Exploring the social identity threat response framework

Oscar Holmes, Marilyn V. Whitman, Kim S. Campbell, Diane E. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore what individuals perceive as social identity threats, the sources of the threat, individuals' responses, and the consequences of the threat. Design/methodology/approach - Narratives from 224 individuals were collected. A sample of 84 narratives were analyzed in depth using a qualitative content analysis approach. Findings - Initial support for identity threat response theory was found. Three new distinct threat responses - constructive action, ignore, and seek assistance - were uncovered. Additionally, harm/loss appraisals were found to be perceived and reacted to similarly to Petriglieri-defined identity threats. Originality/value - This study contributes to identity scholarship by shedding further light on the "theoretical black box" associated with identity threat. Such insight is necessary in further enhancing our understanding of the impact that identity threat has at the individual and organizational level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-220
Number of pages16
JournalEquality, Diversity and Inclusion
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 18 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


  • Identity threat
  • Identity threat responses
  • Incivility
  • Social identity


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