Social Behavior


This course aims at improving students’ understanding of how individuals and groups operate, and why they behave in a certain fashion when confronted with a given problem in a specific context. This approach should also enable students to critically think about their and others’ behavior and motives, rather than take a ‘right or wrong’ perspective. This includes moving away from a traditional ‘one size fits all’ approach, to a more tailored perspective where one takes into account how different cultures, contexts, and conditions may shape behavior. This unit will focus on classic studies of social psychology and discuss their relevance and application to contemporary times. These studies have addressed important questions about human nature, presented unexpected and counterintuitive findings, used ingenious and innovative research methods, and thus should serve as a benchmark for how to conduct state-­?of-­?the-­?art  research.  By  focusing  on  studies  that  were  well-­?crafted,  innovative,  and  addressed important questions, this unit will enable students to develop better research questions and ultimately help them to widen their perspective of human behavior and advance research in their own areas.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Filipa Castanheira


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language



Available soon


Handbooks (You may pick selected chapters from of the following handbooks)

•    Smith, J.R., & Haslam, S.A. (2012). Social Psychology: Revisiting the classic studies. London: Sage.
•    Abelson, R.P., Frey, K.P., & Gregg, A.P. (2012). Experiments with People: Revelations from Social Psychology. New York: Psychology Press.

Teaching method

The course will use a variety of teaching methodologies, including:

a)    Lectures by the instructor on the state-­?of-­?the-­?art knowledge in each field of research;

b)    Presentations by students on each classic study and current studies that extend/apply its basic principles;
c)    Videos, clips and other methods that help understand the underlying principles of a given study;
d)    Class discussion moderated by the instructor on the relevance of each study and potential applications to the different areas of study in management science.

Evaluation method

The evaluation of the course has two components:

(A)    Individual written assignment: 50%
In this assignment students are asked to apply one of the theories discussed in class to their own PhD in Management research project.
This report is due on 22/10 (Please deliver the report via moodle). Please don’t send the reports by email. Presentation guidelines: 10 pages, Times New Roman, 12, line spacing 1.5, Top and Bottom margins: 2.5 cm; Left and Right margins: 3 cm.

Subject matter

Date    Topics

Attitudes vs. Actions: Do you practice what you preach?

•    Classic paper: LaPiere, R.T. (1934). Attitudes vs. actions. Social Forces, 13, 230-­?237
•    Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 179-­?211.
•    Dockery, T.M. & Bedeian, A.G. (1989). Attitudes versus Actions: Lapiere’s classic study revisited.  Social Behavior and Personality, 17, 9-­? 16.

Clashing cognitions: When actions prompt attitudes

•    Classic paper: Festinger, L. & Carlsmith, J.M. (1959). Cognitive consequences of forced compliance. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58, 203-­?210.
•    Stone, J. & Cooper, J. (2001). A self-­?standards model of cognitive dissonance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 37, 228-­?243.

Us and you: Intergroup relations and conflict

•    Classic paper: Sherif, M. (1956). Experiments in group conflict. Scientific American, 195, 54-­?58.

•    Classic paper: Haney, C., Banks, C., & Zimbardo, P. (1972). Interpersonal dynamics in a simulated prison. Naval Research

Us and you: social categorization, social identity and discrimination

•    Classic paper: Tajfel, H., Billig, M. G., Bundy, R. P., & Flament, C. (1971). Social categorization and intergroup behaviour. European Journal of

    Social Psychology, 1, 149–178.

•    Classic Paper: Hamilton, D.L. & Gifford, R.K. (1976). Illusory correlation in intergroup perception: a cognitive basis of stereotypic. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 12, 392-­?407.

Going along to get along: The power of conformity and authority

•    Classic paper: Asch, S. E. (1955). Opinions and social pressure. Scientific American, 193(5), 31-­?35.
•    Bond, R. & Smith, P. (1996). Culture and Conformity: A meta-­?analysis of studies using Asch’s (1952b 1956) line judgment task. Psychological Bulletin, 119, 111-­?137.

•    Classic paper: Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience.
Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 371-­?378
•    Blass, T. (1999). The Milgram’s paradigm after 35 years: Some things  we now know about obedience to authority. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 29, 955-­?978.

Minority influence

•    Classic paper: Moscovici, S. & Personnaz,B. (1980). Studies in social influence: V. Minority influence and conversion behavior in a perceptual task.  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 16, 270-­?282.
•    Spears, R. (2010). Group rationale collective sense: Beyond intergroup bias. British Journal of Social Psychology, 49, 1-­?20.
•    Wood, W., Lundgren, S., Ouellette, J., Busceme, S., & Blackstone, T. (1994). Minority influence: A meta-­?analytic review of social influence processes. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 323-­?345.


Programs where the course is taught: