Is there an "I" in "Team"? the role of the self in group-serving judgments

David K. Sherman, Heejung S. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Why do people make judgments that favor their groups, attributing outcomes to internal factors to a greater extent when their group succeeds than when their group fails? The present research demonstrates that group-serving judgments serve a self-protective function. In Study 1, participants in team sports competitions made more internal team attributions after experiencing victory than defeat; this group-serving bias was eliminated among those who completed an affirmation of personal values. Study 2 replicated Study 1 and found that affirmed people were less likely to use their self-judgments as an anchor for judgments about the group. Study 2 also found that self-affirmation secured feelings of being a worthy group member, and this was associated with the reduction of group-serving judgments. The present research examines the motivational factors that promote, reduce, link, and separate self-serving and group-serving judgments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-120
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


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