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Social Psychology – Discrimination

Answers the Question

At what point does conflict and discrimination occur?

How it began

Henri Tajfel’s interest in identity and group prejudice was sparked by his own experiences as a Polish Jew during the Second World War. As Professor of Social Psychology at Bristol university he developed a series of experiments known as the Minimal Group Studies, the purpose of which was to establish the minimum basis on which people could be made to identify with their own group and show bias against another.

red apple between green apples

Tajfel wanted to test the idea that prejudice and discrimination can occur between groups even when there is no history between the groups and no competition. Having found prejudice and discrimination between such minimal groups, Tajfel’s team wanted to investigate the possible causes. In order to study discrimination as well as prejudice, it was important to have an experimental situation that involved real behaviour. Therefore, they aimed to generate a situation in which members of a group had to act in some way in relation to another group.

Tajfel carried out two experiments. The first (1970) created groups from judgements about how many dots were in an image and the second (1971) created groups from an apparent preference for the artists Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee.

Tajfel and his collaborators got boys at a comprehensive school to view abstract paintings and then assigned them to the ‘Klee’ group or the ‘Kandinsky’ group, apparently because of the preferences they declared, but in fact entirely at random. The boys had the chance to reward each other by giving them money, or punish them by taking money  away from them, even though they didn’t win or lose anything themselves in making the decision, in-group favouritism soon became apparent as the boys gave more to their own group members and punished others.  Even though the boys didn’t know who else was allocated to their group, they consistently awarded more points to their own group than to the other. So even though who belonged to which group was meaningless, they always tended to favour their own.

This proved to be the first step towards Social Identity Theory, as developed by Henri Tajfel and John Turner, which stressed that our identification with groups varies according to how significant that group is at the time: if we’re at war our national identity is important, at a football match it’s our team identity that’s to the fore.

Key Terminology

  • Prejudice – the judgements made by other people based on their membership to a particular group, rather than their individual nature.
  • Discrimination – treating others differently according to their group membership due to prejudice.
  • Social categorisation – the process of deciding which group you belong to: you see yourself as part of that group, where any group will do and you see no need for conflict between yours and other groups
  • Social identification – identifying yourself with the in-group more overtly, this is when you begin to take on the norms and attitudes of other group members within of the group
  • Social comparison – one’s self-concept becomes wrapped up with the in-group that self-esteem is enhanced by the perception that the in-group is better than the out-group

In Brief

Social identity theory is one of a number of theories that suggest prejudice can be explained by our tendency to see ourselves as part of a group. We therefore view others as either part or not part of the same group as us. Thus people are judged as being “us” and “them”. It is seen as part of human nature to view oneself as part of one or more groups, there are our in-groups – this leads us to discriminate against out-groups for no logical reason, i.e. there does not have to be any conflict or competition for ill feelings to develop.

Prejudice consists of three elements:

  1. The cognitive element involved the beliefs held about a certain group. These beliefs come in the form of stereotypes, common but over-simple views of what a particular group of people are like. Such views may come from something heard or read, rather than first-hand experience.
  2. The affective element involves the feelings experienced in response to another group. Stereotyping leads us to develop a prejudice (a particular attitude towards the group)If we are prejudiced against a group, we may experience anger, fear, hate or disgust when we encounter a member belonging to that group.
  3. The behavioural element consists of our actions towards the object of prejudice. Behaving differently towards people based on their membership to a group is discrimination. Our actions towards members of a group against which we hold prejudice can range from avoidance and verbal criticism to mass extermination.

Just to reiterate, in social identity theory the group membership is not something foreign or artificial which is attached onto the person, it is a real, true and vital part of the person.  Again, it is crucial to remember in-groups are groups you identify with, and out-groups are ones that we don’t identify with, and may discriminate against.

A range of studies have shown support of the idea that people are willing to see their group as better in some way than other groups. The theory helps to explain a wide range of social phenomena.  However, social identity theory doesn’t take into account other factors which might be influencing behaviour and doesn’t explain why there are individual differences in the level of prejudices shown. There are also other possible explanations of prejudice which might offer a fuller account of prejudice, for example the realistic conflict theory which sees social identity theory as only part of the explanation. It suggests that it is not just the creation of two groups that leads to prejudice, but that they need to have a goal in sight for conflict/prejudice to develop.

What does this mean for Organization Development?

The extent to which individuals define themselves as individuals or as group members depends heavily on the politics inherent within their organisational culture.  An individual’s behaviour and teamwork cannot be predicted solely from their idiosyncratic characteristics but is also dependant on the social context which determines the belief structures they utilise.

Social Identity Theory can be a useful tool in understanding organizational behaviour as well as to boost self-confidence and improve attitudes of employees.  Studies suggest individual employees may exert increased effort and experience greater motivation if working on tasks for their collective group rather than in working for his or herself.  In addition, because of the tendency to form groups in the workplace, employers are able to choose rival organizations to use as a comparison in order to set “benchmarks” for their own employees.  This rival organization will be seen as an out-group, which “threatens the group’s prestige” and motivates the in-group to become more competitive.

Awareness of Social Identity Theory can be beneficial for any organization. Social Identity theory posits that individuals identify themselves based on characteristics like age, gender, or race. They identify more with similar people (in-group) than with those who are less similar (out-group). Due to things like in-group favoritism and negative stereotyping, minorities are often excluded from group membership and decision-making activities. This, in turn, reduces opportunities for career advancement and results in a perception of unfair treatment, resulting in a negative work environment for everyone. An understanding Social Identity Theory by key management personnel can ensure that minority groups are included in functional groups and the decision-making process, providing a better work environment for all employees.

Workplace interventions can also be useful to reduce conflict between rival groups within the same organization.  When employers have people from two different out-groups work together, this interaction between the two can lead to “attitude and stereotype change that is extended from the particular interaction partner to other members of his or her group”.

In a situation where an organization is merging with another company, each organization has a strong identity. The leadership within the organization will put up some resistance to the merger as neither organization will give up their social identity. To make the merger easier, the organizations will make the merger slower and create a shared identity before the official merger occurs.  In many situations, the organization will also change their name to create a new combined organization.

Through understanding the Social Identity Theory, interventions such as this can play a vital role in organizations to limit harmful stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination in the workplace as well as to ensure employees feel connected to their respective groups as “organizations can suffer from individual members who are psychologically alienated”.

Social Psychology – Conformity

Answers the Question

What causes us to go along with others’ views rather than stand strong and resist the pressure to conform?

How it Began

Solomon Asch set out to study social influences and how social forces affect a person’s opinions and attitudes when he began his conformity study in the 1950’s. After studying the works of Jean Martin Charcot, and subsequent psychologists, Asch noted that participants in these past studies often changed their differing opinions to those of the majorities, when confronted with opposing views. The conformity study that he subsequently designed tests whether or not one can change someone’s judgment of a situation without changing their knowledge or assumptions about the situation.

Asch argued that conformity can best be studied by seeing if people agree or disagree with others who give an obviously wrong answer on tasks with an obvious and unambiguous answer. In his original 1951 study, Asch devised 20 slightly different line judgement tasks. On these tasks,participants have to say which of the 3 lines labelled A, B, and C is the same length as the line to the left of them.

Line Judgement Studies

Asch conducted a pilot study to ensure that the tasks actually did have an obvious and unambiguous solution. In the pilot study, he tested 36 participants one at a time on each of the 20 tasks. So, with 36 people each doing 20 tasks, a total of 720 judgements were made. Asch found a wrong answer was given only 3 times. Therefore, participants got the answer right 717/720 times (99.6%), and this showed that the tasks were very easy and did have one obviously correct answer and two obviously incorrect answers.

Asch then carried out the study itself. He wanted to see how much conformity male students at the university he worked at would show. Some of the participants (Ps) in the pilot study were asked if they would act as stooges (or confederates). Asch told them that they would be doing the tasks again, but this time in a group, with each person saying out loud their answers. The stooges were told that they would be seated around a table, and that there would be one other person (called the naïve participant) who was completely unaware that they were stooges, and that the study was about conformity.

Asch told the stooges that he would be acting as the experimenter, and that they would be seated around a table in such a way that the naïve participant would be the last but one to answer.

The stooges were also told that there would be a total of 18 trials on which they would be asked to do the line judgement tasks. Of these, 6 would be neutral trials, and the stooges were told to all give the correct answer. The other 12 trials would be critical trials, and the stooges were told that they should unanimously give a wrong answer (i.e. they would all give the same wrong answer).Asch informed the stooges that he would give a ‘secret signal’ when he wanted them to give a unanimously wrong answer. The critical trials and neutral trials were mixed up so that there was less chance of the naïve participant suspecting that the set-up wasn’t what it appeared to be.

On average, participants conformed on 3.84 out of the 12 trials, which is where the figure of 32% conformity comes from. Given these results, Asch concluded that even on a task which has an obvious and unambiguous answer, a unanimous numerical majority can influence the behaviour of a numerical minority.

Key Terminology

Conformity – conformity can be defined as ‘yielding to group pressure’, and for this reason it is also referred to as majority influence.

Social Comparison Theory – We determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others. As a result, we are constantly making self and other evaluations across a variety of domains (for example, attractiveness, wealth, intelligence, and success). Most of us have the social skills and impulse control to keep our envy and social comparisons quiet but our true feelings may come out in subtle ways.

Normative Influences – The influence of other people that leads us to conform in order to be liked and accepted by them. This often leads to public compliance—but not necessarily private acceptance—of the group’s social norms.

In Brief

The Asch conformity experiments are often interpreted as evidence for the power of conformity and normative social influence, where normative influences is the willingness to conform publicly to attain social reward and avoid social punishment. From this perspective the results are viewed as a striking example of people publicly endorsing the group response despite knowing full well that they were endorsing an incorrect response.

The conformity demonstrated in Asch experiments is problematic for social comparison theory. Social comparison theory suggests that when seeking to validate opinions and abilities people will first turn to direct observation. If direct observation is ineffective or not available then people will then turn to comparable others for validation.In other words, social comparison theory predicts that when physical reality testing yields uncertainty, social reality testing will arise. The Asch conformity experiments demonstrate that uncertainty can arise as an outcome of social reality testing. More broadly, this inconsistency has been used to support the position that the theoretical distinction between social reality testing and physical reality testing is untenable

What does this  mean for OD

Conformity is a lubricant that keeps society running smoothly. Complicated social movements become easier when we conform; we like other people who act like us. There’s something to be said for toeing the line and not ruffling feathers. And in some circumstances, we need the people around us to find out not just the expected way to behave, but also the right answer to important questions.

But especially in an individualistic culture like in the West, it sometimes seems distasteful, all this going along with the majority, especially when we do it just to fit in. These are competing forces, the pressure to conform and our drive for independence. It’s the yin and yang of life in the presence of others.

Conformity can affect organizations and individuals as a whole, and it can be both positive and negative. Conformity can be considered good when it forces people to be respectful and show courteous manners. It also poses less problems in a work environment where people are expected to behave in a certain way and there is no room for rebels. Lastly, it discourages people to do indecent acts in public or to make a scene before a crowd, which can cause others to feel awkward and uncomfortable.

Conformity is considered bad in the form of peer pressure. To conform in the face of injustice or actions which are detrimental to organizational performance is another bad effect. In an organization where workers are treated unfairly, individuals are afraid to speak up because no one else is. Often, they end up silent and take the abuse.

When an alliance of workers is formed with the aim of rallying against the management or decision, that is when more people join in and gain the confidence to voice out their complaints, concerns or ideas for improvement. If there’s anything we can learn from history, never underestimate the power of numbers. It is amazing to learn that it always starts with a single person who is not afraid to be an individual and go against the current.

OD requires people to go against the norm and ask questions about what the current norm is in society. OD interventions require non-conformity and creating an environment where it is acceptable. But conformity will be the bond that glues the organization together and ensures that changes are sticky once decisions have been made and changes made. New norms only survive if there is conformity to stay the course.

Social Psychology – Norm Formation

Answers the Question

What is Truth?

How it Began

Muzafer Sherif, one of the founders of social psychology, stands out as one of the main forces behind its growth in the in the 30’s. His work with group processes and inner group conflict following social norms still serves as a reference point to researchers studying groups today.

Muzafer Sherif conducted a classic study on conformity in 1936. Sherif put subjects in a dark room and told them to watch a pinpoint of light and report how far it moved. Psychologists had previously discovered that a small, unmoving light in a dark room often appeared to be moving. This was labeled the autokinetic effect.

Realizing that an experience that is completely “in people’s heads” might be readily influenced by suggestion, Sherif decided to study how people were influenced by other people’s opinions, in their perception of the autokinetic effect.

Stand out from the Crowd

First Sherif studied how subjects reacted to the autokinetic effect when they were in a room by themselves. He found that they soon established their own individual norms for the judgment—usually 2 to 6 inches. In other words, when given many opportunities (trials) to judge the movement of the light, they settled on a distance of 2-6 inches and became consistent in making this judgment from trial to trial.

In the next phase of the experiment, groups of subjects were put in the dark room, 2 or 3 at a time, and asked to agree on a judgment. Now Sherif noted a tendency to compromise. People who usually made an estimate like 6 inches soon made smaller judgments like 4 inches. Those who saw less movement, such as 2 inches, soon increased their judgments to about 4 inches. People changed to more resemble the others in the group.

Sherif’s subjects were not aware of this social influence. When Sherif asked subjects directly, “Were you influenced by the judgments of other persons during the experiments,” most denied it. However, when subjects were tested one at a time, later, most now conformed to the group judgment they recently made. A subject who previously settled on an estimate of 2 inches or 6 inches was more likely (after the group experience) to say the light was moving about 4 inches. These subjects had been changed by the group experience, whether they realized it or not. They had increased their conformity to group norms.

Key Terminology

Group norms; agreed-upon standards of behaviour. Sherif’s experiment showed group norms are established through interaction of individuals and the leveling-off of extreme opinions. The result is a consensus agreement that tends to be a compromise…even if it is wrong.

Autokinetic effect; An illusion whereby light in a darkened rooms looks like it is moving, although it does not actually move. However, people almost always believe that it does.

Conformity; The act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours to group norms.  The tendency to conform occurs in small groups and/or society as a whole, and may result from subtle unconscious influences, or direct and overt social pressure. Conformity can occur in the presence of others, or when an individual is alone.

Norms; Implicit, unsaid rules shared by a group of individuals, that guide their interactions with others and among society or social group.

In Brief

Groups have influence on ambiguous and unambiguous situations people often adopt the opinion of other group members and converge to social norms.  These social norms reflect group evaluations of what is right and wrong. As a result of converging to groups’ opinions, people become more alike when interacting in groups.

People conform to the opinion of other group members and converge to social norms, because of their need to master the world and the need to be connected by others. Private conformity occurs when people truly believe that the group is right, whereas public conformity occurs when we are pressured to conform to group norms. When publicly conforming, people still privately think the group is wrong.

The degree of conformity is higher in collectivistic cultures, where they view conformity as a social glue, than it is in individualistic cultures, where conformity is seen as something negative.

What does this mean for Organization Development?

Group consensus is highly valued because we think we can trust the outcome of multiple individuals coming to the same conclusion. However, we cannot trust a consensus if (1) people adopt a consensus without carefully considering the relevant information themselves; (2) people are contaminated by shared biases; or (3) people publicly conform to norms.

When different people independently come to the same conclusion, consensus is valid. However, when people do not consider relevant information themselves, consensus is reached without consideration, and does not have much value.

People are less influenced by views from a group than by views from separate individuals. This is perhaps because of the possibility for group consensus to be contaminated.  People often go along with group norms to get along. This destroys the reliability of the consensus. Disagreeing people feel fear, and anticipate negative reactions. A single supporter helps us to resist majority pressure.

When a group becomes more interested in reaching agreement than in how agreement is achieved, ineffective decisions may be made. When this desire or pressure to reach an agreement interferes with effective decision making, norm formation has an negative impact on sustainable performance.

Unhelpful norm formation can be avoided by making sure all available evidence is considered; dissenting information should not be avoided or suppressed. The OD practitioner should appoint or play the devil’s advocate if groupthink is suspected.  A second way in which norm formation can be disrupted is through group membership being selected for diversity, making sure members’ views are independent from each other.

Finally, people should state their private opinion in public votes, tolerance for disagreement should become higher, and the role of powerful and respected members should be minimized.

Social Psychology – Conflicting Beliefs

Answers the Question

Why people have a bias to seek agreement between their expectations and reality?

How it Began

In 1954 Leon Festinger was working on a new theory of cognitive dissonance.  The theory focused on the view of the social world from the perspective of the individual.  Cognition was viewed as being any attitude, behaviour or emotion that made up a mental representation of the social world within an individuals mind.  Festinger’s research focused on how individual perceptions of other people, social groups and the physical world were cognitive representations and how inconsistency between the representation and reality causes the individual discomfort which in term drives attempts by the individual to reduce the inconsistency.


Festinger’s interest in a headline regarding a group, called the Seekers led by Mrs Keech.  The group believed the world would end on 21st December 1955, as a result of messages received by Mrs Keech through Automatic writing.   Festinger predicted that the failure of a space ship to arrive to take them to safety would create a condition of cognitive dissonance, resulting in the group members experiencing an tension which was unpleasant and that they would find a way to reduce it.  Festinger predicted that because of the commitment to the belief the Seekers would persist in their belief, becoming more evangelical than before.

The events of the night 21st December 2013 are described in Festinger’s paper When Prophecy Fails. He describes the reactions of the group to the failed prophecy.  The result was that Mrs Keech was ‘summoned’ to receive another message.  The message confirmed the belief system of the group.  The group was being tested and their goodness of the group had prevented the cataclysm from occurring.  A second message commanded the group to spread the message, which they duly did, phoning the newspapers and other news services that they could think of.

Therefore the discrepancy between the original belief that the world would end, and the cognitive dissonance caused by the world not ending was therefore overcome by the belief that the small group of believers had saved the world from destruction.

The impact of the study was enormous and a decade of research following the original study showed that dissonance theory was substantially correct but there were some limitations to the theory which meant that the theory had to change.

Key Terminology

Cognitive Dissonance – the feeling of discomfort when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel “disequilibrium”: frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc. Festinger, L. (1957)

Belief disconfirmation paradigm – happens when an individual is presented with information which conflicts with their beliefs. If the individual is unable to change their beliefs the conflict experienced could result in a rejection or denial of the conflicting information. A person unable to resolve the conflict will seek others sharing a similar belief to restore agreement of thoughts.

Induced-compliance paradigm – The induced-compliance paradigm is when a person internalizes an attitude that they were encouraged to express because they had no other justification.

Free Choice Paradigm – When making a difficult decision, there are things about the choice we don’t make that we find appealing and these features are dissonant with choosing something else. By choosing X, you are dissonant about the things you like about Y.

Effort Justification Paradigm – Dissonance occurs whenever individuals voluntarily engage in an unpleasant activity to achieve a desired goal. One way of reducing dissonance is by the individual exaggerating how desirable the goal is.

In Brief

Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and we make efforts to avoid disharmony (or dissonance).

Cognitive dissonance refers to any situation which involves conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviours. This conflict in turn produces a feeling of discomfort which results in an alteration in one of the held attitudes, beliefs or behaviours to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.

What does this mean for Organization Development?

The mismanagement of cognitive dissonance is a root cause of many problems in the workplace, especially when it comes to conflict management, bullying and performance management. What we think and do when confronted with two or more conflicting beliefs drive behaviour within the organizational setting. For example, we all make mistakes and therefore have to confront the conflict – I am a good person but I did something bad. And we get plenty of mixed signals, especially in change settings where there is a need for individuals to take more creative risks but the support system and environment embeds the belief that the risks won’t succeed.

Cognitive dissonance is especially powerful, and can make the workplace extremely uncomfortable for individuals and teams when the conflicting beliefs are about ourselves. To relieve the discomfort we may self justify or rationalize, which may involve making excuses for our bad behaviour or shifting blame rather than owning up. This behaviour can lead to good people falling into unethical or unwanted behaviour patterns which have far reaching consequences in regards to performance.

As Organization Development practitioners we need to be able to spot when cognitive dissonance sits at the root of organizational problems and then find productive ways to vent the discomfort associated with it.  This may included focused conversations, open space technology or game storming to open up communication and create space for perceptions to be aired and explored.

In general an OD intervention will need to promote and help individuals to own mistakes, and create a process to manage the discomfort associated with cognitive dissonance by role-modelling and advocating honesty, openness, feedback and a ‘no blame’ culture as positive and necessary components of a healthy workplace.


Social Psychology – Attitudes and Behaviour

Answers the Question 

Are Attitudes and Action Related?

How it Began

A young research at Stanford, LaPiere, who travelled widely, believed that attitudes were actions in respect of the way in which individual responded in a situation being a determinant of the attitude of that individual.  At the time questionnaires were used widely in attitude surveys and LaPiere questionnaire the reliance on this method.  LaPiere set out to test the assumption that there was a direct link between verbal and behavioural responses through The Hospitality Study.

American and Chinese Flags

In a research period, which covered two years LaPiere travelled across the US with a young Chinese couple visiting over 250 hospitality businesses from hotels to restaurants.  The couple were unaware that they were subjects of a study for fear of affecting their behaviour.  At each location he allowed the couple to take centre stage in arranging the details of the service they were to receive at the establishment.  The research resulted in some startling results.  In 251 requests for service, the Chinese couple were only refused service on one occasion at an auto-camp described by LaPiere as ‘inferior’.  They were never refused service at restaurants or café’s.  The behaviour observed by LaPiere during the trip seemed in direct contrast to ‘attitude’ surveys of the time, which indicated that at the time Americans had a negative attitude towards the Chinese.  Six months after the trip LaPiere surveyed the hospitality businesses they had visited and an additional control group that were not visited.  The result?  Over 90% of establishments visited indicated that they would not accept members of Chinese race at their establishment,  In the control group 81% of restaurants said the same.

The lack of correspondence between survey and behaviour led to two conclusions firstly there is a disparity between what people did and what they said they would do and secondly that attitude surveys are only useful for measuring reactions to symbolic or abstract concepts, not for assessing how someone would respond in a given situation.

Key Terminology

Attitude – An expression of favour or disfavour toward a person, place, thing, or event (the attitude object).   Carl Jung’s defined attitude as a “readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way” noting that attitudes very often come in pairs, one conscious and the other unconscious.

Behaviour – A response to various stimuli resulting in a range of actions and mannerisms in conjunction with their environment, which includes those around as well as the physical environment. Responses may be internal or external, conscious or subconscious, overt or covert, and voluntary or involuntary.

In Brief 

The impact of the Hospitality study was widely interpreted as showing that attitudes do not always predict behaviour resulting in a theoretical debate regarding the relationship between attitudes and behaviour.  In 1969 Wicker reviewed 42 experimental studies and found a low average correlation between attitudes and behaviour, concluding that in all likelihood attitudes and behaviours were unrelated or at best only slightly related.

Fishbein and Ajzen sought to explain the disparity using the theory of reasoned action, 1975, and the theory of planned behaviour, 1991 arguing that behaviour was determined by a persons intention to engage in that behaviour, and intention was determined by attitude, subjective norms and perceived controls.  Further research has established that both these theories provide reasonable goo accounts of the relationship between attitude and behaviour.

LaPieres initial work raised ethical, conceptual and procedural issues regarding attitude and behaviour studies leading to further research into the relationship between attitude and behaviour.   Today social psychologists tend to conceptualise attitudes as evaluative dispositions and distinctions between implicit and explicit attitudes raise further questions regarding the assessment of verbal expressions of attitudes and their connection to behaviours.

What does this mean for Organization Development?

Employee opinion surveys, taking the temperature and recruitment assessment asking individuals to explain what they would do in a given situation are all tools used in the modern day organization.  The claim is that understanding attitudes will help the organization to support employees in adjusting to their environments and are a basis for future behaviours, helping employees to defend their self-images and justify their actions.

But be warned.  Attitude is an important, distinctive and indispensible concept in social psychology, but attitudes are only relevant if they are considered alongside the social context or organizational environment in which they are being expressed.  When it comes to predicting behaviour then nothing can be taken for granted.

Employee opinion surveys give an indication but not a real measure of attitudes.  Just because someone has a positive attitude to exercise does not mean that they will get up at 6am in the morning to go to the gym.  It is not possible for an organization to develop a programme that will make a person ‘change’ their attitude only the individual can do that.  The only thing that can be changed is the contextual basis for expressing central values and urging organizations to supply standards that allow people to organize and explain the world around them.