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Global Citizenship Identification and Willingness to Protest Unethical Corporations
    Ida Mohebpour     Texas A & M University - Commerce
    Stephen M Reysen    
    Shonda A Gibson     Texas A & M University - Commerce
    Jennifer L Flanagan    

Global citizenship is defined as awareness, caring, embracing diversity, promoting social justice and sustainability, and a sense of responsibility to act (Reysen, Larey, & Katzarska-Miller, 2012). Following a social identity perspective (Tajfel & Turner, 1979; Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, & Wetherell, 1987), Reysen and Katzarska-Miller (2013) find that greater identification with global citizens is related to a variety of prosocial values and behaviors (e.g., intergroup empathy, intergroup helping, social justice). Snider, Reysen, and Katzarska-Miller (2013) found that global citizenship identification was positively associated with participants’ willingness to protest an unethical corporation. The purpose of the present research was to examine the conditions under which global citizenship identification is associated with a willingness to protest corporations.

In Study 1 (N = 70), participants rated degree of identification with global citizens, read about a company that either committed ethically immoral acts (or prosocial acts), and rated their willingness to protest the company. In Study 2 (N = 100), participants rated degree of identification with global citizens, read about an international (outgroup) or U.S. (ingroup) company that committed unethical acts that harmed either the U.S. (ingroup) or China (outgroup), and rated their willingness to protest the company.

The results of Study 1 supported prior research (Snider et al., 2013) by showing that greater global citizenship identification is related to a greater willingness to protest unethical companies. Furthermore, this association is not due to a general dislike for corporations or big businesses, but rather is tied to the company’s behaviors. The results of Study 2 showed low identified global citizens expressing lower willingness to protest when a U.S. company harmed the U.S. (compared to when an international company harmed the U.S.). Highly identified global citizens endorsed protest regardless of origin of the company or who was harmed.

As shown by Reysen and Katzarska-Miller (2013), greater identification with global citizens predicts endorsement of six clusters of prosocial values and behaviors that are thought to reflect the prototypical group content. We suggest that willingness to protest unethical corporations shown by highly identified global citizens reflects the social justice normative outcome of identifying as a global citizen. Group identity is a strong predictor of protest and collective action (van Zomeren, Postmes, & Spears, 2008). The results of the present research suggest that greater endorsement and activities to engender a global citizen identity will aid collective movements for prosocial change.

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