The self-control of motivation is increasingly understood as a subset of emotional intelligence; a person may be highly intelligent according to a more conservative definition (as measured by many intelligence tests), yet unmotivated to dedicate this intelligence to certain tasks. Yale School of Management Professor Victor Vroom?s “expectancy theory” provides an account of when people will decide whether to exert self-control to pursue a particular goal.
The behavior of groups cannot be understood solely as the aggregate behavior of individuals. It is not possible, for example, to understand modern warfare by summing up the aggressive tendencies of individuals. A person may behave very differently in a crowd—say, when at a football game, at a religious service, or on a picket line—than when alone or with family members. Several children together may vandalize a building, even though none of them would do it on his or her own. By the same token, an adult will often be more generous and responsive to the needs of others as a member of, say, a club or religious group than he or she would be inclined to be in private. The group situation provides the rewards of companionship and acceptance for going along with the shared action of the group and makes it difficult to assign blame or credit to any one person.
In addition to belonging to the social and cultural settings into which they are born, people voluntarily join groups based on shared occupations, beliefs, or interests (such as unions, political parties, or clubs). Membership in these groups influences how people think of themselves and how others think of them. These groups impose expectations and rules that make the behavior of members more predictable and that enable each group to function smoothly and retain its identity. The rules may be informal and conveyed by example, such as how to behave at a social gathering, or they may be written rules that are strictly enforced. Formal groups often signal the kind of behavior they favor by means of rewards (such as praise, prizes, or privileges) and punishments (such as threats, fines, or rejections).
Affiliation with any social group, whether one joins it voluntarily or is born into it, brings some advantages of larger numbers: the potential for pooling resources (such as money or labor), concerted effort (such as strikes, boycotts, or voting), and identity and recognition (such as organizations, emblems, or attention from the media). Within each group, the members? attitudes, which often include an image of their group as being superior to others, help ensure cohesion within the group but can also lead to serious conflict with other groups. Attitudes toward other groups are likely to involve stereotyping—treating all members of a group as though they were the same and perceiving in those people?s actual behavior only those qualities that fit the observer?s preconceptions. Such social prejudice may include blind respect for some categories of people,such as doctors or clergy, as well as blind disrespect for other categories of people who are, say, foreign-born or women.