[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The status-enhancement theory of overconfidence proposes that overconfidence pervades self-judgment because it helps people attain higher social status. Prior work has found that highly confident individuals attained higher status regardless of whether their confidence was justified by actual ability (Anderson, Brion, Moore, & Kennedy, 2012). However, those initial findings were observed in contexts where individuals’ actual abilities were unlikely to be discovered by others. What happens to overconfident individuals when others learn how good they truly are at the task? If those individuals are penalized with status demotions, then the status costs might outweigh the status benefits of overconfidence – thereby casting doubt on the benefits of overconfidence. In three studies, we found that group members did not react negatively to individuals revealed as overconfident, and in fact still viewed them positively. Therefore, the status benefits of overconfidence outweighed any possible status costs, lending further support to the status-enhancement theory.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 11/2013; 122(2):266–279. · 3.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Though people in positions of power have many advantages that sustain their power, stories abound of individuals who fall from their lofty perch. How does this happen? The current research examined the role of illusions of alliance, which we define as overestimating the strength of one’s alliances with others. We tested whether powerholders lose power when they possess overly positive perceptions of their relationships with others, which in turn leads to the weakening of those relationships. Studies 1 and 2 found that powerful individuals were more likely to hold illusions of alliance. Using laboratory as well as field contexts, Studies 3, 4, and 5 found that individuals with power who held illusions of alliance obtained fewer resources, were excluded more frequently from alliances, and lost their power. These findings suggest that power sometimes leads to its own demise because powerful individuals erroneously assume that others feel allied to them.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 05/2013; 121(1):129–139. · 3.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose – In this chapter, we review the research on status hierarchies in groups and teams to assess the relative validity of two major models – the dominance and functionalist theories of status hierarchies. We find that these models cannot fully account for empirical evidence in the literature, and thus propose a new model of status hierarchies, Micropolitics.Methodology/approach – We examine the relative validity of current major theories by reviewing the literature on status hierarchies in groups.Findings – We find that, although most of the literature supports the functionalist theory of status hierarchies, this theory cannot explain some of the existing empirical evidence. Drawing on both functionalist and dominance perspectives, we propose a new theory of status, the Micropolitics model, to account for this evidence. Specifically, we propose that in the “micro” context of groups and teams, individuals attain status by convincing their group that they possess the skills and abilities needed to take charge – just as political candidates must convince voters they are the right people for the job.Originality/value of paper – This paper proposes a new theory of status hierarchies in groups that may provide additional explanatory power for status researchers. It suggests that groups strive to attain meritocracy, but may put the wrong people in charge.
Research on Managing Groups and Teams 09/2012; 15:49-80.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In explaining the prevalence of the overconfident belief that one is better than others, prior work has focused on the motive to maintain high self-esteem, abetted by biases in attention, memory, and cognition. An additional possibility is that overconfidence enhances the person's social status. We tested this status-enhancing account of overconfidence in 6 studies. Studies 1-3 found that overconfidence leads to higher social status in both short- and longer-term groups, using naturalistic and experimental designs. Study 4 applied a Brunswikian lens analysis (Brunswik, 1956) and found that overconfidence leads to a behavioral signature that makes the individual appear competent to others. Studies 5 and 6 measured and experimentally manipulated the desire for status and found that the status motive promotes overconfidence. Together, these studies suggest that people might so often believe they are better than others because it helps them achieve higher social status. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 07/2012; 103(4):718-35. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypotheses derived from face theory predict that the words people use in online dispute resolution affect the likelihood of settlement. In an event history model, text data from 386 disputes between eBay buyers and sellers indicated a higher likelihood of settlement when face was affirmed by provision of a causal account and a lower likelihood of settlement when face was attacked by expression of negative emotions or making commands. These aspects of language and emotion accounted for settlement likelihood even when we controlled for structural aspects of disputes, such as negative feedback filings and the filer's role as buyer or seller.
The Academy of Management Journal 06/2012; · 5.61 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dozens of studies in different nations have revealed that socioeconomic status only weakly predicts an individual's subjective well-being (SWB). These results imply that although the pursuit of social status is a fundamental human motivation, achieving high status has little impact on one's SWB. However, we propose that sociometric status-the respect and admiration one has in face-to-face groups (e.g., among friends or coworkers)-has a stronger effect on SWB than does socioeconomic status. Using correlational, experimental, and longitudinal methodologies, four studies found consistent evidence for a local-ladder effect: Sociometric status significantly predicted satisfaction with life and the experience of positive and negative emotions. Longitudinally, as sociometric status rose or fell, SWB rose or fell accordingly. Furthermore, these effects were driven by feelings of power and social acceptance. Overall, individuals' sociometric status matters more to their SWB than does their socioeconomic status.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the desire for high status is considered universal, prior research suggests individuals often opt for lower status positions. Why would anyone favor a position of apparent disadvantage? In 5 studies, we found that the broad construct of status striving can be broken up into two conceptions: one based on rank, the other on respect. While individuals might universally desire high levels of respect, we find that they vary widely in the extent to which they strive for high-status rank, with many individuals opting for middle- or low-status rank. The status rank that individuals preferred depended on their self-perceived value to the group: when they believed they provided less value, they preferred lower status rank. Mediation and moderation analyses suggest that beliefs about others' expectations were the primary driver of these effects. Individuals who believed they provided little value to their group inferred that others expected them to occupy a lower status position. Individuals in turn conformed to these perceived expectations, accepting lower status rank in such settings.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 02/2012; 102(5):1077-88. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Scholars who examine the psychological effects of power have often argued that possessing power shapes individual behavior because it instills an elevated sense of power. However, little is known about the personal sense of power because very few studies have examined it empirically. In studies involving a total of 1,141 participants and nine different samples, we found that the personal sense of power was coherent within social contexts; for example, individuals who believed that they can get their way in a group also believed that they can influence fellow group members' attitudes and opinions. The personal sense of power was also moderately consistent across relationships but showed considerable relationship specificity; for example, individuals' personal sense of power vis-à-vis their friend tended to be distinct but moderately related to their personal sense of power vis-à-vis their parent. And the personal sense of power was affected not only by sociostructural factors (e.g., social position, status) but also by personality variables such as dominance.
Journal of Personality 03/2011; 80(2):313-44. · 2.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Functionalist accounts of hierarchy, longstanding in the social sciences, have gained recent prominence in studies of leadership, power, and status. This chapter takes a critical look at a core implication of the functionalist perspective – namely, that steeper hierarchies help groups and organizations perform better than do flatter structures. We review previous research relevant to this question, ranging from studies of communication structures in small groups to studies of compensation systems in large corporations. This review finds that in contrast to strong functionalist assertions, the effects of steeper hierarchies are highly mixed. Sometimes steeper hierarchies benefit groups and sometimes they harm groups. We thus propose five conditions that moderate the effects of hierarchy steepness: (1) the kinds of tasks on which the group is working; (2) whether the right individuals have been selected as leaders; (3) how the possession of power modifies leaders’ psychology; (4) whether the hierarchy facilitates or hampers intra-group coordination; and (5) whether the hierarchy affects group members’ motivation in positive or deleterious ways.
Research in Organizational Behavior 01/2010; 30:55-89. · 2.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reports an error in "Are individuals' reputations related to their history of behavior" by Cameron Anderson and Aiwa Shirako (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2008[Feb], Vol 94, 320-333). Coefficient alpha reliabilities for the social connectedness variable were reported as .97 and .78 in Studies 2 and 3, respectively. Instead, they should have been reported as intraclass correlations (ICC) of .87 and .74, respectively. In the original reliability analyses, the authors included self-ratings of social connectedness and thus omitted participants from the analysis who did not provide a self-rating. Similarly, the authors included self-ratings when assessing the reliability of social connectedness in an unreported classroom sample (n=36) that was collected at the same time as the data reported in Study 2. In that unreported sample, they originally obtained a coefficient that was far below satisfactory levels, leading them to exclude that data set. However, after taking out the self-ratings in that unreported sample, the ICC was .82. The erratum summarizes the correlations reported in Study 2 for the unreported and included data sets combined. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2008-00466-010.) Functional theories of reputation imply that individuals' reputations are tied to their history of behavior. However, indirect evidence suggests that the relation between reputation and behavior might be tenuous at best. In 3 studies, the authors tracked the development of reputations among individuals who engaged in multiple negotiation tasks across several weeks. The authors found that on average, individuals' reputations were only mildly related to their history of behavior. However, the link between reputation and behavior was stronger for some individuals than others--specifically, for individuals who were more well-known and received more social attention in the community. In contrast, for less well-known individuals, their behavior had little impact on their reputation. The findings have implications for psychologists' understanding of reputations, person perceptions in larger groups, and the costs and benefits of social visibility. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 01/2010; 98(1):76-76. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Individuals who occupy positions of high status and authority tend to engage in overconfidence more than others. While prior work suggests that this excessive overconfidence is partly a product of their elevated status, the current research tested whether overconfidence can also lead to status: Are individuals with overly positive self-perceptions of ability more likely to attain status in the first place? Three studies of task-focused dyads and groups involving laboratory and field settings found support for this hypothesis. Further, the relation between overconfidence and status was consistently mediated by peer-perceived competence: overconfident individuals attained status because others inaccurately perceived them as more competent. An experimental manipulation established the causal priority of overconfidence, and a longitudinal study found the effects of overconfidence endured over time. This research contributes to our understanding of status distribution systems in groups and organizations, the consequences of overconfidence, and the psychology of status.
Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series. 01/2010;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Status differences are ubiquitous and highly consequential. Yet with regard to human social groups, basic questions persist about how status differences develop. In particular, little is known about the processes by which individuals pursue status in social groups. That is, how do individuals compete and jockey for status with their peers? The current paper reviews recent research that helps fill this gap in our knowledge. Specifically, studies of a variety of face-to-face groups show that individuals pursue status by enhancing the apparent value they provide to their group. Individuals compete for status not by bullying and intimidating others, as some theorists have proposed, but by behaving in ways that suggest high levels of competence, generosity, and commitment to the group.
Current Directions in Psychological Science 10/2009; 18(5):295-298. · 3.93 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Individuals high in the personality trait dominance consistently attain high levels of influence in groups. Why they do is unclear, however, because most group theories assert that people cannot attain influence simply by behaving assertively and forcefully; rather, they need to possess superior task abilities and leadership skills. In the present research, the authors proposed that individuals high in trait dominance attain influence because they behave in ways that make them appear competent--even when they actually lack competence. Two studies examined task groups using a social relations analysis of peer perceptions (D. A. Kenny & L. LaVoie, 1984). The authors found that individuals higher in trait dominance were rated as more competent by fellow group members, outside peer observers, and research staff members, even after controlling for individuals' actual abilities. Furthermore, frequency counts of discrete behaviors showed that dominance predicts the enactment of competence-signaling behaviors, which in turn predicts peer ratings of competence. These findings extend researchers' understanding of trait dominance, hierarchies in groups, and perceptions of competence and abilities.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 02/2009; 96(2):491-503. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We explore the phenomenon of status disagreement in groups, which occurs when two group members both believe they have higher status than each other. Across two studies, we investigate the consequences of status disagreements for group performance and group member behavior. In Study 1, we incite status disagreement in groups working together in the laboratory, and analyze membersâ€™ behavior using detailed observation from videotape. In Study 2, we observe naturally occurring status disagreements in group of students working on a longer-term class project, and employ Hierarchical Linear Modeling and the Social Relations Model (Kenny & LaVoie, 1984) for behavioral analyses. In both studies, we find a negative association between status disagreement and group performance. Further, analyses of group member behavior indicate that this relationship is primarily due to reduced contributions by individuals engaged in status disagreement. These findings speak to the importance of status disagreement for group dynamics and suggest that purely cooperative conceptions of status differentiation may be incomplete.
Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series. 01/2009;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Being in the numeric minority (e.g., being a solo woman in a group of men) influences how well a person performs within a work group. But being the solo member is only one way in which people can be atypical in a group; a person can also represent a social or demographic category that has not typically been associated with the task that the group is working on. Using a design with four categories of group composition (minority, balanced, majority, homogeneous) and two categories of tasks (sex-typical, sex-atypical) we found that the sex composition of the group interacted with the sex typicality of the task to influence both positive deferrals by group members and individual performance in groups. But, rather than consistently reducing performance as prior research has suggested, being numerically atypical enhanced individual performance when the task was typical for that person’s sex. Further, positive deferrals mediated between the interaction of numeric composition and task typicality in influencing individual performance suggesting that both majority group members and the solo member affect one another’s performance in groups. We conclude by discussing why understanding the interplay between these two sources of stereotyping, numeric composition and task typicality, is important for understanding the social nature of individual performance in groups.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 11/2008; · 3.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: How can individuals attain influence in organizations? Prior research has identified structural determinants of influence, such as formal authority and position in a social network. However, indirect evidence suggests that influence might also stem from personal characteristics. The authors tested whether influence can stem from the fit between the person and his or her organization (P-O fit). Consistent with expectations, extraverts attained more influence in a team-oriented organization, whereas conscientious individuals attained more influence in an organization in which individuals worked alone on technical tasks. Further, these effects held up after controlling for formal authority, job performance, and demographic characteristics, such as gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The multiple ways in which individuals can gain influence are discussed.
Journal of Applied Psychology 06/2008; 93(3):702-10. · 4.31 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Functional theories of reputation imply that individuals' reputations are tied to their history of behavior. However, indirect evidence suggests that the relation between reputation and behavior might be tenuous at best. In 3 studies, the authors tracked the development of reputations among individuals who engaged in multiple negotiation tasks across several weeks. The authors found that on average, individuals' reputations were only mildly related to their history of behavior. However, the link between reputation and behavior was stronger for some individuals than others--specifically, for individuals who were more well-known and received more social attention in the community. In contrast, for less well-known individuals, their behavior had little impact on their reputation. The findings have implications for psychologists' understanding of reputations, person perceptions in larger groups, and the costs and benefits of social visibility.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 03/2008; 94(2):320-33. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Individuals engage in status self-enhancement when they form an overly positive perception of their status in a group. We argue that status self-enhancement incurs social costs and, therefore, most individuals perceive their status accurately. In contrast, theories of positive illusions suggest status self-enhancement is beneficial for the individual and that most individuals overestimate their status. We found supportive evidence for our hypotheses in a social relations analysis of laboratory groups, an experiment that manipulated status self-enhancement, and a study of real-world groups. Individuals who engaged in status self-enhancement were liked less by others and paid less for their work. Moreover, individuals tended to perceive their status highly accurately. Mediation analyses showed that status self-enhancers were socially punished because they were seen as disruptive to group processes.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 02/2008; 34(1):90-101. · 2.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Status is the prominence, respect, and influence individuals enjoy in the eyes of others. Theories of positive illusions suggest that individuals form overly positive perceptions of their status in face-to-face groups. In contrast, the authors argue that individuals' perceptions of their status are highly accurate--that is, they closely match the group's perception of their status--because forming overly positive status self-perceptions can damage individuals' acceptance in a group. Therefore, the authors further argue that individuals are likely to refrain from status self-enhancement to maintain their belongingness in a group. Support for their hypotheses was found in 2 studies of status in face-to-face groups, using a social relations model approach (D. A. Kenny & L. La Voie, 1984). Individuals showed high accuracy in perceiving their status and even erred on the side of being overly humble. Moreover, enhancement in status self-perceptions was associated with lower levels of social acceptance.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 01/2007; 91(6):1094-110. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Functional theories of reputation imply that individualsâ€™ reputations are tied to their history of behavior. However, indirect evidence suggests that the link between reputation and behavior may be tenuous at best. In three studies we tracked the development of reputations over time among MBA students in negotiation classes. We found that individualsâ€™ reputations were linked to their history of behavior, but not strongly. However, the relation between reputation and behavior was more robust for some individuals than others. Specifically, for individuals who were well-known and received more social attention in the cohort, their reputation was strongly related to their behavior. In contrast, for less visible individuals who were more ignored by others, their behavior had little impact on their reputation. Finally, individualsâ€™ behavior history in the negotiations was related to their trait agreeableness. This latter finding suggests that personality does shape behavior in negotiations, in contrast to some previous assertions; however, individualsâ€™ behavior must be measured in aggregate, across negotiations, rather than in single interactions. The findings have implications for our understanding of reputation, the costs and benefits of social visibility, and personality effects in negotiations
Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series. 01/2007;