The future of system justification theory

John T. Jost, Vivienne Badaan, Shahrzad Goudarzi, Mark Hoffarth, Mao Mogami

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


In this article, we respond to commentaries by Friesen et al. (2019, Br. J. Soc. Psychol., 58, 315), Osborne et al. (2019, Br. J. Soc. Psychol., 58, 340), and Owuamalam et al. (2019, Br. J. Soc. Psychol., 58, 362) on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of system justification theory. The first two commentaries are highly favourable in their evaluation of the state of theory and research on system justification, and they provide insightful suggestions for new directions. The third commentary is far more critical of system justification theory. We address each objection in some detail, seeking to correct a number of misconceptions about system justification theory and clarify the fact that the theory specifies three – ego, group, and system justification – motives rather than one. Finally, we end by proposing exciting new areas for future research, such as (1) distinguishing between subjective and objective consequences of system justification in a broader array of social and political contexts and (2) developing practical interventions to reduce system justification motivation and strengthen the motivation to improve upon the status quo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-392
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • collective action
  • ideology
  • intergroup relations
  • social change
  • social identification
  • system justification theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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