Yongjee Han


This study explores the influence of reference groups depending on the type (in-group versus out-group) and the size (an individual member versus a group as a whole) of reference groups. We propose a mixed conformity model, which suggests that people want to fit in with their in-group but at the same time they want to stand out within their in-group members. We found that in moderately identity-relevant product categories, people tend to diverge from individual members of their in-group while conforming to their in-group as a whole. However, in highly identity-relevant product categories, people conform to their in-group independent of the referent’s size. Directions for future research are outlined in order to further establish and understand the proposed phenomenon.

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