Sustainability Threat. Including people and securing their contributions and access to collective outcomes is more complicated when the same individual can be considered as part of different communities, which only partially overlap (i.e. Moroccan Dutch, gay employees) due to the possibility of negative spillover effects.
State of the Art. Social inclusion requires that people who live or work together develop joint guidelines for acceptable behavior, and investment of time and resources in collective outcomes. When it is no longer self-evident that one’s networks, goals, and identities align, it becomes difficult to decide which values and ideals to adhere to, and how to behave towards neighbors, colleagues, or customers. Current approaches tend to see those who belong to multiple communities as having split loyalties, which reduce their willingness to invest in joint outcomes that are procured together within families, organizations, or online vs. offline communities. The standard way to address this is to ignore alternative identities or value incompatibilities people may struggle with, and focus on socialization, compliance, and rule enforcement within a single domain.
Main Proposition. Our SCOOP approach clarifies that this strategy is not sustainable as it invites negative spillover effects. When people are ‘forced’ to ignore their loyalty to another community, they also miss out on the social support and access to collective resources it offers. The main hypothesis guiding research into this challenge is that positive spillover effects that sustain and enhance psychological and social inclusion, and contribution to collective outcomes can be achieved by acknowledging people’s allegiance to multiple communities and identities. Clearly the mechanisms play a key role in this process to the extent that they are focused on common goals, shared identities and interdependent networks at the group level.
Main Outcome. This research specifies when individuals who connect different communities can become ‘linking pins’ by enriching and investing in both, instead of withdrawing their contributions from one of these communities.