A schism refers to the secession of at least one faction (i.e., an ideologically distinct subgroup) from a social group. The breakaway faction(s) may either join a different group or create a new group. Schisms are common. They can occur in every type of group, including small aggregates (scientific expeditions, sports teams), middle-range groups (political parties, religious institutions, industrial organizations), and large communities (nations, ethnic groups). Whenever they occur, schisms have significant repercussions. They can quite dramatically affect beliefs, values, and behaviors within groups and transform relationships and equilibrium between groups. In sum, schisms constitute one of the most basic and consequential phenomena in the life of groups and in their interrelationships. This entry provides an overview of related research, presents a social-psychological model of ...

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