Research Library


In this commentary, we draw on two articles featured in this special volume to highlight the psychological and behavioral implications of the study of norms for underrepresented groups’ experience of fit and belonging in organizations. In particular, we discuss these implications with respect to our cultural mismatch theory of inequality. In the sections below, we first outline key tenets of cultural mismatch theory. Second, drawing on Gelfand & Harrington’s (this volume) discussion of the factors that increase the motivational force of norms, we argue that these same factors characterize underrepresented groups’ experiences of cultural mismatches, which should increase their reliance on norms. Third, drawing on Morris and Liu’s (this volume) distinction between peer and aspirational norms, we argue that consequences of the increased reliance on norms for experiences of cultural mismatch depend on whether underrepresented groups rely on peer versus aspirational norms.