Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

McLennan, Conor

Subject Headings

Morale, Social groups, Morale, Groups, Essence


Morale has been defined as, "the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose" (Leighton, 1949, p. 78). What is missing in our understanding of morale is knowing precisely what generates, increases, and decreases morale. One purpose of the current project is to explore these aspects of morale. Specifically, one factor that may boost or drive morale is the survival of the group's identity, or common purpose. The "essence" of a group includes their values, ideals, and identity that may live on even after current members of the group no longer exists. Although previous research identifies several components of morale and how to measure the concept, previous frameworks of group morale (Hocking, 1941 Peterson, Park, & Sweeney, 2008) have not been empirically validated. Using a systematic approach, a study has been designed to use as a starting point in empirically studying morale so valid conclusions can be reached. In the current study, participants were led to believe that the essence of a group they belong to (their city) is threatened, or that the essence of their group (city) is undergoing a new sense of vitality. In a third condition, participants were not given any information related to the status of the essence of their city. It was predicted that participants who were reminded about the survival of their group's essence would experience an increase in group morale compared to those who were not reminded about group essence survival or were lead to believe their group's essence is threatened. Partial support was found in support of the hypothesis, and additional evidence implying that morale is specifically related to the vitality of the group's essence was also obtained. These findings provide a valid starting point for an updated framework of group morale

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Psychology Commons