What Is The Stereotype Content Model? The Stereotype Content Model In A Nutshell

The stereotype content model was first proposed by social psychologist Susan Fiske together with colleagues Jun Xu, Peter Glick, and Amy Cuddy in 2002. The stereotype content model (SCM) describes the way an individual stereotypes members of a group they do not identify with.

Understanding the stereotype content model

The model is based on an evolutionary predisposition for people to stereotype strangers in a new group in two different ways:

  • The individual first assesses the perceived intent of the group to either help them or harm them. This is measured by the metric warmth.
  • Then, the individual judges the capacity of the group to act on either intention. This is measured by the metric competence.

Depending on how warmth and competence are categorized, the individual will feel a particular way about a group and act accordingly. These actions are the basis of stereotyping, with subsequent research into the model finding it to be a reliable predictor of stereotypical content and its associated behavior.

Studies on warmth and competence in social psychology have also been utilized in fields such as advertising, international relations, persuasion, policy formation, and corporate management

The four quadrants of the stereotype content model

To further develop their model, Cuddy, Fiske, and Glick developed a table to show the different interactions between warmth and competence. The table displays four quadrants, with each based on a causal model of stereotype development.

Primarily, the table was created to show that some stereotypes were positive or contained mixed attributes. For example, some people stereotype the elderly as warm but not competent, while others may consider Asian people to be competent but not warm.

The table has two spectrums:

  • Active/passive spectrum – active behaviors are intentionally directed at the group, while passive behaviors affect the group but do not require noticeable effort.
  • Harm/facilitation spectrum – the second spectrum is included to differentiate between the out-group an individual (or in-group) is in a position to either assist or harm.

In addition, each stereotype group quadrant is assigned two behavioral tendencies. This means common cultural stereotypes determine whether a social group will be on the receiving end of cooperative or harmful behavior, with both received either actively or passively.

Let’s now take a look at each of the four quadrants:

  1. High warmth/high competence – these groups are admired with active facilitation and constitute in-groups, or groups to which the observer personally belongs. Middle class, white, and heterosexual groups fall under this quadrant.
  2. High warmth/low competence – these groups are pitied with passive facilitation. In many Western societies, this treatment is usually directed toward the elderly and disabled. While these groups are pitied from a moral standpoint, they are nonetheless isolated from society. For example, elderly people receive passive harm when they are isolated in a care facility. But they may also receive active facilitation through community service or elderly charities.
  3. Low warmth/high competence – these groups are envied with passive harm because they are generally perceived to lack warmth and possess high competency. In the United States, out-groups include Asian Americans, wealthy Americans, and the Jewish community.
  4. Low warmth/low competence – these groups are treated with contempt through active harm, such as the homeless or unemployed. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are treated with the most hostility of any group.

Key takeaways:

  • The stereotype content model describes the way an individual stereotypes members of a group they do not identify with. It was developed by social psychologist Susan Fiske and colleagues Jun Xu, Peter Glick, and Amy Cuddy in 2002.
  • The stereotype content model measures two dimensions that describe the way an individual will feel (and subsequently act) when encountering a stranger or group. The first dimension is warmth, or the extent to which the individual believes a group can harm them or help them. The second is competence, or the extent to which the group can carry out either intention.
  • The two dimensions of the stereotype content model were later displayed in a table with four quadrants. Each quadrant describes a different stereotype out-group, with each categorized according to whether they will be on the receiving end of harmful or cooperative behavior.

Connected Business Matrices

SFA Matrix

The SFA matrix is a framework that helps businesses evaluate strategic options. Gerry Johnson and Kevan Scholes created the SFA matrix to help businesses evaluate their strategic options before committing. Evaluation of strategic opportunities is performed by considering three criteria that make up the SFA acronym: suitability, feasibility, and acceptability.

Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix

The Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix is a strategy deployment tool that helps businesses achieve goals over the short and long term. Hoshin Kanri is a method that seeks to bridge the gap between strategy and execution. Strategic objectives are clearly defined and the goals of every level of the organization are aligned. With everyone moving in the same direction, process coordination and decision-making ability are strengthened.

Kepner-Tregoe Matrix

The Kepner-Tregoe matrix was created by management consultants Charles H. Kepner and Benjamin B. Tregoe in the 1960s, developed to help businesses navigate the decisions they make daily, the Kepner-Tregoe matrix is a root cause analysis used in organizational decision making.

Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a tool that helps businesses prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance, named after Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States from 1953 to 1961, the matrix helps businesses and individuals differentiate between the urgent and important to prevent urgent things (seemingly useful in the short-term) cannibalize important things (critical for long-term success).

Decision Matrix

A decision matrix is a decision-making tool that evaluates and prioritizes a list of options. Decision matrices are useful when: A list of options must be trimmed to a single choice. A decision must be made based on several criteria. A list of criteria has been made manageable through the process of elimination.

Action Priority Matrix

An action priority matrix is a productivity tool that helps businesses prioritize certain tasks and objectives over others. The matrix itself is represented by four quadrants on a typical cartesian graph. These quadrants are plotted against the effort required to complete a task (x-axis) and the impact (benefit) that each task brings once completed (y-axis). This matrix helps assess what projects need to be undertaken and the potential impact for each.

TOWS Matrix

The TOWS Matrix is an acronym for Threats, Opportunities, Weaknesses, and Strengths. The matrix is a variation on the SWOT Analysis, and it seeks to address criticisms of the SWOT Analysis regarding its inability to show relationships between the various categories.

GE McKinsey Matrix

The GE McKinsey Matrix was developed in the 1970s after General Electric asked its consultant McKinsey to develop a portfolio management model. This matrix is a strategy tool that provides guidance on how a corporation should prioritize its investments among its business units, leading to three possible scenarios: invest, protect, harvest, and divest.

BCG Matrix

In the 1970s, Bruce D. Henderson, founder of the Boston Consulting Group, came up with The Product Portfolio (aka BCG Matrix, or Growth-share Matrix), which would look at a successful business product portfolio based on potential growth and market shares. It divided products into four main categories: cash cows, pets (dogs), question marks, and stars.

Growth Matrix

In the FourWeekMBA growth matrix, you can apply growth for existing customers by tackling the same problems (gain mode). Or by tackling existing problems, for new customers (expand mode). Or by tackling new problems for existing customers (extend mode). Or perhaps by tackling whole new problems for new customers (reinvent mode).

Ansoff Matrix

You can use the Ansoff Matrix as a strategic framework to understand what growth strategy is more suited based on the market context. Developed by mathematician and business manager Igor Ansoff, it assumes a growth strategy can be derived by whether the market is new or existing, and the product is new or existing.

Main Free Guides:

Scroll to Top