooptation strategy is most effective (a) if the offer (strategy) provides the target of cooptation a source of personal gain; (b) if the offer (strategy) is a result of the leader’s own volition, rather than situational constraints; and (c) if the leader conveys a strong commitment to follow through on the promotion offer. The results are interpreted with reference to subjective-expected-utility and reciprocity theories.
Industrial and Organizational Psychology Commons, Models and Methods Commons, Organizational Behavior and Theory Commons, Organization Development Commons, Other Political Science Commons, Political Theory Commons, Social Psychology Commons