ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Episodic envy, the unpleasant emotion resulting from a specific negative social comparison, is discussed. A new measure designed to assess it is developed, validated, and cross-validated in 3 studies. The implications of episodic envy are also examined. Results show that episodic envy is composed of a feeling component and a comparison component; and is different from unfairness, admiration, and competition. The feeling component is strongly correlated with negative emotional reactions (anxiety, depression, negative mood, hostility) and behavioral reactions (e.g., harming the other, creating a negative work atmosphere) to envy. The comparison component is correlated with behaviors intended to improve one's position in the organization. Episodic envy predicts reactions to envy above and beyond dispositional envy.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Episodic Envy
Yochi Cohen-Charash1
Baruch College and Graduate Center
City University of New York
Episodic envy, the unpleasant emotion resulting from a specific negative social
comparison, is discussed. A new measure designed to assess it is developed, vali-
dated, and cross-validated in 3 studies. The implications of episodic envy are also
examined. Results show that episodic envy is composed of a feeling component and
a comparison component; and is different from unfairness, admiration, and compe-
tition. The feeling component is strongly correlated with negative emotional reac-
tions (anxiety, depression, negative mood, hostility) and behavioral reactions (e.g.,
harming the other, creating a negative work atmosphere) to envy. The comparison
component is correlated with behaviors intended to improve one’s position in the
organization. Episodic envy predicts reactions to envy above and beyond disposi-
tional envy.jasp_519 2128..2173
Envy is an unusual emotion. Although most people experience envy
every once in a while, it is unusual for a person to admit feeling envious or
any possible influence that envy may have on his or her behavior. Yet, envy
has been found to have profound effects on the people experiencing it and
the people who are the targets of it. People experiencing envy are often
tormented by this highly unpleasant emotion and are ashamed of their feel-
ings (e.g., Silver & Sabini, 1978b). People who are afraid of being the target
of envy often hide their good fortune and even actively avoid too much
success (e.g., Schoeck, 1969). Hence, envy has a strong influence on peo-
ple’s behavior.
Some research on envy has conceptualized it as a relatively stable dispo-
sitional tendency (Gold, 1996; Smith, Parrott, Diener, Hoyle, & Kim, 1999).
This research has been important and influential in providing recognition for
the importance of envy in people’s daily lives and in establishing valid mea-
surement tools for dispositional envy. Envy, however, is not just a personality
trait. Even people who are not predisposed to experience envy may some-
times experience it because of a specific social comparison in which they fare
badly relative to another (Schalin, 1979). This temporary, situation-specific
episodic (i.e., state) envy is the focus of the present article.
1Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Yochi Cohen-Charash,
Department of Psychology, Baruch College, CUNY, 1 Bernard Baruch Way, Box B-8215, New
York, NY 10010. E-mail: yochi.cohen-charash@baruch.cuny.edu
2128
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2009, 39, 9, pp. 2128–2173.
©2009 Copyright the Authors
Journal compilation ©2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
In this article, I build on existing theory and research on envy and emo-
tions to (a) clearly differentiate episodic from dispositional envy and from
other possibly competing constructs (e.g., unfairness, admiration, competi-
tive feelings); (b) develop and validate a theory-based measure of episodic
envy; and (c) demonstrate the importance of episodic envy by showing its
relations to behavioral and emotional reactions to other people’s better
fortune. To achieve these goals, I conducted three studies.
In Study 1, I describe the development and factor structure of a new
measure of episodic envy. I cross-validate the measure in Study 2, in which I
also examine the discriminant validity of the episodic envy measure. In Study
3, I replicate and extend the discriminant validation of the measure, examine
hypotheses about the reactions of individuals to episodic envy, and examine
the incremental validity of episodic envy after controlling for dispositional
envy. Combined, these studies, using different envy-eliciting methods and
different samples, provide a robust assessment of episodic envy and its
importance in our daily lives.
What Is Envy?
According to Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1998), envy is
the “chagrin, mortification, discontent, or uneasiness at the sight of anoth-
er’s excellence or good fortune, accompanied with some degree of hatred
and a desire to possess equal advantages.” Envy occurs “when a person
lacks another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and either
desires it or wishes that the other lacked it” (Parrott & Smith, 1993, p.
906).2For envy to occur, the “thing” that one lacks should be in a domain
that is central to one’s self-concept (Lazarus, 1991), and the two persons
(i.e., envious and envied) should be in a unit relationship (Heider, 1958);
that is, similar or close to each other. Episodic envy, then, is a negatively
felt emotional state “experienced because of a negative social comparison,
when Person A notices that a similar other, Person B, has something (e.g.,
material or personal) that Person A wants but does not have, and the
desired object or condition is central to A’s self-concept” (Cohen-Charash
& Mueller, 2007, p. 666).
2Although often used interchangeably, envy and jealousy are different constructs. Whereas
envy refers to a situation in which one person wants what another person has, jealousy refers to
a situation in which one person has something the other wants but the person does not want the
other to have (e.g., Ben-Ze’ev, 1990), or a situation in which one perceives the advancement of
another to be at the expense of oneself (Lazarus & Cohen-Charash, 2001). Thus, envy and
jealousy can be viewed as two sides of the same coin.
EPISODIC ENVY 2129
While some researchers posit that envy can be benign or non-malicious
(for a review, see Parrott, 1991), the construct of episodic envy discussed and
examined in this article is often called envy proper or hostile envy (Smith &
Kim, 2007). When a person experiences this kind of envy, he or she is focused
not only on wanting what the other has, but also experiences ill will toward
the other and might even consider removing or destroying the object of envy
(e.g., Neu, 1980; Salovey, 1991). It also involves the assumption that the
envied person is responsible for one’s inferiority, hence leading to hostile
feelings toward the other (Smith, Parrott, Ozer, & Moniz, 1994) and making
the other a target for behaviors aimed at harming him or her (Miceli &
Castelfranchi, 2007; Smith & Kim, 2007).
Envy is a complex emotion, composed of various other emotions, such as
hatred (Johnson-Laird & Oatley, 1989), desire, entitlement (Bers & Rodin,
1984), discontent, longing, ill will, wishfulness, self-criticism, dissatisfaction,
and self-awareness (Smith, Kim, & Parrott, 1988). It is also highly dependent
on conscious cognitive appraisals of another’s better fortune (e.g., Lazarus,
1991; Miceli & Castelfranchi, 2007). Complex emotions are particularly
dependent on cognitive appraisals because they “cannot be experienced
without some awareness of the circumstances that occasioned them”
(Johnson-Laird & Oatley, 1989, p, 86). Parrott (1988) discussed the fact that
cognitive processes not only lead to emotions, but are also a part of the
emotions, together with feelings. Thus, both the negative feelings and the
cognitive appraisal of the other person’s better fortune should be part of
the experience of envy.
Therefore, I view episodic envy as having two components: a feeling
component (the negative, hostile emotional experience); and a cognitive
appraisal component, focused on the negative comparison with the envied
person. In this comparison, the envious person is inferior to the envied
other because the envious person does not have what the envied person has.
Moreover, I claim that envy cannot be experienced without the joint occur-
rence of both components. For example, an appraisal that someone else has
something going well for him or her in a certain domain can result in a
positive emotional experience, when one feels happy for the other person’s
better fortune (e.g., Cohen-Charash, 2005; Cohen-Charash, Scherbaum,
Erez, & Bavli, 2005; Tesser & Collins, 1988). In this case, despite the
appraisal that another person is doing better than oneself, the person does
not feel envy.
Similarly, negative, hostile feelings toward another person can occur in
the absence of a negative social comparison. For example, anger might occur
because of unfair treatment (e.g., Mikula, Scherer, & Athenstaedt, 1998), and
hate might occur because of the perceived negative character of another
person (Ben-Ze’ev, 2000). It is only the specific combination of a negative
2130 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
social comparison and a negative emotional state that is assumed to lead to
envy.
Theoretical support for a multifaceted structure of envy has been found in
the dispositional envy literature (Smith et al., 1999) and was also recently
given by Miceli and Castelfranchi (2007). Miceli and Castelfranchi discussed
negative social comparison and ill will as the core components of envy. Smith
et al. similarly referred to inferiority and ill will as components of disposi-
tional envy, with inferiority emerging from a negative social comparison
(Parrott, 1991). However, Smith et al. found that dispositional envy has only
one component. The case, however, might be different for episodic envy.
To understand the mechanisms of episodic envy, it is important to con-
centrate on the specifics of the particular social comparison that leads to the
envy. This specific social comparison is the focus of the envy experience. The
other component of episodic envy is predicted to be the hostile, negative
feeling component. Thus, I hypothesize the following:
Hypothesis 1. The experience of episodic envy will be composed
of two components: a negative social comparison and hostile
feelings toward the other person.
It is difficult to predict a priori the interrelationship of the two compo-
nents. Although one might assume that appraisals precede feelings, Frijda
(1994), in fact, claimed that “awareness of the meaning of emotional events
is not only, not necessarily, and not always the cause of the emotion, but it
also is part of the emotional experience itself” (p. 197). Similarly, Lazarus
(1991) claimed there is no sequential pattern in the development of emotion
and that events, appraisals, and emotions constantly influence each other.
Therefore, I see both components of envy as co-occurring.
Why Study Episodic Envy?
The main assumptions guiding the study of episodic envy are that (a)
under some circumstances, it can be experienced by any individual, regardless
of his or her dispositional tendencies to experience envy; and (b) episodic
envy is different from dispositional envy. To the extent that episodic envy can
be experienced by any individual, the number of people who experience envy
is larger than the number of people who are predisposed to experience it. This
makes the experience of envy and its implications more widespread and
profound than if we treat envy only as a personality trait.
Moreover, episodic envy and dispositional envy may be qualitatively
different. For example, being a chronically envious person is different
from occasionally experiencing envy. Dispositional envy is an individual-
EPISODIC ENVY 2131
difference variable referring to one’s general tendency to feel envy. The
envious personality is characterized by a chronic sense of inferiority, chronic
feelings of ill will toward those who are better off (Smith et al., 1999), and
being unhappy with one’s situation (Gold, 1996). In contrast, episodic envy
can be experienced by any person, regardless of his or her general level of
feelings of inferiority or ill will and is limited to a particular experience. Thus,
to experience episodic envy, a person need not be chronically malicious or
feel inferior. Furthermore, while episodic envy is experienced toward a spe-
cific person and results from a specific incident in which the other person has
something the person wants for himself or herself, dispositional envy is an
overall way of looking at other people and their fortunes. In sum, episodic
envy and dispositional envy may evolve from different causes and may lead
to different reactions to an envious incident.
A particularly relevant theoretical framework that can highlight the dif-
ference between dispositional and episodic envy is affective events theory
(Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996). For example, a person might encounter
another who is doing better than himself or herself on something that is very
important to that person. Depending on the appraisal of the situation
(Lazarus & Cohen-Charash, 2001), this affective event might result in the
person experiencing episodic envy toward the other. Most individuals
encounter affective events and react to them with discrete emotions, such as
anger (e.g., when a situation is unfair; for a review, see Cohen-Charash &
Byrne, 2008) and happiness (e.g., when one succeeds), regardless of their
affective dispositions. Although affective dispositions influence emotional
reactions to events, individuals still experience emotions they are not predis-
posed to experience (e.g., Davidson et al., 1994; Lazarus, 1991).
Moreover, past theory and research on state versus trait characteristics of
discrete emotions have supported the idea that they are different constructs.
For example, Ferguson and Stegge (1995) differentiated between the adap-
tive role of state shame and guilt, versus the maladaptive role of trait shame
and guilt. It is possible that similar differences will also be found for dispo-
sitional envy and episodic envy. Therefore, examining episodic envy—in
addition to examining dispositional envy—will improve our ability to learn
about envy, its predictors, and its implications. It will also improve our
understanding of the phenomenon called envy. In this respect, studying both
dispositional and episodic envy should complement our comprehension of
both.
The emotions literature has shown a great deal of interest in envious
reactions to others’ better fortunes, which has led to much progress in our
understanding of envy. However, the measurement of episodic envy in most
of the existing studies was problematic, in that some researchers measured
episodic envy using invalidated scales that were created for specific studies;
2132 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
while other researchers used measures that examine individuals’ stable ten-
dencies to experience envy (i.e., dispositional envy), even when examining
episodic envy. Yet other researchers measured envy using single-item mea-
sures.3Using single-item, dispositionally based, or invalidated measures of
episodic envy may have led to researchers missing important features of
episodic envy, such as its complex nature and its possibly unique antecedents
and outcomes. Overall, then, despite existing research interest in the study of
episodic envy, currently there is no validated measure that examines it. Thus,
the focus of this article is on a deep exploration of the episodic envy construct
itself and the measure needed to understand it even more completely.
Episodic Envy and Competing Constructs:
Discriminant Validity of Episodic Envy
Given its complex structure, a challenge for researchers studying episodic
envy is its possible overlap with other concepts. There are three related
concepts that have been discussed in relation to envy: perceived unfairness,
competitive feelings, and admiration. The common denominator across these
concepts is that all can emerge in situations in which episodic envy can
emerge; that is, as reactions to the better lot of another. However, whereas all
3Researchers who intended to measure event- or context-specific envy used constructs and
measures that differ from episodic envy, and some used variants of dispositional measures to
measure episodic envy. For example, Vecchio (1995) developed a workplace envy measure that
has a generalized focus, rather than a focus on a specific incident or people involved in episodic
envy. Specifically, Vecchio asked research participants to respond to the following more gener-
alized statements: “Most of my coworkers have it better than I do,” “My supervisor values the
efforts of others more than he/she values my efforts,” “I don’t imagine I’ll ever have a job as good
as some that I’ve seen,” “I don’t know why, but I usually seem to be the underdog at work,” and
“It is somewhat annoying to see others have all the luck in getting the best assignments.” These
statements, similar to dispositional envy statements, tap into a generalized, chronic tendency to
feel inferior to others, and discontent about one’s position in the world relative to unspecified
others (Smith et al., 1999). Duffy and Shaw (2000) used items based on Vecchio’s workplace
envy scale, such as “Most of my team members have it better than I do” to examine envy in
groups. These items, however, do not capture episodic envy because they do not refer to a
specific event or a specific other of whom the person is envious. Rather, these items correspond
to the description of the person who is dispositionally envious, who suffers from a chronic sense
of inferiority (Smith et al., 1999). Similarly, two of the four items used by Schaubroeck and Lam
(2004) to measure promotion envy are generalized dispositional items, rather than measures
specific to the contexts: “It is so frustrating to see some people succeed so easily,” and “Feelings
of envy constantly torment me” (Smith et al., 1999). Other studies have measured envy using
single-item measures (e.g., Lieblich, 1971). Finally, the studies that used multiple-item measures
to study envy (Brigham, Kelso, Jackson, & Smith, 1997; Feather & Sherman, 2002; Hareli &
Weiner, 2002; Smith et al., 1996; van Dijk, Ouwerkerk, Goslinga, & Nieweg, 2005; van Dijk,
Ouwerkerk, Goslinga, Nieweg, & Gallucci, 2006) used invalidated measures. Although these
measures are better than one- or two-item measures, it is still desirable to have theory-based,
validated measures of episodic envy.
EPISODIC ENVY 2133
of these constructs can co-occur with envy, they can also occur without envy,
and envy can occur in their absence. That is, envy can occur in fair situations,
when competition is not involved, and individuals can admire others without
being envious of them.
The differences between the various competing constructs can be readily
explained by Tesser’s (1988) self-evaluation maintenance (SEM) model,
balance theory (Heider, 1958), and appraisal theory (Lazarus, 1991). These
theories stress the importance of three major factors in the development of
envy: (a) the other person’s performance or achievements should be better
than those of the self; (b) the other’s achievement must be important and
relevant to the self; and (c) the two people must be close or similar to each
other. These three conditions, however, do not necessarily apply to situations
in which perceived unfairness, perceived competitiveness, and admiration are
experienced. For example, assume that Person A compares himself or herself
to Person B, who performs better than Person A. Yet, according to SEM
predictions, if Person B is not similar or close to Person A, Person A’s
self-concept will not be hurt, despite the fact that performance is important to
him or her. Instead, Person A will feel admiration toward Person B, resulting
from a reflection process; rather than envy, resulting from a comparison
process (Tesser, 1991). Corresponding explanations can be built for unfair-
ness and competitive feelings. With this general framework in mind, I will
next discuss each of the competing variables as it relates to envy.
Envy and Perceived Unfairness
The relationship between envy and unfairness has been widely discussed
(e.g., Salovey & Rodin, 1984; Smith, 1991), and it has received some empiri-
cal attention (e.g., Cohen-Charash & Mueller, 2007; Lieblich, 1971;
Schaubroeck & Lam, 2004; Smith et al., 1994). Whereas the complete theo-
retical account of this relationship is beyond the scope of the present article
(for a comprehensive discussion, see Ben-Ze’ev, 1992; Miceli & Castelfranchi,
2007; Smith, 1991; Smith & Kim, 2007; Smith et al., 1994), two possible
explanations for the relationship between envy and unfairness are that (a)
individuals might use the unfairness argument to mask their feelings of envy;
and (b) both envy and perceived unfairness result from negative social com-
parisons, making it easy for individuals to mix up the two, and also making
it possible for both reactions to co-occur.
With respect to the first explanation, according to which individuals use
the unfairness argument to mask their feelings envy, one easy way for the
envious person to cope with inferiority relative to another is to claim that the
situation is unfair or that the success of the other was achieved in an unfair
2134 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
manner (Ben-Ze’ev, 1992; Foster, 1972; Miceli & Castelfranchi, 2007;
Parrott, 1991; Schoeck, 1969; Silver & Sabini, 1978b). Such justifications,
masking envy with unfairness, serve two goals. First, it is essential for the
person to protect his or her sense of self. This is because the experience of
envy is demeaning to the envious person, as it means that the envious is
inferior to the envied (Silver & Sabini, 1978b). Claiming that the other’s
better fortune is unjust might help to protect the wounded self-esteem of the
envious person (for a fuller discussion of envy, unfairness, and self-esteem,
see Cohen-Charash & Mueller, 2007). The claim of an unfair advantage also
reduces the other’s achievement and demeans the achievement and the other
person alike. As such, it reduces the gap between the envious and the envied,
whose achievement is now tainted (the importance of demeaning the other
will be discussed shortly).
The second explanation, according to which envy and unfairness can
often co-occur or can be perceived as such, is based on the fact that negative
social comparisons might lead to the experience of both envy and unfairness.
This increases the possibility that individuals will not immediately differen-
tiate between the two (Parrott, 1991) and that at times they might actually
co-occur. Indeed, researchers have hypothesized that envy occurs in just and
unjust situations alike (Ben-Ze’ev, 1992; Feather & Sherman, 2002; Heider,
1958; Smith et al., 1994). For example, it is possible that a person is envious
of another’s promotion, even though the promotion is deserved and fair. The
envy is experienced because the other received something the person wanted
for himself or herself. If the promotion, however, was received in an unfair
manner (e.g., as a result of nepotism), envy of the other might still be
experienced because the other person has received something the person
wanted for himself or herself (cf. Rawls, 1971). Both explanations imply that
envy and perceived unfairness should be positively correlated, but not too
highly correlated to substitute each other. Thus, I propose the following:
Hypothesis 2a. Although they are positively related, envy and
perceived unfairness will be distinct.
Envy and Competitive Feelings
Competition occurs when two people are striving to obtain a certain
outcome, and the success of one person requires the failure of another
(Salovey, 1991). Thus, losing in a competition can lead to envy of the winner
(Ben-Ze’ev, 1992; Kohn, 1992), and envy can also lead one into competing
with a successful other and wanting to outperform him or her (Bers & Rodin,
1984).
EPISODIC ENVY 2135
Competitive feelings, accompanying competitive situations, can have
various emotional correlates (e.g., excitement, fear, joy, sadness). One such
emotional correlate is envy (e.g., Ben-Ze’ev, 1990). At the same time, both
envy and competitive feelings can occur independently of each other
(Hareli & Weiner, 2002). That is, envy can occur in the absence of com-
petitive feelings (e.g., when the mere fact that someone has a certain object
leads one to want this object), and loss in a competition will not always
elicit envy (e.g., when the winner is perceived to be an expert, rather than
a similar competitor). Thus, I propose the following:
Hypothesis 2b. Envy and competitive feelings are positively
related, yet are different constructs.
Envy and Admiration
Whereas some view admiration as part of the experience of envy, leading
the envious to try to improve themselves (Parrott, 1991), others view envy
and admiration as separate experiences arising from upward social compari-
sons. In these views, envy and admiration involve different cognitive pro-
cesses (e.g., in envy, the person focuses on his or her disadvantage, as
compared with the other’s advantage, while in admiration, the person focuses
only on the other’s extraordinary achievement; Smith, 2000). Envy and admi-
ration also involve different action tendencies (e.g., envy involves a desire to
bring the other down, while admiration involves the desire to bring oneself
up; Neu, 1980; for a discussion on malicious and nonmalicious envy, see
Parrott, 1991). Contrary to envy, admiration does not involve a desire to
harm the other, it does not harm one’s self-esteem (Miceli & Castelfranchi,
2007), and it also does not necessarily (although it might) involve the desire
to have what the other has (Khalil, 1996). According to Ben-Ze’ev (1990),
envy involves some admiration, but admiration does not necessarily involve
envy. Thus, admiration can coexist with envy, but can also have a negative
relationship with envy, and sometimes can be completely unrelated to envy.
Therefore, I propose the following:
Hypothesis 2c. While they are possibly related, envy and admi-
ration are different constructs.
Episodic Envy at Work
Episodic envy can occur in any context in which people compare them-
selves to others. One suitable context to study episodic envy is the workplace,
2136 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
where it may be particularly common because of limited organizational
resources (e.g., promotions, awards, office space) that are given to one
employee over another, or when it is clear that one employee is more suc-
cessful than another (Thome, 1993; Vecchio, 1995). As these occurrences are
a matter of daily life for most working individuals, envy has been found to be
a widespread phenomenon in organizations (Miner, 1990). In addition, anec-
dotal observations in the organizational context suggest that the outcomes of
envy can be detrimental, including behaviors such as harming envied employ-
ees’ reputation and performance (Bedeian, 1995; Thome, 1993).
Researchers have found negative effects of envy on employee satisfaction
(Vecchio, 1995), a positive relationship with propensity to quit (Vecchio,
1995, 2000), a negative relationship with perceived distributive justice and
with rival likeability (Schaubroeck & Lam, 2004), and negative implications
for work groups (Duffy & Shaw, 2000). Employees may also engage in
behaviors such as self-handicapping, aloofness, surrounding oneself with
mediocrity, and avoiding success to prevent themselves from being envied
(Natale, Campana, & Sora, 1988; Thome, 1993). Therefore, the current
investigation of episodic envy will be conducted in the context of work
organizations.
I next report on development of the episodic envy scale and on the
empirical examination of Hypotheses 1 and 2. In Study 1, I examine the
measure’s factor structure and Hypothesis 1. In Study 2, I replicate the factor
structure of episodic envy and examine Hypotheses 2a, 2b, and 2c, focusing
on envy’s discriminant validity vis-à-vis unfairness, competition, and admi-
ration. To ensure that the results are not confounded by specific methodolo-
gies, Studies 1 and 2 use different methods to elicit envy.
Development of the Episodic Envy Scale
Items for the episodic envy measure were developed in three stages. First,
items were created based on the theoretical conception of episodic envy as a
hostile emotion that is specific to a particular situation and is focused on one
particular person. Thus, the scale measures (a) negative emotions typically
involved in envy (e.g., hatred, bitterness; see Johnson-Laird & Oatley, 1989;
Smith et al., 1988); and (b) upward social comparison with a particular other
(items representing the better circumstances of the other; e.g., Parrott &
Smith, 1993). As such, the measure of episodic envy is different from that of
dispositional envy, which refers to a generalized state of feeling inferior to
others and of experiencing envy frequently (Smith et al., 1999).
A second source for item generation was a pilot study, involving six
in-depth, semi-structured interviews that were conducted with employed
EPISODIC ENVY 2137
individuals who volunteered to discuss their personal workplace episodic
envy. Of the six interviews, three were conducted over the phone, and three
were conducted face to face. Interviews lasted between 30 and 90 min.
As part of the interview, interviewees were asked to describe the feeling of
envy. The 12 items created based on these two sources were then presented to
213 students who participated in a second pilot study. Items that were not
clear were refined, and some definitions were added to items that participants
did not consistently understand (these definitions are part of the measure and
are intended to clarify the terms for participants for whom English is a
second language). Overall, 12 items were created at these three stages.4
Study 1
Method
Participants
The goal of Study 1 was to evaluate the factor structure of the episodic
envy scale and to examine Hypothesis 1. Study participants were 62 individu-
als (32 females, 30 males) from various industries, organizations, organiza-
tional levels, professions, and geographic regions in the United States. They
were recruited by contact people in their respective organizations or in MBA
classes. Participants’ mean age was 34.5 years (SD =10.4).
While 80.6% of participants were employed in full-time positions, 9.7%
were employed in part-time positions, and 9.7% were unemployed. The
results showed no differences between the employed and unemployed indi-
viduals, hence all responses were retained.
Participants came from a wide variety of professions and industries, such
as financial (27.4%), healthcare (11.3%), legal (8.1%), and insurance indus-
tries (6.5%). The manufacturing, government, software, and education indus-
tries were each represented by approximately 5% of participants.
Participants’ mean tenure was 3.0 years (SD =1.6), and the median salary
ranged from $40,000 to $50,000. The response rate was approximately 38%.
Envy Stimulus
To elicit episodic envy, participants were asked to compare themselves to
a fellow employee at their own level (i.e., not more senior or junior) with
4Because of space constraints, these data are not presented, but are available from the author
upon request.
2138 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
whom they consistently compared themselves. The comparison other had to
be perceived by the participant as being more successful in gaining things for
which the participant was striving and that were important for the partici-
pant’s self-concept. These particular instructions were based on the literature
on the elicitation of envy (e.g., Heider, 1958; Salovey, 1991). No additional
constraints were imposed on the choice of the other, so as not to manipulate
any other relevant variables. Participants did not know that the study was
about envy, and the word envy was not mentioned in this part of the study.
After choosing the comparison other, participants were asked to rate each
item in the episodic envy measure on the extent to which it accurately
described their emotions toward the comparison other. The item was rated
on a 9-point scale ranging from 1 (not characteristic at all)to9(extremely
characteristic). In this measure—and in all other measures used in this
article—the higher the score, the greater the level of the variable measured.
Procedure
Each participant received a booklet containing the envy stimulus and the
episodic envy measure. Booklets were distributed by the contact person in
each organization or by class instructors in MBA classes. Each packet con-
tained a stamped, self-addressed envelope to be used for mailing the com-
pleted questionnaires back to the researcher. The questionnaires were
anonymous. Participants were offered an incentive to take part in the study
in the form of the opportunity to participate in a lottery for a chance to win
$100.5
Results and Discussion
The factor structure of episodic envy was initially examined using princi-
pal components analysis with oblimin rotation and item analyses. The
number of factors was determined based on eigenvalues greater than 1.
Following several iterations designed to improve factor structure, internal
consistency, and parsimony, nine items of the original scale were retained.6
5Each packet contained a stamped, self-addressed postcard that participants could use to
participate in the lottery. This postcard was to be sent by participants separately from the
questionnaires, to preserve their anonymity.
6The omitted items are (a) “a desire that X will not have an advantage over me”; (b)
“jealous”; and (c) “dwell on it.” These items loaded nearly equally on both factors: Item (a)
loaded .57 and .53 on the factors; Item (b) loaded .37 and .33 on the factors; and Item (c) loaded
.58 and .44 on the factors.
EPISODIC ENVY 2139
The results of the exploratory factor analysis with these nine items are
presented in Table 1. The two-factor solution was consistent with theory and
explained 75.9% of the variance of the items. From the factors’ content, it can
be seen that one factor represents feelings and is composed of the following
items: rancor (resentment, ill will); hatred; bitterness; grudge (resentment,
bitterness); and gall (irritated, annoyed). The other factor represents negative
social comparisons and is composed of the following items: a desire to have
what the other has; the other has things going better for him/her than I do;
feeling lacking some of the things the other has; and envious. Despite the fact
that the item envious loaded on the comparison component only, this item
theoretically is shared between both components, as it represents the meta-
construct encompassing both factors. Therefore, it was decided to cross-load
the item on both factors.
This factor structure was next examined using confirmatory factor analy-
sis (CFA; Judd, Jessor, & Donovan, 1986; Kroonenberg & Lewis, 1982). The
CFA consisted of comparing the fit of two competing measurement models:
a one-factor model and a two-factor model. The models were examined
using maximum likelihood estimation. The results show the superiority of the
Table 1
Episodic Envy Item Factor Loading: Study 1
Feeling
(a=.89)
Comparison
(a=.83)
Some hatred .94
I have a grudge (resentment, bitterness) against X .93
Rancor (resentment, ill will) .91
Bitter .88
Gall (irritated, annoyed) .81
A desire to have what X has .89
Feeling lacking some of the things X has .82
X has things going better for him/her than I do .76
Envious .74
Note. n =62. Principal components analysis with oblimin rotation. For clarity of
presentation, only loadings higher than .30 are reported. The words in parentheses are
explanations of the items that were added during the pilot studies, when it became
clear that not all research participants understood their meaning. These explanations
are a part of the episodic envy scale and were presented to participants as such.
2140 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
two-factor model, c2(25, N=62) =49.73, p<.001 (comparative fit index
[CFI] =.95; root mean square error of approximation [RMSEA] =.13), over
the one-factor model of episodic envy, c2(27, N=62) =152.32, p<.001
(CFI =.75; RMSEA =.25), in both their individual fit statistics and in the
chi-square difference test (Dc2=102.59, p<.001). Thus, Hypothesis 1 was
supported, and envy is best viewed as composed of two components: a feeling
component and a comparison component.
To examine if cross-loading the item envious had a negative impact on the
fit of the model to the data, another CFA was conducted, comparing the
two-factor model in which envious was allowed to load on both factors, to a
two-factor model in which envious loaded only on the comparison compo-
nent. The results of these analyses show an improved fit when the item
envious was loaded on both factors (see results previously discussed), as
compared to when the item was loaded on one factor only, c2(26,
N=62) =53.60, p<.001 (CFI =.95; RMSEA =.13), Dc2=3.87, p<.05.
Thus, cross-loading the item envious slightly, but significantly improved the
fit of the model to the data.
Finally, as seen previously, although the fit indexes of the two-factor
model are reasonable, RMSEA is larger than desired. To improve the fit of
the two-factor model to the data, an error covariance was added between two
of the feeling component items (i.e., rancor, hatred). This modification
significantly improved the two-factor model, c2(24, N=62) =28.76, ns
(CFI =.99; RMSEA =.06), Dc2=22.47, p<.001. Fornell (1983) concluded
that it is possible to use correlated errors if it does not significantly alter the
structural parameter estimates of the model. Bagozzi (1983) added the con-
dition that correlating errors do not significantly change the measurement
parameter estimates of the model. An examination of both conditions reveals
that correlating the errors of both items did not significantly change the
measurement or the structural estimates, hence allowing the use of correlated
errors in this case.
The results of Study 1 lend support for Hypothesis 1, suggesting that
episodic envy is best viewed as a two-factor construct: one factor representing
negative feelings and the other factor representing a negative social compari-
son. As expected, the negative emotions characteristic of envy loaded on the
emotion component. The items depicting a negative social comparison
loaded on the comparison component.
However, because a modification was done to the original predicted
model, the new model is now exploratory and should be replicated using a
different sample. Furthermore, conducting exploratory and confirmatory
factor analyses on the same data might be considered problematic by some
(e.g., Breckler, 1990). Therefore, in Study 2, in which a different sample
and envy-elicitation methods were used, I attempted to replicate the factor
EPISODIC ENVY 2141
structure obtained in Study 1. In Study 2, I examined Hypotheses 2a, 2b, and
2c, dealing with the discriminant validity of episodic envy.
Study 2
To ensure that the two-factor structure of the episodic envy measure
obtained in Study 1 was not limited to the specific envy-elicitation method
used, a different elicitation method for episodic envy was used in Study 2.
Specifically, participants were asked to recall a workplace envy experience
from their past. Participants’ recruitment, the envy measure, and the overall
procedures are identical to those of Study 1.
Method
Participants
Study participants were 73 individuals (46 females, 26 males, 1 did not
indicate gender) from various industries, organizations, and geographic
regions in the United States, recruited by contact persons in their respective
organizations or in MBA classes. Participants were mostly female (63.0%),
with a mean age of 35.9 years (SD =10.2). Approximately 55% of the par-
ticipants were college graduates, and approximately 25.7% of the participants
had completed graduate or professional school. Approximately 57% of the
participants were enrolled in MBA courses.
Whereas 76.7% of the participants were employed in full-time positions,
9.6% were employed in part-time positions, 1.4% (1 participant) worked in a
seasonal job, and 1.4% (1 participant) was self-employed. The other partici-
pants (8.2%) were not employed. There were 2 participants (2.7%) who did
not report their employment status. The results show no differences between
the employed and unemployed individuals. Participants’ mean organiza-
tional tenure was 2.5 years (SD =1.3), and the median salary ranged from
$40,000 to $50,000. Response rate was approximately 45%.7
Envy Elicitation
Envy was elicited using the recall methodology. Specifically, participants
were asked to describe an incident of workplace envy that they had
7Data from this sample were used in Cohen-Charash and Mueller (2007, Study 2). The only
data in common between the current study and Cohen-Charash and Mueller’s study is that of
episodic envy and objective injustice beliefs, which represents only a small portion of the data.
2142 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
personally experienced. The specific instructions were as follows (emphases
were in original):
Some of the emotions people experience at work are unpleasant.
We now want you to focus on one such possibly unpleasant
experience: Envy. Envy is what you may feel in situations in
which you desire something another has and you do not have.
Please recall and describe the most envious experience you have
ever had at work. Please limit yourself only to a situation in
which you were envious of another person. Please describe: 1.
What led to the envious situation; 2. What you felt; 3. How you
reacted to the experience; 4. The person you were envious of.
Referring to this incident, participants then completed the episodic envy
measure and the following additional measures.
Measures for Examining Discriminant Validity
Perceived objective unfairness. Perceived objective unfairness was exam-
ined using Smith et al.’s (1994) objective injustice beliefs measure (ain the
present study was .85). A sample item is “Anyone would agree that X’s
advantage was unfairly obtained.”
Subjective unfairness. Subjective unfairness was measured using Smith
et al.’s (1994) subjective injustice beliefs measure (a=.85). A sample item is “It
seemed unfair that the good fortune of X came naturally to him/her.” In both
the objective and subjective measures, items were rated on the degree to which
they characterize the perceptions of the respondent on a 9-point scale ranging
from 1 (not characteristic at all)to9(extremely characteristic).
Admiration. Admiration of the other was measured by Rubin’s (1970)
13-item liking measure (a=.96). A sample item is “It seems to me that it is
very easy for X to gain admiration.” Items were rated on a 9-point scale
ranging from 1 (not at all true)to9(definitely true).
Competitive feelings toward the other. Competitive feelings toward the
other were examined using three items that were created for the present study
(a=.91). The items were based on characteristics of the competitive situation
and on the definition of competition (e.g., Kohn, 1992), and referred to the
relationship with the comparison other after the envy-provoking incident. The
items are (a) “How competitive was the relationship between yourself and X?”;
(b) “How concerned were you in outperforming X?”; and (c) “How concerned
were you in maximizing your own gains relative to X’s gains?” Items were
rated on a 9-point scale ranging from 1 (not at all)to9(extremely).
EPISODIC ENVY 2143
Control Variables
Because of the self-demeaning nature of the envy construct, social desir-
ability was measured as a possible control variable. The 13-item true–false
measure (Reynolds, 1982) consists of statements that are either true or false
for the respondent, such as “I am always willing to admit when I make a
mistake” (a=.66).
Results and Discussion
Structure of Envy
As in Study 1, CFA consisted of comparing the fit of two competing
measurement models: a one-factor model and a two-factor model. The
models were examined using maximum likelihood estimation. To validate the
use of the modified model arrived at in Study 1, the new model tested here
was the modified model, in which the error terms of two items were corre-
lated. The same two error terms were also correlated in the alternative
one-factor model.
The results show the superiority of the two-factor model, c2(24,
N=71) =27.34, ns (CFI =.99; RMSEA =.02); over the one-factor model of
episodic envy, c2(27, N=71) =74.78, p<.001 (CFI =.87; RMSA =.18),
Dc2(2) =47.44, p<.001. Thus, the two-factor model was replicated across
two samples using different envy-elicitation methods, and Hypothesis 1 was
supported.
Episodic Envy Measure
Based on the results of Studies 1 and 2, the following is the measure of
episodic envy. The feeling component is composed of six items: (a) rancor
(resentment, ill-will); (b) some hatred; (c) bitter; (d) “I have a grudge against
X” (resentment, bitterness); (e) gall (irritated, annoyed); and (f) envious. The
comparison component is composed of four items: (a) “a desire to have what
X has”; (b) “feeling lacking some of the things X has”; (c) “X has things going
better for him/her than I do”; and (d) envious.8
8In addition to having separate measures of the feeling and comparison components of
episodic envy, it is also possible to use a composite score that combines both components. A
composite measure combining both components can be used when the researcher is interested in
examining the overall relationships between episodic envy and other variables. When one is
interested in understanding how the different components of envy operate, using the separate
2144 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
It is important to note that the comparison component is composed of
items depicting the perceived disadvantage of the envious person, rather
than inferiority feelings per se. This is so because of three reasons. First, the
nature of the relationship between inferiority feelings and envy is not yet
clear. For example, some have discussed inferiority feelings as leading to
envy (Smith et al., 1994), while others have discussed them as a part of
envy (Parrott & Smith, 1993). To avoid including possible antecedents of
the emotion in the measure of the emotion itself, it is better to avoid such
items altogether. Second, inferiority feelings are considered an enduring
trait (Dixon & Strano, 1989) and, hence, are not suitable to serve as part of
a measure of episodic envy. In fact, this might be another difference
between episodic envy and dispositional envy, which does include inferior-
ity feelings (Smith et al., 1999). Third, although inferiority feelings are
related to envy, such feelings can be experienced in the absence of envy,
and envy can be experienced without inferiority feelings. For example, a
person can envy a particular achievement of another whom the envious
person considered inferior to him or her (e.g., a younger employee, a less
educated person, a less physically attractive person). In such a case, the
person feels superior to the other, but still can experience envy toward him
or her because the other has something the person wants but does not have.
Similarly, a person can feel inferior but not envious; for example, when
people feel shame, which is highly related and, some may say, contains
inferiority feelings (Smith, Webster, Parrott, & Eyre, 2002; Wicker, Payne,
& Morgan, 1983). Similarly, a line employee can feel inferior to the CEO
because of his or her lesser power, influence, and income. This inferiority,
however, will not involve envy because the gap between the line employee
and the CEO is too wide to produce envy (Schoeck, 1969). For these
reasons, inferiority feelings per se were not measured as part of the expe-
rience of envy. Clearly, the nature of the relationship between envy and
inferiority is a topic for future research.
Discriminant Validity of Episodic Envy
Prior to examining the validation hypotheses, the relationships between
envy and the control and background variables were examined for possible
components measures is suggested. To create the composite measure, the researcher should
average scores on the nine items. In the current sample, Cronbach’s alpha of the nine-item scale
is .81.
EPISODIC ENVY 2145
covariates. As seen in Table 2, social desirability was not significantly related
to the envy and competing measures, so it was not controlled for in subse-
quent analyses.
CFAs were used to examine the discriminant validation hypotheses, pre-
dicting that episodic envy would be differentiated from unfairness, competi-
tion, and admiration. In CFA terms, models in which the measure of episodic
envy loads on two envy latent variables (feeling and comparison latent vari-
ables) and the measures of unfairness (Hypothesis 2a), competition (Hypoth-
esis 2b), or admiration (Hypothesis 2c) load on a third latent variable,
respectively, will be better than models in which both envy and the other
variable load on the same latent variable.
As seen in Table 2, correlations between envy and the discriminant valid-
ity variables ranged from |.05| to |.48|, with a mean correlation of .25. These
levels of correlations lend some credence to the discriminant validity hypoth-
eses because they show that although envy and the discriminant validation
variables are related, they are still different constructs.
The CFAs consisted of comparing the fit indexes of four nested models.
The first model contained (a) the items composing the feeling component of
envy; (b) the items composing the comparison component of envy; and (c) the
items composing the variable against which envy was validated (i.e., unfair-
ness, competition, or admiration). These items represent three latent vari-
ables in the model, and the correlations between these latent variables were
unrestricted.
The second model included the envy feeling component items and the
discriminant validation variable items loaded on one factor, and the envy
comparison component items loaded on a second factor. The third model
included the envy comparison component items and the discriminant valida-
tion variable items loaded on one factor, and the envy feeling component
items loaded on a second factor.
The fourth and last model included all of the items (composing envy and
the discriminant validation variable) loading on one latent variable. To the
extent that the chi-square statistic significantly differs across the nested
models, the model with the smaller chi square is considered better than the
others (Judd et al., 1986). The results of these analyses in Table 3 (Study 2)
show that the three-factor models were always better than the competing
models, with the one-factor model being the worst. Thus, Hypotheses 2a, 2b,
and 2c were supported.
The results of Studies 1 and 2 show that episodic envy is best viewed as
a complex emotion, composed of a feeling component and a comparison
component. These results were replicated using two envy-elicitation
methods and across two different samples, thus supporting their robust-
ness. The results of Study 2 further demonstrate that episodic envy is
2146 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
Table 2
Correlations Among Construct Validation Variables: Study 2
MSD 1 234 567
1. Episodic envy: Feeling 3.81 1.90 (.87)
2. Episodic envy: Comparison 5.86 1.83 .38*** (.72)
3. Admiration 5.19 1.93 -.12 .36*** (.96)
4. Competition with other (after event) 5.08 2.66 .48*** .09 -.18 (.91)
5. Objective unfairness 4.41 2.36 .42*** .08 -.20 .36** (.82)
6. Subjective unfairness 2.45 1.62 .26** .05 -.08 .41*** .41*** (.85)
7. Social desirability 20.01 2.80 -.14 -.01 .03 -.20 -.04 .04 (.66)
Note. n =72. Statistics on the diagonal are alpha coefficients.
**p<.01. ***p<.001.
EPISODIC ENVY 2147
Table 3
Fit Indexes Obtained in Discriminant Validity Analyses
Validation variable Model c2df Dc2Ddf CFI RMSEA
Study 2 (n=71)
Envy and objective injustice 3-factor 55.57 49 ——.98 .04
Feeling component and objective injustice combined +comparison component 2-factor 113.83*** 51 58.26*** 2 .86 .13
Comparison component and objective injustice combined +feeling component 2-factor 126.98*** 51 71.41*** 2 .88 .15
Envy and objective injustice 1-factor 176.65*** 53 121.08*** 4 .78 .18
Envy and subjective injustice 3-factor 124.03*** 85 ——.92 .08
Feeling component and subjective injustice combined +comparison component 2-factor 334.47*** 87 210.44*** 2 .70 .20
Comparison component and subjective injustice combined +feeling component 2-factor 193.45*** 87 69.42*** 2 .84 .13
Envy and subjective injustice 1-factor 392.84*** 89 268.81*** 4 .63 .22
Envy and competition 3-factor 49.98 49 ——.99 .02
Feeling component and competition combined +comparison component 2-factor 176.65*** 51 126.67*** 2 .82 .19
Comparison component and competition combined +feeling component 2-factor 118.83*** 51 68.85*** 2 .91 .14
Envy and competition 1-factor 237.61*** 53 187.63*** 4 .74 .22
Envy and admiration 3-factor 291.55*** 184 ——.93 .09
Feeling component and admiration combined +comparison component 2-factor 521.21*** 206 229.66*** 22 .87 .15
Comparison component and admiration combined +feeling component 2-factor 365.67*** 206 74.12*** 22 .92 .10
Envy and admiration 1-factor 595.19*** 208 303.64*** 24 .86 .16
Study 3 (n=200)
Envy and objective injustice 3-factor 128.76*** 49 ——.94 .09
Feeling component and objective injustice combined +comparison component 2-factor 274.16*** 51 145.40*** 2 .85 .15
Comparison component and objective injustice combined +feeling component 2-factor 238.89*** 51 110.13*** 2 .89 .14
Envy and objective injustice 1-factor 373.59*** 53 244.83*** 4 .80 .18
2148 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
Envy and subjective injustice 3-factor 270.20*** 85 ——.93 .10
Feeling component and subjective injustice combined +comparison component 2-factor 635.43*** 87 365.23*** 2 .83 .18
Comparison component and subjective injustice combined +feeling component 2-factor 353.99*** 87 83.79*** 2 .90 .12
Envy and subjective injustice 1-factor 697.93*** 89 427.23*** 4 .80 .19
Envy and competition 3-factor 97.68*** 49 ——.96 .07
Feeling component and competition combined +comparison component 2-factor 393.22*** 51 295.54*** 2 .74 .19
Comparison component and competition combined +feeling component 2-factor 203.20*** 51 105.52*** 2 .89 .12
Envy and competition 1-factor 483.24*** 53 385.65*** 4 .69 .20
Envy and admiration 3-factor 516.70*** 184 ——.94 .09
Feeling component and admiration combined +comparison component 2-factor 1004.65*** 206 487.95*** 22 .90 .14
Comparison component and admiration combined +feeling component 2-factor 688.87*** 206 172.17*** 22 .93 .11
Envy and admiration 1-factor 1168.52*** 208 651.82*** 24 .88 .15
Envy and emotional reactions (Study 3)
Envy (feeling) and anxiety 2-factor 160.10*** 88 ——.97 .06
1-factor 541.42*** 89 381.32*** 1 .86 .16
Envy (feeling) and depression 2-factor 500.21*** 187 ——.95 .09
1-factor 859.04*** 188 358.83*** 1 .91 .13
Envy (feeling) and hostility 2-factor 475.63*** 133 ——.95 .11
1-factor 657.68*** 134 182.05*** 1 .93 .14
Envy (feeling) and negative mood 2-factor 182.60*** 52 ——.93 .11
1-factor 710.37*** 53 527.77*** 1 .78 .25
Note. Boldface models are the hypothesized models. The competing models are compared to them. CFI =comparative fit index; RMSEA =root mean square error of
approximation.
**p<.01. ***p<.001.
EPISODIC ENVY 2149
different from unfairness, competition, and admiration; thus supporting the
discriminant validity of episodic envy vis-à-vis these constructs.
Until now, I have described the development, validation, cross-validation,
and discriminant validation of the episodic envy scale. In Study 3, I will
examine the importance of episodic envy in predicting organizationally rel-
evant outcomes.
Study 3
Study 3 was designed to achieve three purposes: (a) to replicate the
discriminant validity results from Study 2, using a different and larger sample
and a different envy-elicitation method; (b) to examine the implications of
episodic envy by showing how episodic envy affects people; and (c) to
examine the predictive validity of episodic envy above and beyond that of
dispositional envy. This investigation is also conducted in the organizational
context.
Reactions to Episodic Envy at Work
The main motivation of the envious person is to reduce the gap between
himself or herself and the envied person, by equalizing the positions of the
self and the envied (Heider, 1958). Two ways to equalize these positions are
by (a) “improving” the self (i.e., getting what the other has); or (b) “failing”
the other (i.e., depriving the other of what he or she has or of his or her
superiority; Ben-Ze’ev, 1990; Heider, 1958). Thus, envy could have both
constructive and destructive implications.
I classify reactions to envy according to their focus and type. In terms of
focus, reactions can be directed at oneself or at the envied person. Reactions
can also be focused on individuals not directly involved in the envy situation
(e.g., the work group). In terms of type, reaction to envy can be classified as
emotional, behavioral, and cognitive (e.g., reducing the relevance of the
comparison, changing the perception of the other). In this study, I examine
emotional and behavioral reactions to envy, both self- and other-directed.
Self-Directed Reactions
Self-directed reactions to envy are those in which the self is the focus. I
examine the affective reactions of depression, anxiety, and negative mood. I
also examine the behavioral reactions intended to reduce the gap between the
self and the comparison other by improving the position of the self.
2150 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
Affective reactions. Depression is often correlated with envy (Salovey &
Rodin, 1984; Schalin, 1979; Smith et al., 1994) and can develop in three
situations: (1) when the envious person feels inferior to the other (Smith,
1991) and chronically focuses on that inferiority (Smith & Kim, 2007); (2)
when the envious person does not have any hope of changing the situation
and achieving what is desired (Lazarus, 1991; Schalin, 1979); and (3) when
the person repeatedly experiences envy in a specific life domain (Salovey &
Rodin, 1988). Anxiety is another emotional correlate of envy (Salovey &
Rodin, 1984).
Depression and anxiety may hurt performance, relations with others,
ability to concentrate, and motivation to work (e.g., Verbeke & Bagozzi,
2000). Hence, to the extent that a person enters states of depression
and anxiety as a result of episodic envy, his or her work effectiveness
might suffer. Past research has also found a high positive correlation
between negative mood and envy (Salovey & Rodin, 1984, 1988; Smith
et al., 1996). Negative mood has also been shown to relate to cognitive
processes affecting decision making and behavior (e.g., Bachrach & Jex,
2000; Beukeboom & Semin, 2005; Bower, 1981; Yuen & Lee, 2003). Thus,
the relationship between envy and mood is important in the organizational
context.
Improving the position of the self. Probably the most positive outcome of
envy is the possibility of reducing the gap between the envious and the envied
by the envious elevating themselves to the higher level of the envied (Heider,
1958; Tangney & Salovey, 1999; Tesser, 1991). People can do this by improv-
ing their work performance and work relationships with other people in the
organization. Indeed, Schaubroeck and Lam (2004) found that higher levels
of envy led to improved job performance, as rated by supervisors. Vecchio
(1995) also recognized the possibility of improving the relationship with the
envied in the hope of gaining future rewards. Based on the this, I hypothesize
the following:
Hypothesis 3a. Greater levels of envy will be positively related to
anxiety.
Hypothesis 3b. Greater levels of envy will be positively related to
depression.
Hypothesis 3c. Greater levels of envy will be positively related to
negative mood.
Hypothesis 3d. Greater levels of envy will be positively related
to behaviors designed to improve one’s position in the
organization.
EPISODIC ENVY 2151
Other-Directed Reactions
Hostility. Hostility is one of the most salient emotional correlates of envy
and has even been viewed by some as a component of envy (e.g., Miceli &
Castelfranchi, 2007; Parrott & Smith, 1993; Smith & Kim, 2007; van Dijk
et al., 2006). In fact, hostility and its behavioral manifestation (i.e., aggres-
sion) are the hallmarks of envy (e.g., Salovey, 1991; Silver & Sabini, 1978a),
when the envious person tries to deprive the envied of his or her envy-
provoking advantage, even at the expense of the self.
However, whether hostility is a part of envy or a close correlate of it is still
an open question theoretically and empirically. Some researchers (e.g., van
Dijk et al., 2006) have measured hostility and envy as two separate con-
structs, while other researchers (e.g., Hareli & Weiner, 2002) have measured
envy without a hostility component, and still others (e.g., Smith et al., 1996)
have measured hostility as a part of the envy construct. Moreover, there are
several kinds of hostility (Buss & Durkee, 1957), and it is unclear which one
of them should be measured as a part of envy (although Buss & Durkee
identified one type of hostility called resentment, which refers to dispositional
envy and anger with the world).
Finally, although both envy and hostility belong to the anger family of
emotions (Shaver, Schwartz, Kirson, & O’Connor, 1987), they are still con-
sidered separate emotions. Thus, whereas envy is a hostile emotion, envy,
even in its feeling component, is substantially different from hostility proper.
Aggression. Aggression has been recognized as a reaction to envy
(Schoeck, 1969) and has become an increasingly important concern to orga-
nizational researchers (e.g., Spector, 1997). In Study 3, I examined interper-
sonal and relatively passive forms of workplace aggression, specifically
targeted at the other (e.g., Neuman & Baron, 1997). These behaviors include
harming the other’s reputation (e.g., by spreading false rumors about the
other), and harming the other’s performance (e.g., by failing to provide the
other with needed information and help).
Vecchio (1995) mentioned behaviors such as harassing the rival, back-
stabbing the rival to a supervisor, spreading malicious gossip, and
providing misinformation and disinformation about the rival as specific
outcomes of envy at work. These acts of aggression may help in restoring
the person’s wounded self-esteem and diminish the relative status of the
other (Salovey & Rothman, 1991). In fact, Cohen-Charash and Mueller
(2007) found that individuals high in self-esteem react most strongly and
negatively to envy, when they perceive the situation to be unfair. Harming
behaviors, in turn, can lead to tense work relations and to a cycle of attacks
and counterattacks between the envious and the envied. These harming
behaviors can lead to a negative work atmosphere (e.g., by giving the target
2152 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
the “silent treatment”; Silver & Sabini, 1978a). Based on this discussion, I
propose the following:
Hypothesis 4a. Higher levels of episodic envy will be related to
higher levels of hostility toward others.
Hypothesis 4b. Higher levels of episodic envy will be related to
higher levels of aggression toward others.
Hypothesis 4c. Higher levels of episodic envy will be related to
a negative atmosphere in the work group.
Predictive Validity of Episodic Envy
In addition to demonstrating the importance of episodic envy to organi-
zations by showing its relations to behavioral and emotional reactions, it is
also important to demonstrate the added value of studying episodic envy.
Therefore, I will also examine if episodic envy predicts outcome variables
above and beyond dispositional envy.
Method
Participants
Participants were 200 employed individuals (111 males, 88 females, 1 did
not indicate gender) who were taking courses in a large eastern university,
participating for course credit. Participants’ mean age was 21.0 years
(SD =4.1). While 13.5% of participants were employed in full-time positions,
82.9% were employed in part-time and temporary positions, and 3.5% were
not employed. Employment status did not affect the correlations between the
substantive variables.
Envy Stimulus and Measures
The envy stimulus was identical to the one used in Study 2, asking par-
ticipants to recall an incident of workplace envy that they had experienced.
Episodic envy and social desirability were measured with the same measures
as those described in Studies 1 and 2.
Behavioral outcome variables. Behavioral outcomes—actions people take
in response to episodic envy—were measured using 36 items. Some items
EPISODIC ENVY 2153
were based on or were adapted from Fox and Spector (1999).9Other items
were generated specifically for the present study, based on the same sources
used for the episodic envy measure construction in the scale development
phase.
Participants were asked to rate each item on the extent to which it accu-
rately represents actions they actually took toward the envied person on a
5-point scale ranging from 1 (highly unlikely)to5(highly likely). Using an
exploratory factor analysis with oblimin rotation, the items converged into
four behavioral categories: (1) harm the other’s reputation and performance
(interpersonal counterproductive work behaviors; Cohen-Charash &
Mueller, 2007; 12 items, a=.90; sample items are “provide incorrect infor-
mation to mislead X,” “slow down all correspondence to X,” and “talk to
others about the bad nature of X”); (2) have positive work relations with the
other (8 items, a=.90; sample items are “share information with X,” “give X
good advice,” and “trust X”); (3) improve self-position (4 items, a=.55;
items are “work harder to improve my performance,” “build new alliances at
work,” “try to win the support of other people at work,” and “try to learn
from X”); and (4) create negative work environment (12 items, a=.84;
sample items are “distance myself from X’s friends at work,” “complain to
my supervisor about X’s advantage over me,” and “blame X for errors that
I made”).
Emotional reactions. All emotional reactions were measured using the
Profile of Mood States (POMS; McNair, Lorr, & Droppleman, 1992). Par-
ticipants rated the items on a 5-point scale ranging from 0 (not at all)to4
(extremely). The items pertain to the participant’s “feelings whenever think-
ing of the envied person when the envy was at its peak.” Participants were
instructed to “keep in mind the specific comparison that caused your envy.”
Anxiety was measured using the POMS Tension–Anxiety factor (a=.82),
which is composed of nine adjectives (e.g., tense,shaky). Depression was
measured using the POMS Depression–Dejection factor (a=.92), which is
composed of 15 adjectives (e.g., unhappy,sorry). Hostility was measured
using the POMS Anger–Hostility factor (a=.93), which is composed of 12
adjectives (e.g., angry,peeved). Overall mood disturbance was measured
using the POMS Total Mood Disturbance score, which is a combination of
the scores of all six POMS subscales (i.e., anxiety, depression, hostility, vigor,
fatigue, confusion) and is composed of 65 items (a=.96).
Dispositional envy. Two existing measures of dispositional envy were
used to examine the incremental validity of the new measure of episodic envy.
9These items are “withheld work-related information from X”; “interfered with X’s perfor-
mance”; “started or continued a damaging or harmful rumor concerning X”; “blamed X for
errors that I made”; “started an argument with X”; and “was nasty to X.”
2154 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
Chronic workplace envy was measured with Vecchio’s (1995) five-item
Workplace Envy scale (a=.69). A sample item is “Most of my coworkers
have it better than I do.” Dispositional envy was measured with Smith et al.’s
(1999) eight-item Dispositional Envy scale (a=.88). A sample item is “I feel
envy every day.” In completing these measures, participants rated each item
on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree)to5(strongly agree).
Results
Discriminant Validity of Episodic Envy
Prior to examining the validation hypotheses, the relationships between
envy and the control and background variables were examined for possible
covariates. In this sample, social desirability was significantly related to envy
(rs ranged from -.30 to -.32, p<.001) and to subjective unfairness (r=-.23,
p<.001). No other background variable was significantly correlated with any
of the variables. Therefore, in the subsequent analyses, social desirability was
controlled for in these variables.10
The CFAs conducted were identical to those conducted in Study 2. The
results of these analyses (Table 3) show that the three-factor models were
always better than were the competing models, with the one-factor model
being the worst. Thus, support of Hypotheses 2a, 2b, and 2c was replicated in
Study 3, using a different sample than in Study 2.
Emotional Reactions to Envy
It is possible to claim that the conceptual distance between the feeling
component of envy and the emotional reactions to envy is small, hence
jeopardizing the discriminant validity of the feeling component of envy.
Therefore, prior to hypothesis testing, it was important to demonstrate the
discriminant validity of the feeling component of envy. This was done using
CFAs, comparing the fit indexes of nested models, as was done previously
when examining the discriminant validity of the episodic envy measure.
The results in Table 3 show that for each analysis, the two-factor model
(in which the feeling component of envy and the other variables loaded on
separate factors) provided a significantly better solution than did the one-
factor model (in which the feeling component of envy and the other variable
10Specifically, the data used in CFA to represent envy and subjective unfairness were stan-
dardized residuals data in which social desirability has been controlled.
EPISODIC ENVY 2155
loaded on the same latent factor). Thus, these results support the discrimi-
nant validity of the feeling component of envy vis-à-vis anxiety, depression,
negative mood, and hostility.
Hypothesis Testing
An examination of the zero-order correlations between the variables of
interest shows that most variables were highly correlated with social desir-
ability (rs ranged from -.01 to -.37). Moreover, in some cases, controlling for
social desirability influenced the results. Therefore, the hypotheses were
examined using partial correlations, partialling out social desirability. Partial
correlations are presented in Table 4.
Self-directed reactions to episodic envy. Hypotheses 3a, 3b, 3c, and 3d
predicted that higher levels of envy would be related to higher levels of
depression, anxiety, negative mood, and improving one’s position in the
organization, respectively. As shown in Table 4, the stronger the feeling
component of envy, the stronger the anxiety, depression, and mood distur-
bance (partial rs ranged from .33 to .40). Whereas these emotions were also
related to the comparison component of envy, these relationships, with the
exception of depression, were significantly lower than they were with the
feeling component. Specifically, wanting to have what the other person has,
by itself, was related to higher anxiety, depression, and mood disturbance
(partial rs ranged from .21 to .34), but the correlations with anxiety and
mood disturbance were significantly lower than were those with the feeling
component, t(190) =2.01, p<.05; and t(187) =2.37, p<.05, respectively.
Table 4 also shows the partial correlations with the total envy score (see
Footnote 8). As can be seen, these results also support the hypotheses (rs
range from .39 to .44, p<.001). Thus, Hypotheses 3a, 3b, and 3c were
supported.
As can be seen in Table 4, there was no relationship between the feeling
component of envy and individuals’ attempts to improve their position in the
organization (r=.09, ns). However, the comparison component of episodic
envy was positively correlated with attempts to improve one’s position in the
organization (r=.22, p<.001), as was the total score of episodic envy
(r=.19, p<.01). At the same time, there was a negative relationship between
the feeling component of envy and having positive relations with the other
(r=-.38, p<.001), and no relationship between the comparison component
of envy and having positive relations with the other (r=.03, ns). The pattern
of results using the envy total score was similar to the results using the feeling
component of envy (r=-.25, p<.001). Moreover, the relationship between
improving self-position and having positive relations with the envied other
2156 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
Table 4
Partial Correlations Between Episodic Envy and Emotional and Behavioral Reactions: Study 3
MSD 12345678910111213
1. Envy feeling
component
4.52 1.89 (.86)
2. Envy comparison
component
5.24 1.81 .32*** (.65)
3. Envy–total 9.42 3.08 .84*** .76*** (.79)
4. Anxiety 1.33 0.77 .37*** .21*** .39*** (.82)
5. Depression 0.94 0.80 .33*** .34*** .44*** .74*** (.92)
6. Hostility 1.61 1.05 .62*** .10 .49*** .61*** .61*** (.93)
7. Mood
disturbance
4.92 3.76 .47*** .29*** .43*** .84*** .86*** .79*** (.96)
8. Harm X 1.74 0.89 .43*** .07 .35*** .36*** .36*** .54*** .44*** (.90)
9. Have positive
relations with X
2.30 1.02 -.38*** .03 -.25*** -.00 .09 -.32*** -.10 -.25*** (.90)
10. Improve position
of self
2.81 0.93 .09 .22*** .19** .23*** .23*** .12 .20** .24*** .16* (.55)
11. Create negative
work atmosphere
1.85 0.73 .53*** .12 .44*** .41*** .40*** .63*** .50*** .79*** -.25*** .25*** (.84)
12. Workplace envy 2.35 0.78 .16*** .27*** .27*** .24*** .31*** .13 .22*** .13 .09 .13 .24*** (.69)
13. Dispositional envy 1.95 0.84 .24*** .30*** .34*** .37*** .46*** .25*** .36*** .29*** .12 .32*** .40*** .57*** (.88)
Note. n =192.
*p<.05. **p<.01. ***p<.001.
EPISODIC ENVY 2157
was significant, but weak (r=.16, p<.05). This means that participants did
not perceive having positive relations with the envied other as a way to
improve their position in the organization and that when individuals feel
strong negative emotions toward the other, they do not want relationships
with them. Thus, Hypothesis 3d was supported for the comparison compo-
nent of envy and for the envy total score, but was not supported for the
feeling component of envy or for creating positive relations with the envied
other.
Other-directed reactions to episodic envy. According to Hypotheses 4a,
4b, and 4c, episodic envy is positively related to hostility, aggression toward
the other, and a negative group atmosphere. As can be seen in Table 4,
hostility had a strong relationship with the feeling component (r=.62,
p<.001) and with the total score (r=.49, p<.001), but not with the com-
parison component of episodic envy (r=.10, ns). The feeling component of
episodic envy was strongly correlated with behaviors that harm the reputa-
tion and performance of the other (r=.43, p<.001). This was also the case
with the total envy score (r=.35, p<.001).
The comparison component of envy, however, was not related to harming
the other (r=.07, ns). Moreover, according to Table 4, the feeling component
of episodic envy and the total score were positively related to negative work
atmosphere (rs=.53 and .44, respectively, ps<.001), but the comparison
component was not related to work atmosphere (r=.12, ns). Thus, Hypoth-
eses 4a, 4b, and 4c were supported for the feeling component of envy and for
the total envy score, but not for the comparison component of envy.11
11To ensure that these results are not limited to a particular sample or envy-elicitation
method, and because of the low reliability of the measure of behaviors intended to improve the
position of the self, I re-examined the hypotheses in a fourth study, using a different sample and
research method. Study participants were 79 individuals from various industries, organizations,
and geographic regions in the United States with characteristics similar to those of the partici-
pants in Studies 1 and 2. These participants were also recruited in a manner identical to that
described in Studies 1 and 2. To elicit envy, a vignette was created representing one of the two
most common contexts of envy-provoking incidents at work: the distribution of a tangible
reward allocated by an organizational source (Miner, 1990); in this case, promotion. The
vignette was based on one of the interviews that was conducted as part of the pilot study
described earlier. It described a situation in which after two good friends had been working
together for a while, one of them was promoted, while the other was not. The vignette treated the
participant as a party in the envy-arousing situation described and asked the participant to be
aware of his or her emotions and reactions to the incident described in the vignette. Participants
then completed the questions referring to the variables of interest. The measures used in this
study were identical to those used in Study 3, and the study controlled for social desirability.
Moreover, internal consistency of the score of behaviors intended to improve the self was not
high (a=.69), but much better than in the sample used in Study 3. Results show that, as in Study
3, the feeling component of envy was related to anxiety (r=.44), depression (r=.52), negative
mood (r=.54), and hostility (r=.59, all ps<.001), and to behaviors intended to harm the other
(r=.35, p<.01); but not to behaviors intended to improve the self (r=.00, ns). The comparison
component of envy was significantly less related to depression (r=.36, p<.01), t(78) =2.84,
2158 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
Incremental Validity of Episodic Envy
As can be seen in Table 4, the relationship between the components of
episodic envy and the dispositional measures of envy was, as expected, sig-
nificant, but not very strong, with correlations ranging from .16 ( p<.001) to
.30 ( p<.001), depending on the dispositional envy measure. Correlations
with the overall envy score were .27 with Vecchio’s (1995) Workplace Envy
scale and .30 with Smith et al.’s (1999) Dispositional Envy scale (both
ps<.001).
To examine if episodic envy can predict reactions to envy above and
beyond dispositional envy, I conducted hierarchical regression analyses. In
all analyses, social desirability was controlled in the first step, both disposi-
tional envy measures were entered in the second step, and the feeling com-
ponent of episodic envy was entered in the third step (with the exception of
predicting behaviors intended to improve one’s position in the organization,
which was predicted by the comparison component of envy). Table 5 shows
that in all cases, the feeling component (or comparison component, where
applicable) of episodic envy predicted the emotional and behavioral criteria
above and beyond the predictions made by the dispositional envy variables,
with DR2being significant after including episodic envy in the equation.12
The results of Study 3 reveal that episodic envy, through its feeling com-
ponent, was related to hostility and to aggression toward the envied, defined
in this study as harming the reputation and the performance of the other.
Episodic envy, through its feeling component, was also related to a negative
work atmosphere within the work unit. Episodic envy, through its compari-
son component, was related to behaviors designed to improve the employee’s
position in the organization. Finally, episodic envy was shown to predict
emotional and behavioral reactions to envy, above and beyond dispositional
envy, showing the importance of studying episodic envy in addition to study-
ing dispositional envy. This is in line with previous research (Smith et al.,
p<.01; and, as in Study 3, it was significantly less related to hostility (r=.25, p<.05),
t(78) =4.14, p<.001, and to negative mood (r=.27, p<.01), t(78) =3.12, p<.001, generally
replicating the results of Study 3 (except for the results on depression). The comparison com-
ponent was less so, but was not significantly related to anxiety (r=.36, p<.001) or to behaviors
intended to harm the other (r=.24, p<.05). As in Study 3, the comparison component was
related to behaviors intended to improve the position of the self (r=.32, p<.01), whereas the
feeling component was not related to these behaviors (r=.00, ns), t(78) =3.41, p<.001. Finally,
similar to the results of Study 3, the feeling component was positively related to creating a
negative work atmosphere (r=.36, p<.001), whereas the comparison component was not
related to this variable (r=.15, ns). Thus, the results of Study 3 were replicated using a different
sample and a different envy-elicitation method.
12The same hierarchical regressions were also conducted using the total envy score. Again, in
all cases, the total episodic envy score predicted the dependent variables above and beyond the
dispositional envy score. The results are available upon request from the author.
EPISODIC ENVY 2159
Table 5
Hierarchical Regression Analyses Predicting Reactions to Envy: Comparison
Between Episodic Envy and Dispositional Envy as Predictors
Step and predictor R2DR2df Fchange
DV: Anxiety
1. Social desirability .10 191 20.98***
2. Dispositional envy and workplace envy .23 .13 189 15.74***
3. Episodic envy: feeling component .31 .08 188 20.79***
DV: Depression
1. Social desirability .08 190 15.45***
2. Dispositional envy and workplace envy .27 .20 188 25.41***
3. Episodic envy: feeling component .32 .05 187 13.37***
DV: Hostility
1. Social desirability .10 191 20.82***
2. Dispositional envy and workplace envy .16 .06 189 6.29***
3. Episodic envy: feeling component .45 .30 188 103.32***
DV: Mood disturbance
1. Social desirability .13 188 27.70***
2. Dispositional envy and workplace envy .24 .11 186 14.12***
3. Episodic envy: feeling component .38 .13 185 39.59***
DV: Hurt the other’s performance and reputation
1. Social desirability .06 188 12.01***
2. Dispositional envy and workplace envy .14 186 8.62***
3. Episodic envy: feeling component .27 .13 185 33.25***
DV: Have positive work relations with the other
1. Social desirability .01 188 2.55
2. Dispositional envy and workplace envy .03 .02 186 1.44
3. Episodic envy: feeling component .21 .18 185 41.79***
DV: Improve one’s position in the organization
1. Social desirability .00 188 <1
2. Dispositional envy and workplace envy .11 .11 186 11.08***
3. Episodic envy: comparison component .13 .02 185 4.07*
DV: Create negative work atmosphere
1. Social desirability .04 188 8.13**
2. Dispositional envy and workplace envy .19 .15 186 17.62***
3. Episodic envy: feeling component .38 .19 185 57.15***
*p<.05. **p<.01. ***p<.001.
2160 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
1996) showing that episodic envy, but not depositional envy, caused schaden-
freude (i.e., being happy about another’s bad fortune and misery).
These results are particularly intriguing for two major reasons. First, the
results show that the two factors composing episodic envy differently relate
to other variables of interest. This further highlights the complexity of epi-
sodic envy. Second, these results show that under some circumstances, epi-
sodic envy has the potential to lead to constructive reactions (e.g., working
harder), in addition to its hostile and aggressive potential that is currently
highly emphasized in the literature (Smith & Kim, 2007).
General Discussion
The present studies examined episodic envy—that is, envy resulting from
a specific negative social comparison. The studies showed that (a) episodic
envy is a complex emotion composed of two components (a feeling compo-
nent and a comparison component); (b) these two components relate differ-
ently to behavioral and emotional correlates of envy—specifically, the feeling
component is related to negatively experienced emotional reactions and to
behavioral reactions intended to harm the other person, and the comparison
component mainly relates to reactions intended to improve the position of
the person in the organization constructively; (c) episodic envy can lead to
mixed outcomes, mainly destructive, but also potentially constructive; (d)
episodic envy is related to, yet different from perceived unfairness, admira-
tion, competition, anxiety, depression, hostility, and negative mood; and (e)
episodic envy predicts reactions to envy above and beyond dispositional
envy. Thus, the results of the present studies are revealing and have many
implications.
Construct of Episodic Envy
Envy has been hypothesized previously to be multifaceted (Miceli &
Castelfranchi, 2007; Smith et al., 1999), but these studies are the first to
provide support for this claim in relation to episodic envy. Although not
hypothesized, the findings of Study 3 (and its replication) show that the two
factors of episodic envy are differently related to hypothesized outcome
variables of episodic envy. These findings indicate that the complexity of
episodic envy goes beyond the construct itself (as shown in Studies 1 and 2)
and is also meaningful when examining the relations of envy with other
variables. That is, experiencing hostile emotions toward the other is related to
criterion variables differently than wanting to have what the other has.
EPISODIC ENVY 2161
Whereas the former predicts mainly other negative affective states and
behaviors intended to harm the other, the latter predicts mainly behaviors
intended to improve one’s position in the organization. These results also
mean that the complexity of envy must be reflected in its measurement.
Measures that use a single item or measures that do not reflect the complexity
of envy might lead to biased results. Thus, future research examining episodic
envy would ideally use appropriate measures, to get a better understanding of
episodic envy.
Although the current findings do not explain why differential relation-
ships between the components of envy and the outcome variables occur, these
findings might be explained based on current theory on aggression and on
social comparison. Specifically, it is a well-established finding that hostile
emotions lead to aggression (e.g., Berkowitz, 1989). For example, research
has found that hostility leads to retaliation (Barclay, Skarlicki, & Pugh,
2005). Research has also found there are spirals of negative emotions, in
which one negative emotion (e.g., anger) predicts additional negative emo-
tions (e.g., anxiety, depression, hostility; Bridewell & Chang, 1997).
Finally, previous research has found that when individuals engage in
upward social comparisons, they may use these comparisons as inspirations
for improved performance (e.g., Burleson, Leach, & Harrington, 2005; Lock-
wood & Kunda, 1997; Smith, 2000). Thus, the findings that the feeling
component of envy predicts other negative emotions, hostility, and aggres-
sive behaviors and the findings that the comparison component is related to
behaviors intended to improve the self are in line with existing literature. Of
course, these differential relations and the reasons for them must be studied
further.
Episodic Envy, Dispositional Envy, and Other Constructs
At the outset of this article, I provided the theoretical rationale for the
study of episodic envy, in addition to dispositional envy. I claimed that (a)
episodic envy can be experienced by any individual, regardless of his or her
dispositional tendencies to experience envy; and (b) dispositionally envious
individuals are different from those who occasionally experience episodic
envy. Specifically, dispositionally envious individuals have a chronic sense of
inferiority and chronic feelings of ill will toward those who are better off
(Smith et al., 1999), while individuals who experience episodic envy are not
characterized by these qualities, but rather are reacting to specific situations
in which another has something that the person wants for himself or herself.
The results of the current studies highlight additional differences between
episodic and dispositional envy. Specifically, while dispositional envy is a
2162 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
unidimensional construct (Gold, 1996; Smith et al., 1999), episodic envy is a
two-factor construct. That is, episodic envy is more complex than is dispo-
sitional envy. Moreover, the outcomes of dispositional envy are generally
undesirable (Gold, 1996; Smith et al., 1999), although some authors have
recognized that envy may lead to desirable reactions when it inspires indi-
viduals to excel (Gold, 1996; Miceli & Castelfranchi, 2007). The findings of
this study show that episodic envy can lead to desirable reactions (see
Schaubroeck & Lam, 2004).
Finally, the findings that episodic envy predicts possible outcomes above
and beyond dispositional envy are particularly impressive, given that dispo-
sitional envy has been shown to be related to many of the emotional reactions
to envy, such as depression, hostility (Gold, 1996; Smith et al., 1999), and
anxiety (Gold, 1996), and to reduced cooperation (Parks, Rumble, & Posey,
2002), which might serve as a proxy for hostility and aggression toward the
envied person. That being said, to understand envy best in organizations, it is
important to study both dispositional envy and episodic envy.
In addition to differentiating episodic envy from dispositional envy, the
studies reported here also show that episodic envy is different from possibly
competing constructs, such as subjective and objective unfairness, competi-
tion, admiration, hostility, anxiety, and depression. Hence, episodic envy is
an important construct to study in the organizational context. However,
because all of these constructs are important in the organizational context,
future studies of the exact relationships among these variables are important
for understanding organizational processes. In fact, the current results show
interesting and varying relationships between these variables and the com-
ponents of episodic envy (see Table 2). For example, perceived unfairness
and competitive feelings are related to the feeling component of episodic envy
and not to the comparison component; while the opposite pattern of out-
comes is found for admiration. While beyond the scope of the present inves-
tigation, these differences are interesting enough to elicit further
investigations and theoretical refinement.
How Does Episodic Envy Affect Individuals in Organizations?
Self-Directed Reactions to Envy
Envy was found to be related to other negative emotional states charac-
terized by anxiety, depression, and negative mood. Thus, although episodic
envy is a reaction to the specific good fortune of a specific other, it can turn
into a more generalized, higher-order negative emotional state in the envious
person. Envy may reverberate within the individual, negatively influencing
EPISODIC ENVY 2163
his or her overall emotional condition. The results also show that self-
directed reactions are better predicted by the feeling component of envy than
by the comparison component of envy. This means that, by itself, experienc-
ing a negative social comparison and wanting to have what the other person
has is not sufficient to lead to negative emotional reactions. Negative feelings
must accompany this wish for it to lead to the negative consequences of
episodic envy.
Study 3 and its replication support previous theory and findings that
episodic envy might have constructive implications (Heider, 1958; Miceli &
Castelfranchi, 2007; Parrott, 1991; Salovey & Rodin, 1988; Schaubroeck &
Lam, 2004). Future research should examine under which conditions indi-
viduals react constructively or destructively to envy. For example, research in
social comparison identified that upward social comparisons can be per-
ceived as inspiring or inferiority-provoking (Burleson et al., 2005), which
then affects individuals’ self-concept as inferior or capable. Such self-
concepts, in turn, may affect reactions to upward social comparisons, includ-
ing those that provoke envy. Similarly, Lockwood and Kunda (1997)
discussed upward comparisons as leading to inspiration process (different
from Tesser’s, 1988, comparison process) when individuals perceive that the
desired state is attainable.
Other researchers have emphasized the importance of perceived control
(which is determined by the perceived changeability of the situation and one’s
perceived ability to actually change the situation) on determining reactions to
negative social comparisons (Major, Testa, & Bylsma, 1991). Whereas the
perceived changeability of the situation can be determined by situational
factors specific to the particular case, perceived ability to change the situation
might be influenced by dispositional variables, such as self-efficacy (e.g.,
Judge, Jackson, Shaw, Scott, & Rich, 2007), self-esteem (e.g., Di Paula &
Campbell, 2002), regulatory focus (Lockwood, Jordan, & Kunda, 2002), and
maybe even dispositional envy (which includes an inherent sense of inferior-
ity; Smith et al., 1999). Moreover, if the comparison component indeed leads
to constructive reactions to envy, it is important to know what conditions
lead to it, so organizations might be able to emphasize these conditions, and
individuals might focus on this aspect of their envy to the betterment of all
parties involved in the envious incident.
Other-Directed Reactions to Envy
The results of Study 3 and the replication show that in terms of the envied
person and the work unit, the outcomes of envy are negative. Envious people
react with hostility and aggression toward the envied. These reactions are
2164 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
mainly motivated by the feeling component of envy, and less so by its com-
parison component. Being exposed to negative social comparisons in and of
itself does not necessarily lead to harmful reactions, but the negative feelings
accompanying these comparisons do lead to negative reactions toward the
other. Other-directed reactions may influence not only the envied person, but
also the work unit and the organization. The results show that harming the
envied person’s reputation and performance and experiencing negative emo-
tions toward the self and the other are all related to a negative work atmo-
sphere (see Table 4). Like self-directed emotional reactions—which turn envy
from a focused negative emotion to a higher-order negative state—other-
directed behavioral reactions ripple from their intended target to the entire
work unit.
Overall, the relationships between the negative, hostile feelings of episodic
envy and aggressive reactions toward the envied other have been discussed
and demonstrated before (e.g., Miceli & Castelfranchi, 2007; Smith & Kim,
2007; Smith et al., 1994). Hence, the current findings confirm the theoretical
relationship between hostile feelings and hostile behaviors, as well as other
hurtful emotions (e.g., depression, anxiety, negative mood). Yet, the fact that
the comparison component is not (or is less so) related to hostile feelings and
harming behaviors, and is related to behaviors intended to improve one’s
position in the organization, is an interesting and novel finding, as are the
findings that the effects of episodic envy ripple from the particular dyad to
the workgroup as a whole.
Study Limitations
There are two potential limitations to these studies. The first is that all of
the data were self-reported, potentially leading to common method bias
(Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee, & Podsakoff, 2003). However, the use of self-
reports in these studies is justified by the nature of the variables examined
(Ellsworth, 1995; Spector, 1994). First, envy, an emotion, is an internal state
and currently has no known specific facial expression related to it. Therefore,
any report on envy (and on its emotional outcomes) that does not originate
in the person experiencing it might be invalid. Also, people are ashamed of
many of their reactions to envy. Consequently, these reactions may be dis-
guised as work-necessary or unintentional behaviors, or may be conducted
when there are no witnesses. For example, hiding information, slowing down
correspondence, giving bad advice, and providing misleading information
are often subtle, and many people will not recognize them.
Moreover, because the reactions to envy are focused on the envied person,
they do not represent general behavioral patterns of the person conducting
EPISODIC ENVY 2165
them and can be hidden easily from others, especially when conducted by
otherwise perfectly good employees. Therefore, relying on non-self-report
data in examining the behavioral reactions to envy might not be accurate.
Additionally, steps were taken to overcome this possible self-report limita-
tion by controlling for social desirability when necessary and by making the
questionnaires anonymous (Podsakoff et al., 2003). Finally, the relationships
between the variables varied widely in direction and magnitude, making it
less likely that common method variance influenced the validity of these
results.
The second potential limitation of these studies is that their non-
experimental nature does not allow one to infer causality. However, at this
early stage of this research program, it was important to examine envy where
it happens, in this case, in the workplace, rather than in the laboratory.
Future studies should experimentally examine the relationships between envy
and other variables, so as to establish causal relations. This will also allow for
a more objective measure of behavioral reactions to envy.
Study Contributions
This article makes several contributions. First, the data reported here
show that episodic envy is not only different from dispositional envy, but is
theoretically and practically important. To study this, I constructed a new
measure of episodic envy, and validated and cross-validated its psychometric
properties on samples of employed individuals using two envy-elicitation
methods: a comparison with another peer and a recall of an envious experi-
ence at work. I used a third research method, a vignette, to replicate the
hypotheses testing (see Footnote 11). The measure of episodic envy is found
to be robust, and while these studies were conducted in an organizational
context, the measure itself should be general enough to be used in any other
context. This is, of course, an empirical question.
Another contribution of this article is the confirmation that episodic envy
has two components: negative emotional feelings, and negative comparisons.
This two-component view of episodic envy is in accord with an appraisal
theory perspective, where complex emotions are found to be composed of
both feelings and cognitive appraisals (Lazarus, 1991). Moreover, the studies
show that the two components relate differently to criterion variables. Com-
bined, these findings mean that there could be a potential dynamic involving
these two components that could allow us to understand envy better and cope
with it. This is a fruitful direction for future studies. For example, future
studies should examine how the antecedents of envy relate to the two com-
ponents. To the extent that it is found, for example, that antecedents relate
2166 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
more to the comparison component than to the feeling component, we will be
able to devise means to reduce negative comparisons and, hence eliminate,
the negative outcomes related to them.
Overall, these studies provide us with a better understanding of the epi-
sodic envy construct and its importance in the organizational context. The
findings should lead to additional studies designed to explore episodic envy
further, since episodic envy is a powerful motivator of individuals’ behavior
in organizations.
References
Bachrach, D. G., & Jex, S. M. (2000). Organizational citizenship and mood:
An experimental test of perceived job breadth. Journal of Applied Social
Psychology,30, 641–663.
Bagozzi, R. P. (1983). Issues in the application of covariance structure analy-
sis: A further comment. Journal of Consumer Research,9, 449–450.
Barclay, L. J., Skarlicki, D. P., & Pugh, S. D. (2005). Exploring the role of
emotions in injustice perceptions and retaliation. Journal of Applied Psy-
chology,90, 629–643.
Bedeian, A. G. (1995). Workplace envy. Organizational Dynamics,23, 49–56.
Ben-Ze’ev, A. (1990). Envy and jealousy. Canadian Journal of Philosophy,20,
487–516.
Ben-Ze’ev, A. (1992). Envy and inequality. Journal of Philosophy,89, 551–581.
Ben-Ze’ev, A. (2000). The subtlety of emotions. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Berkowitz, L. (1989). Frustration–aggression hypothesis: Examination and
reformulation. Psychological Bulletin,106, 59–73.
Bers, S. A., & Rodin, J. (1984). Social-comparison jealousy: A developmental
and motivational study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,47,
766–779.
Beukeboom, C. J., & Semin, G. R. (2005). Mood and representations of
behavior: The how and why. Cognition and Emotion,19, 1242–1251.
Bower, G. H. (1981). Mood and memory. American Psychologist,36, 129–
148.
Breckler, S. J. (1990). Applications of covariance structure modeling in psy-
chology: Cause for concern? Psychological Bulletin,107, 260–273.
Bridewell, W. B., & Chang, E. C. (1997). Distinguishing between anxiety,
depression, and hostility: Relations to anger-in, anger-out, and anger
control. Personality and Individual Differences,22, 587–590.
Brigham, N. L., Kelso, K. A., Jackson, M. A., & Smith, R. H. (1997). The
roles of invidious comparisons and deservingness in sympathy and
schadenfreude. Basic and Applied Social Psychology,19, 363–380.
EPISODIC ENVY 2167
Burleson, K., Leach, C. W., & Harrington, D. M. (2005). Upward social
comparison and self-concept: Inspiration and inferiority among art stu-
dents in an advanced programme. British Journal of Social Psychology,
44, 109–123.
Buss, A. H., & Durkee, A. (1957). An inventory for assessing different kinds
of hostility. Journal of Consulting Psychology,21, 343–349.
Cohen-Charash, Y. (2005, July). Envious of or happy for? Emotional reac-
tions to another’s good fortune. Paper presented at the annual meeting of
the International Society for Research on Emotions, Bari, Italy.
Cohen-Charash, Y., & Byrne, Z. S. (2008). Affect and justice: Current knowl-
edge and future directions. In N. M. Ashkanasy & C. L. Cooper (Eds.),
Research companion to emotion in organizations (pp. 360–391). Chelten-
ham, UK: Edward Elgar.
Cohen-Charash, Y., & Mueller, J. S. (2007). Does perceived unfairness exac-
erbate or mitigate interpersonal counterproductive work behaviors
related to envy? Journal of Applied Psychology,92, 666–680.
Cohen-Charash, Y., Scherbaum, C. A., Erez, M., & Bavli, K. (2005, May).
I am so happy for you: Firgun in organizations. Paper presented at the
annual meeting of the Role of Emotions in Organizational Life, Toronto,
Ontario, Canada.
Davidson, R. J., Ekman, P., Frijda, N. H., Goldsmith, H. H., Kagan, J.,
Lazarus, R., et al. (1994). How are emotions distinguished from moods,
temperament, and other related affective constructs? In P. Ekman & R. J.
Davidson (Eds.), Nature of emotion: Fundamental questions (pp. 49–96).
New York: Oxford University Press.
Di Paula, A., & Campbell, J. D. (2002). Self-esteem and persistence in the
face of failure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,83, 711–724.
Dixon, P. N., & Strano, D. A. (1989). The measurement of inferiority: A
review and directions for scale development. Individual Psychology:
Journal of Adlerian Theory, Research and Practice,45, 313–322.
Duffy, M. K., & Shaw, J. D. (2000). The Salieri syndrome: Consequences of
envy in groups. Small Group Research,31, 3–23.
Ellsworth, P. C. (1995). The right way to study emotion. Psychological
Inquiry,6, 213–216.
Feather, N. T., & Sherman, R. (2002). Envy, resentment, schadenfreude, and
sympathy: Reactions to deserved and underserved achievement and sub-
sequent failure. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,28, 953–
961.
Ferguson, T. J., & Stegge, H. (1995). Emotional states and traits in children:
The case of guilt and shame. In J. P. Tangney & K. W. Fischer (Eds.),
Self-conscious emotions: The psychology of shame, guilt, embarrassment,
and pride (pp. 174–197). New York: Guilford.
2168 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
Fornell, C. (1983). Issues in the application of covariance structure analysis:
A comment. Journal of Consumer Research,9, 443–448.
Foster, G. M. (1972). The anatomy of envy: A study in symbolic behavior.
Current Anthropology,13, 165–186.
Fox, S., & Spector, P. E. (1999). A model of work frustration–aggression.
Journal of Organizational Behavior,20, 915–931.
Frijda, N. H. (1994). Emotions require cognitions, even if simple ones. In
P. Ekman & R. J. Davidson (Eds.), The nature of emotion: Fundamental
questions (pp. 197–202). New York: Oxford University Press.
Gold, B. T. (1996). Enviousness and its relationship to maladjustment
and psychopathology. Personality and Individual Differences,21, 311–
321.
Hareli, S., & Weiner, B. (2002). Dislike and envy as antecedents of pleasure
at another’s misfortune. Motivation and Emotion,26, 257–277.
Heider, F. (1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York: John
Wiley & Sons.
Johnson-Laird, P. N., & Oatley, K. (1989). The language of emotions: An
analysis of a semantic field. Cognition and Emotion,3, 81–123.
Judd, C. M., Jessor, R., & Donovan, J. E. (1986). Structural equation models
and personality research. Journal of Personality,54, 149–198.
Judge, T. A., Jackson, C. L., Shaw, J. C., Scott, B. A., & Rich, B. L. (2007).
Self-efficacy and work-related performance: The integral role of indi-
vidual differences. Journal of Applied Psychology,92, 107–127.
Khalil, E. L. (1996). Respect, admiration, aggrandizement: Adam Smith
as economic psychologist. Journal of Economic Psychology,17, 555–
577.
Kohn, A. (1992). No contest: The case against competition (rev. ed.). Boston:
Houghton Mifflin.
Kroonenberg, P. M., & Lewis, C. (1982). Methodological issues in the search
for a factor model: Exploration through confirmation. Journal of Educa-
tional Statistics,7, 69–89.
Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. New York: Oxford University
Press.
Lazarus, R. S., & Cohen-Charash, Y. (2001). Discrete emotions in organiza-
tional life. In R. L. Payne & G. L. Cooper (Eds.), Emotions at work:
Theory, research, and applications for management (pp. 45–81). Chiches-
ter, UK: John Wiley & Sons.
Lieblich, A. (1971). Antecedents of envy reaction. Journal of Personality
Assessment,35, 92–98.
Lockwood, P., Jordan, C. H., & Kunda, Z. (2002). Motivation by positive or
negative role models: Regulatory focus determines who will best inspire
us. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,83, 854–864.
EPISODIC ENVY 2169
Lockwood, P., & Kunda, Z. (1997). Superstars and me: Predicting the impact
of role models on the self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
73, 91–103.
Major, B., Testa, M., & Bylsma, W. H. (1991). Responses to upward and
downward social comparisons: The impact of esteem-relevance and per-
ceived control. In J. Suls & T. A. Wills (Eds.), Social comparison: Con-
temporary theory and research (pp. 237–260). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence
Erlbaum.
McNair, D. M., Lorr, M., & Droppleman, L. F. (1992). POMS manual (rev.
ed.). San Diego, CA: EDITS.
Miceli, M., & Castelfranchi, C. (2007). The envious mind. Cognition and
Emotion,21, 449–479.
Mikula, G., Scherer, K. R., & Athenstaedt, U. (1998). The role of injustice in
the elicitation of differential emotional reactions. Personality and Social
Psychology Bulletin,24, 769–783.
Miner, F. C., Jr. (1990). Jealousy on the job. Personnel Journal,69, 88–95.
Natale, S. M., Campana, C., & Sora, S. A. (1988). How envy affects man-
agement. International Journal of Technology Management,3, 543–556.
Neu, J. (1980). Jealous thoughts. In A. Rorty (Ed.), Explaining emotions
(pp. 425–463). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Neuman, J. H., & Baron, R. A. (1997). Aggression in the workplace. In R. A.
Giacalone & J. Greenberg (Eds.), Antisocial behavior in organizations (pp.
37–67). Thousand Oaks: CA: Sage.
Parks, C. D., Rumble, A. C., & Posey, D. C. (2002). The effects of envy on
reciprocation in a social dilemma. Personality and Social Psychology Bul-
letin,28, 509–520.
Parrott, W. G. (1988). The role of cognition in emotional experience. In
W. J. Baker, L. P. Mos, H. V. Rappard, & H. J. Stam (Eds.), Recent trends
in theoretical psychology (pp. 327–337). New York: Springer-Verlag.
Parrott, W. G. (1991). The emotional experiences of envy and jealousy. In
P. Salovey (Ed.), The psychology of jealousy and envy (pp. 3–30). New
York: Guilford.
Parrott, W. G., & Smith, R. H. (1993). Distinguishing the experiences of envy
and jealousy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,64, 906–920.
Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J.-Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003).
Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the
literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology,88,
879–903.
Rawls, J. (1971). A theory of justice. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.
Reynolds, W. M. (1982). Development of reliable and valid short forms of
the Marlowe–Crowne Social Desirability Scale. Journal of Clinical Psy-
chology,38, 119–125.
2170 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
Rubin, Z. (1970). Measurement of romantic love. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology,16, 265–273.
Salovey, P. (1991). Social comparison processes in envy and jealousy. In
J. Suls & T. A. Wills (Eds.), Social comparison: Contemporary theory
and research (pp. 261–285). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Salovey, P., & Rodin, J. (1984). Some antecedents and consequences of
social-comparison jealousy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
47, 780–792.
Salovey, P., & Rodin, J. (1988). Coping with envy and jealousy. Journal of
Social and Clinical Psychology,7, 15–33.
Salovey, P., & Rothman, A. J. (1991). Envy and jealousy: Self and society. In
P. Salovey (Ed.), The psychology of jealousy and envy (pp. 271–286). New
York: Guilford.
Schalin, L.-J. (1979). On the problem of envy: Social, clinical, and theo-
retical considerations. Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review,2, 133–
158.
Schaubroeck, J., & Lam, S. S. K. (2004). Comparing lots before and after:
Promotion rejectees’ invidious reactions to promotees. Organizational
Behavior and Human Decision Processes,94, 33–47.
Schoeck, H. (1969). Envy: A theory of social behavior (M. Glenny & B. Ross,
Trans.). New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.
Shaver, P., Schwartz, J., Kirson, D., & O’Connor, C. (1987). Emotion knowl-
edge: Further exploration of a prototype approach. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology,52, 1061–1086.
Silver, M., & Sabini, J. (1978a). The perception of envy. Social Psychology,
41, 105–117.
Silver, M., & Sabini, J. (1978b). The social construction of envy. Journal for
the Theory of Social Behavior,8, 313–332.
Smith, R. H. (1991). Envy and the sense of injustice. In P. Salovey (Ed.), The
psychology of jealousy and envy (pp. 79–99). New York: Guilford.
Smith, R. H. (2000). Assimilative and contrastive emotional reactions to
upward and downward social comparisons. In J. Suls & L. Wheeler
(Eds.), Handbook of social comparison: Theory and research (pp. 173–
200). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.
Smith, R. H., & Kim, S. H. (2007). Comprehending envy. Psychological
Bulletin,133, 46–64.
Smith, R. H., Kim, S. H., & Parrott, W. G. (1988). Envy and jealousy:
Semantic problems and experimental distinctions. Personality and Social
Psychology Bulletin,14, 401–409.
Smith, R. H., Parrott, W. G., Diener, E. F., Hoyle, R. H., & Kim, S. H.
(1999). Dispositional envy. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,25,
1007–1020.
EPISODIC ENVY 2171
Smith, R. H., Parrott, W. G., Ozer, D., & Moniz, A. (1994). Subjective
injustice and inferiority as predictors of hostile and depressive feelings in
envy. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,20, 705–711.
Smith, R. H., Turner, T. J., Garonzik, R., Leach, C. W., Urch-Druskat, V.,
& Weston, C. M. (1996). Envy and schadenfreude. Personality and Social
Psychology Bulletin,22, 158–168.
Smith, R. H., Webster, J. M., Parrott, W. G., & Eyre, H. L. (2002). The role
of public exposure in moral and nonmoral shame and guilt. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology,83, 138–159.
Spector, P. E. (1994). Using self-report questionnaires in OB research: A
comment on the use of a controversial method. Journal of Organizational
Behavior,15, 385–392.
Spector, P. E. (1997). The role of frustration in antisocial behavior at work.
In R. A. Giacalone & J. Greenberg (Eds.), Antisocial behavior in organi-
zations (pp. 1–17). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Tangney, J. P., & Salovey, P. (1999). Problematic social emotions: Shame,
guilt, jealousy, and envy. In R. M. Kowalski & M. R. Leary (Eds.), The
social psychology of emotional and behavioral problems: Interfaces of social
and clinical psychology (pp. 167–195). Washington, DC: American Psy-
chological Association.
Tesser, A. (1988). Toward a self-evaluation maintenance model of social
behavior. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychol-
ogy: Vol. 21. Social psychological studies of the self. Perspectives and
programs (pp. 181–227). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Tesser, A. (1991). Emotion in social comparison and reflection processes. In
J. Suls & T. A. Wills (Eds.), Social comparison: Contemporary theory and
research (pp. 115–145). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Tesser, A., & Collins, J. E. (1988). Emotion in social reflection and compari-
son situations: Intuitive, systematic, and exploratory approaches. Journal
of Personality and Social Psychology,55, 695–709.
Thome, L. (1993). Professional jealousy and backbiting: Can you protect
yourself? Industry Week,242, 24–30.
van Dijk, W. W., Ouwerkerk, J. W., Goslinga, S., & Nieweg, M. (2005).
Deservingness and schadenfreude. Cognition and Emotion,19, 933–939.
van Dijk, W. W., Ouwerkerk, J. W., Goslinga, S., Nieweg, M., & Gallucci,
M. (2006). When people fall from grace: Reconsidering the role of envy in
schadenfreude. Emotion,6, 156–160.
Vecchio, R. P. (1995). It’s not easy being green: Jealousy and envy in the
workplace. In G. R. Ferris (Ed.), Research in personnel and human
resources management (Vol. 13, pp. 201–244). Stanford, CT: JAI Press.
Vecchio, R. P. (2000). Negative emotion in the workplace: Employee jealousy
and envy. International Journal of Stress Management,7, 161–179.
2172 YOCHI COHEN-CHARASH
Verbeke, W., & Bagozzi, R. P. (2000). Sales call anxiety: Exploring what it
means when fear rules a sales encounter. Journal of Marketing,64,
88–101.
Webster’s revised unabridged dictionary. (1998). Retrieved September 25,
2000, from http://smac.ucsd.edu/cgibin/http_webster?method=exact&
isindex=Envy&db=*
Weiss, H. M., & Cropanzano, R. (1996). Affective events theory: A theoreti-
cal discussion of the structure, causes, and consequences of affective
experiences at work. In L. L. Cummings & B. M. Staw (Eds.), Research in
organizational behavior (Vol. 18, pp. 1–74). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Wicker, F. W., Payne, G. C., & Morgan, R. D. (1983). Participant descrip-
tions of guilt and shame. Motivation and Emotion,7, 25–39.
Yuen, K. S. L., & Lee, T. M. C. (2003). Could mood state affect risk-taking
decisions? Journal of Affective Disorders,75, 11.
Author Note
I wish to thank all the people who helped me in the various stages of this
research. They are, in alphabetical order: anonymous research participants,
Sigal Barsade, Michael Brenner, Joe Campos, Sharon Green, Charles Judd,
Dacher Keltner, Virginia Kwan, Christina Maslach, Steve Miller, Kathy
Mosier, Pam Perrewe, Esther Ra, Anne Roth, Charles Scherbaum, Audrey
Schlette, Paul Spector, Barry Staw, Matt Valle, Mina Westman, and Sheldon
Zedeck. I also want to thank the Editor, two anonymous reviewers, and the
editorial and production team of the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
EPISODIC ENVY 2173
Chapter
When someone suffers a mishap, a setback or a downfall, we sometimes find ourselves experiencing schadenfreude - an emotion defined as deriving pleasure from another's misfortune. Schadenfreude is a common experience and an emotion which is seemingly inherent to social being. This book offers a comprehensive summary of current theoretical and empirical work on schadenfreude from psychological, philosophical and other scientific perspectives. The chapters explore justice as an underlying motive for schadenfreude, and the role played by social comparison processes and envy in evoking pleasure at the misfortunes of others in interpersonal relations. Schadenfreude is also described as a common phenomenon in intergroup relations. This is a compelling volume on a fascinating subject matter that aims to increase our understanding of the nature of this emotion and the role it plays in social relations.
Chapter
When someone suffers a mishap, a setback or a downfall, we sometimes find ourselves experiencing schadenfreude - an emotion defined as deriving pleasure from another's misfortune. Schadenfreude is a common experience and an emotion which is seemingly inherent to social being. This book offers a comprehensive summary of current theoretical and empirical work on schadenfreude from psychological, philosophical and other scientific perspectives. The chapters explore justice as an underlying motive for schadenfreude, and the role played by social comparison processes and envy in evoking pleasure at the misfortunes of others in interpersonal relations. Schadenfreude is also described as a common phenomenon in intergroup relations. This is a compelling volume on a fascinating subject matter that aims to increase our understanding of the nature of this emotion and the role it plays in social relations.
Chapter
When someone suffers a mishap, a setback or a downfall, we sometimes find ourselves experiencing schadenfreude - an emotion defined as deriving pleasure from another's misfortune. Schadenfreude is a common experience and an emotion which is seemingly inherent to social being. This book offers a comprehensive summary of current theoretical and empirical work on schadenfreude from psychological, philosophical and other scientific perspectives. The chapters explore justice as an underlying motive for schadenfreude, and the role played by social comparison processes and envy in evoking pleasure at the misfortunes of others in interpersonal relations. Schadenfreude is also described as a common phenomenon in intergroup relations. This is a compelling volume on a fascinating subject matter that aims to increase our understanding of the nature of this emotion and the role it plays in social relations.
Chapter
When someone suffers a mishap, a setback or a downfall, we sometimes find ourselves experiencing schadenfreude - an emotion defined as deriving pleasure from another's misfortune. Schadenfreude is a common experience and an emotion which is seemingly inherent to social being. This book offers a comprehensive summary of current theoretical and empirical work on schadenfreude from psychological, philosophical and other scientific perspectives. The chapters explore justice as an underlying motive for schadenfreude, and the role played by social comparison processes and envy in evoking pleasure at the misfortunes of others in interpersonal relations. Schadenfreude is also described as a common phenomenon in intergroup relations. This is a compelling volume on a fascinating subject matter that aims to increase our understanding of the nature of this emotion and the role it plays in social relations.
Chapter
The extent to which we see ourselves as similar or different from others in our lives plays a key role in getting along and participating in social life. This volume identifies research relevant to such communal functions of social comparisons and summarizes and organizes this research within a single, coherent conceptual framework. The volume provides an important addition to current thinking about social comparison, which has often neglected communal and affiliative functions. Whereas human desire to compare with others has traditionally been viewed as motivated by self-centered needs such as self-evaluation, self-enhancement, and self-improvement, this book presents an eclectic cross-section of research that illuminates connective, cooperative, and participatory functions of social comparisons. In this vein, the book aims both to expose research on currently neglected functions of social comparisons and to motivate a broader theoretical integration of social comparison processes.
Chapter
The extent to which we see ourselves as similar or different from others in our lives plays a key role in getting along and participating in social life. This volume identifies research relevant to such communal functions of social comparisons and summarizes and organizes this research within a single, coherent conceptual framework. The volume provides an important addition to current thinking about social comparison, which has often neglected communal and affiliative functions. Whereas human desire to compare with others has traditionally been viewed as motivated by self-centered needs such as self-evaluation, self-enhancement, and self-improvement, this book presents an eclectic cross-section of research that illuminates connective, cooperative, and participatory functions of social comparisons. In this vein, the book aims both to expose research on currently neglected functions of social comparisons and to motivate a broader theoretical integration of social comparison processes.
Chapter
When someone suffers a mishap, a setback or a downfall, we sometimes find ourselves experiencing schadenfreude - an emotion defined as deriving pleasure from another's misfortune. Schadenfreude is a common experience and an emotion which is seemingly inherent to social being. This book offers a comprehensive summary of current theoretical and empirical work on schadenfreude from psychological, philosophical and other scientific perspectives. The chapters explore justice as an underlying motive for schadenfreude, and the role played by social comparison processes and envy in evoking pleasure at the misfortunes of others in interpersonal relations. Schadenfreude is also described as a common phenomenon in intergroup relations. This is a compelling volume on a fascinating subject matter that aims to increase our understanding of the nature of this emotion and the role it plays in social relations.
Chapter
When someone suffers a mishap, a setback or a downfall, we sometimes find ourselves experiencing schadenfreude - an emotion defined as deriving pleasure from another's misfortune. Schadenfreude is a common experience and an emotion which is seemingly inherent to social being. This book offers a comprehensive summary of current theoretical and empirical work on schadenfreude from psychological, philosophical and other scientific perspectives. The chapters explore justice as an underlying motive for schadenfreude, and the role played by social comparison processes and envy in evoking pleasure at the misfortunes of others in interpersonal relations. Schadenfreude is also described as a common phenomenon in intergroup relations. This is a compelling volume on a fascinating subject matter that aims to increase our understanding of the nature of this emotion and the role it plays in social relations.
Chapter
When someone suffers a mishap, a setback or a downfall, we sometimes find ourselves experiencing schadenfreude - an emotion defined as deriving pleasure from another's misfortune. Schadenfreude is a common experience and an emotion which is seemingly inherent to social being. This book offers a comprehensive summary of current theoretical and empirical work on schadenfreude from psychological, philosophical and other scientific perspectives. The chapters explore justice as an underlying motive for schadenfreude, and the role played by social comparison processes and envy in evoking pleasure at the misfortunes of others in interpersonal relations. Schadenfreude is also described as a common phenomenon in intergroup relations. This is a compelling volume on a fascinating subject matter that aims to increase our understanding of the nature of this emotion and the role it plays in social relations.
Chapter
When someone suffers a mishap, a setback or a downfall, we sometimes find ourselves experiencing schadenfreude - an emotion defined as deriving pleasure from another's misfortune. Schadenfreude is a common experience and an emotion which is seemingly inherent to social being. This book offers a comprehensive summary of current theoretical and empirical work on schadenfreude from psychological, philosophical and other scientific perspectives. The chapters explore justice as an underlying motive for schadenfreude, and the role played by social comparison processes and envy in evoking pleasure at the misfortunes of others in interpersonal relations. Schadenfreude is also described as a common phenomenon in intergroup relations. This is a compelling volume on a fascinating subject matter that aims to increase our understanding of the nature of this emotion and the role it plays in social relations.
Article
Full-text available
Previous research related to pleasure at another's misfortune has focused on the role of envy and competition in inducing such feelings. Additionally, some views assume that this emotion is restricted to mild misfortunes. In this paper, we propose that other-directed negative emotions (e.g., dislike and anger), independent of envy, can give rise to pleasure at another's misfortune and the misfortune can be severe when these other emotions are causal. In addition to providing support for this view in three studies, pleasure at another's misfortune was also associated with different factors when other-directed negative emotions as opposed to envy served as its eliciting condition. For example, given that dislike caused pleasure at another's misfortune, the misfortune was more likely to be perceived as deserved, any misfortune was pleasing, and the observer was more reluctant to help than given envy as the cause.
Article
Full-text available
Although emotions punctuate almost all the significant events in our lives, the nature, causes, and consequences of the emotions are among the least well understood aspects of human experience. Despite their apparent familiarity, emotions are an extremely subtle and complex topic which was neglected by many social scientists and philosophers. Emotions are highly complex and subtle phenomena whose explanation requires an interdisciplinary and systematic analysis of their multiple characteristics and components. Providing such an analysis is the major task of my book. The book is unique in the broad perspective it takes on emotions: it provides both a conceptual framework for understanding emotions and a detailed analysis of the major emotions. Part I provides an answer to the question : "What is an emotion?" It does so by analyzing the typical characteristics and components of emotions, distinguishing emotions from related affective phenomena, classifying the emotions, and discussing major relevant issues such as: emotional intensity, functionality and rationality, emotional intelligence, emotions and imagination, regulating the emotions, and emotions and morality. The principal emotions discussed in Part II are envy, jealousy, pity, compassion, pleasure-in-others'- misfortune, anger, hate, disgust, love, sexual desire, happiness, sadness, pride, regret, pridefulness and shame.
Article
In 3 studies, the authors demonstrated that individuals are motivated by role models who encourage strategies that fit their regulatory concerns: Promotion-focused individuals, who favor a strategy of pursuing desirable outcomes, are most inspired by positive role models, who highlight strategies for achieving success; prevention-focused individuals, who favor a strategy of avoiding undesirable outcomes, are most motivated by negative role models, who highlight strategies for avoiding failure. In Studies 1 and 2, the authors primed promotion and prevention goals and then examined the impact of role models on motivation. Participants' academic motivation was increased by goal-congruent role models but decreased by goal-incongruent role models. In Study 3, participants were more likely to generate real-life role models that matched their chronic goals.
Article
This article describes the nature and significance of the distinction between the emotions of envy and jealousy and reports 2 experiments that empirically investigated it. In Experiment 1, Ss recalled a personal experience of either envy or jealousy. In Experiment 2, Ss read 1 of a set of stories in which circumstances producing envy and jealousy were manipulated independently in a factorial design. Both experiments introduced new methodologies to enhance their sensitivity, and both revealed qualitative differences between the 2 emotions. Envy was characterized by feelings of inferiority, longing, resentment, and disapproval of the emotion. Jealousy was characterized by fear of loss, distrust, anxiety, and anger. The practical importance of this distinction, the reasons for its confusion, and general issues regarding the empirical differentiation of emotions are discussed.
Article
The current study was designed to investigate the situational, dispositional, and affective antecedents of counterproductive work behaviors. A model based on the organizational frustration–aggression work of Spector and colleagues was tested using structural equation modeling and zero-order correlational analysis. As expected, a positive relationship was found between employees' experience of situational constraints (events frustrating their achievement of organizational and personal goals) and counterproductive behavioral responses to frustration (personal and organizational aggression), mediated by affective reactions to frustration. In addition, personality (trait anger and trait anxiety), control beliefs (Work Locus of Control), and estimation of likelihood of punishment were strongly associated with affective and behavioral responses. In particular, strong direct relationships were found between affective response variables and anxiety and locus of control, while direct relationships were found between behavioral response variables and anger and punishment. Finally, differentiated relationships between two facets of trait anger (angry temperament and angry reaction) and four categories of counterproductive behaviors (serious and minor deviance directed at organizational and personal targets) were explored. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Developed, on the basis of responses from 608 undergraduate students to the 33-item Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, three short forms of 11, 12, and 13 items. The psychometric characteristics of these three forms and three other short forms developed by Strahan and Gerbasi (1972) were investigated and comparisons made. Results, in the form of internal consistency reliability, item factor loadings, short form with Marlowe-Crowne total scale correlations, and correlations between Marlowe-Crowne short forms and the Edwards Social Desirability Scale, indicate that psychometrically sound short forms can be constructed. Comparisons made between the short forms examined in this investigation suggest the 13-item form as a viable substitute for the regular 33-item Marlowe-Crowne scale.