Group size and agency level as predictors of social preference in organizations: A study of an Israeli company

Elad Meron, Inbar Kremer, Tova Rosenbloom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: The study examines the impact of agency level on social preferences among individuals and groups in an organization. Settings in which people determine the outcomes for themselves and for others are considered “high agency” while settings in which people cannot affect the outcomes but can only judge them are considered “low agency.” Methods: The experiment involves team meetings and includes 240 employees and managers of the company who belong to 108 groups of individuals, pairs, and groups of five and 10 members. Participants are presented with one of two imaginary scenarios (for low/high agency level) and complete demographic questionnaires. Findings: Groups at a high agency level tend toward prosocial preferences, while groups at a low agency level tend toward inequality aversion, independent of the group size. Moreover, independent of agency level, group size has an effect on the social preference, and as the number of group members increases, so does the group’s tendency to adopt the social preference of inequality aversion. In addition, independent of level of agency, the group size has an effect on the personal social preference of the individual. Research implications: A practical implication is to increase the involvement of groups of employees in decisions on issues directly affecting their own outcomes or outputs, such as their ongoing work and procedures as well as everyday working methods. Innovations: The study contributes to the body of knowledge in the field by adding a novel aspect to the research on agency among groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-431
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Science Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Western Social Science Association.


  • Agency
  • Group
  • Organization
  • Social preference


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