Teaching and learning guide for: Self-regulation of group members: The case of regulatory focus

Kai Sassenberg, Karl-Andrew Woltin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In our globalized world individuals are frequently confronted with intergroup encounters. Some of them pass by more smoothly than others. Understanding group members’ motivational dynamics provides the key for positive intergroup encounters and the creation of environments fostering such positive events. For a long time, research on motivation in the domain of intergroup behavior mainly focused on needs and motives such as the need for self-esteem in social identity theory and the need to reduce uncertainty in uncertainty-identity theory. In contrast, approaches to motivation in many other domains of psychological research have switched from such need-based approaches to self-regulation
approaches (i.e., theories and models focusing on the processes underlying motivated action). This change of focus from the content of motivation (i.e., need and motives answering the question what motivates behavior) to studying the motivational processes (i.e., self-regulation approaches answering the question how motivation translates in to action) has led to an enormous progress. To give just one example, this approach allows for much more precise predictions of behavior. Only recently research on intergroup behaviour has adopted this change of paradigms in research on motivation. The current article summarized one line of research within this domain, namely the work applying regulatory focus theory (one of the dominant self-regulation theories) to intergroup behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)864-870
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • self-regualation
  • regulatory focus

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