The IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior
Need to Belong During Acculturation and Influence of Reference Groups

Article Details
Pub. Date : April, 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJOB030421
Author Name : Varalakshmi S and Arun Bhattcharyya
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 18



Young students from multicultural backgrounds experience acculturative stresses in a new institutional environment and thus adapt to the new culture with psychological and social adjustments. This study contributes to the literature on acculturation by providing salient constructs for individuals going through acculturative stress and the adaptation techniques in the new institutional culture. An integrative effort is made to understand the need for belonging to a reference to address the acculturative stress levels. The study focuses on factors like need for security, self-verification, state selfesteem and group-related factors like similarity to others and interdependence on others that influence the need for reference group belongingness during acculturation. The results indicate that for acculturative stressed individuals, the need to belong to a group is accentuated due to the drop in the currently held self-esteem and the need to self-verify. Additionally, interdependence is deemed to be significant and similarity to others is not significant in group-related factors.


Individuals who join new institutions or organizations that they perceive to be culturally dissimilar may be subjected to acculturation, leading to the development of varying degrees or levels of acculturative stresses (Sam and Berry, 2010; and Rienties and Tempelaar, 2013). The intensity of acculturative stress varies with, among others, the socioeconomic and cultural background of the individuals, their education levels, the geographic locations they come from and the type of institution they intend to join (Cooke and Szumal, 2000; and Wang et al., 2015). To alleviate the resultant stresses formed as a consequence of the encounter with a new institutional culture, individuals tend to seek affiliations with reference groups (Brewer, 1991). In this context, research has found that to cope with the acculturation process, individuals identify with reference groups that are inclusive enough to reduce perceived social isolation stress (Brewer, 1991; and Belaid and Behi, 2011). Literature has found that reference group affiliations in that context can


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