DataPDF Available

There Are Lots of Big Fish in This Pond: The Role of Peer Overqualification on Task Significance, Perceived Fit, and Performance for Overqualified Employees

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Research has uncovered mixed results regarding the influence of overqualification on employee performance outcomes, suggesting the existence of boundary conditions for such an influence. Using relative deprivation theory (Crosby, 1976) as the primary theoretical basis, in the current research, we examine the moderating role of peer overqualification and provide insights to the questions regarding whether, when, and how overqualification relates to employee performance. We tested the theoretical model with data gathered across three phases over 6 months from 351 individuals and their supervisors in 72 groups. Results showed that when working with peers whose average overqualification level was high, as opposed to low, employees who felt overqualified for their jobs perceived greater task significance and person-group fit, and demonstrated higher levels of in-role and extra-role performance. We discuss theoretical and managerial implications for overqualification at the individual level and within the larger group context.
Content may be subject to copyright.
RESEARCH REPORT
There Are Lots of Big Fish in This Pond: The Role of Peer
Overqualification on Task Significance, Perceived Fit, and Performance for
Overqualified Employees
Jia Hu
University of Notre Dame
Berrin Erdogan
Portland State University and Koç University
Talya N. Bauer
Portland State University
Kaifeng Jiang
University of Notre Dame
Songbo Liu and Yuhui Li
Renmin University of China
Research has uncovered mixed results regarding the influence of overqualification on employee perfor-
mance outcomes, suggesting the existence of boundary conditions for such an influence. Using relative
deprivation theory (Crosby, 1976) as the primary theoretical basis, in the current research, we examine
the moderating role of peer overqualification and provide insights to the questions regarding whether,
when, and how overqualification relates to employee performance. We tested the theoretical model with
data gathered across three phases over 6 months from 351 individuals and their supervisors in 72 groups.
Results showed that when working with peers whose average overqualification level was high, as
opposed to low, employees who felt overqualified for their jobs perceived greater task significance and
person-group fit, and demonstrated higher levels of in-role and extra-role performance. We discuss
theoretical and managerial implications for overqualification at the individual level and within the larger
group context.
Keywords: overqualification, employee performance, task significance, person–group fit
Overqualification describes an employment situation in which
employees feel that they possess surplus qualifications relative to
what a job requires (Johnson & Johnson, 1996;Khan & Morrow,
1991). Overqualification is a common phenomenon in contempo-
rary organizations. For example, Center for College Affordability
and Productivity estimates that nearly half of all college graduates
in the U.S. hold jobs that do not require a degree (Vedder, Denhart,
& Robe, 2013), potentially resulting in feelings of overqualifica-
tion. Similarly, 20% of the workforce in the European Union is
reported to be overqualified (Eurostat, 2011). Studies have shown
that feelings of overqualification are related to negative work
attitudes such as lower job satisfaction (Fine, 2007;Fine & Nevo,
2008;Johnson & Johnson, 1997,2000;Johnson, Morrow, &
Johnson, 2002;Maynard, Joseph, & Maynard, 2006), lower orga-
nizational commitment (Bolino & Feldman, 2000;Maynard et al.,
2006), greater psychological distress (Johnson & Johnson, 1996),
and higher turnover intentions (Erdogan & Bauer, 2009;Maynard
et al., 2006). This line of research suggests that felt overqualifi-
cation produces negative effects on employees.
However, scholars have begun to question whether we have
drawn an overly simplistic conclusion that overstates the costs of
overqualification and neglects its potential value to employees and
organizations (see Erdogan, Bauer, Peiró, & Truxillo, 2011a;Feld-
man & Maynard, 2011). This is a problematic omission, as over-
qualified employees have greater cognitive abilities, skills, and
knowledge than required (Fine & Nevo, 2008) and thus have the
potential to accomplish their organizationally delineated tasks (i.e.,
in-role performance) and contribute to the organization beyond the
formal job requirements (i.e., extrarole performance, or organiza-
tional citizenship behavior [OCB]). Indeed, the existing literature
This article was published Online First December 29, 2014.
Jia Hu, Department of Management, Mendoza College of Business,
University of Notre Dame; Berrin Erdogan, School of Business Adminis-
tration, Portland State University, and College of Administrative Sciences
and Economics, Koç University; Talya N. Bauer, School of Business
Administration, Portland State University; Kaifeng Jiang, Department of
Management, Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame;
Songbo Liu and Yuhui Li, Department of Human Resources Management,
School of Labor and Human Resources, Renmin University of China.
We thank the Action Editor Sturman and his review team for their
constructive comments during the review process.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Songbo
Liu, 59 Zhongguancun Street, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China,
100872. E-mail: liusb@ruc.edu.cn
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
Journal of Applied Psychology © 2014 American Psychological Association
2015, Vol. 100, No. 4, 1228–1238 0021-9010/15/$12.00 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000008
1228
is unclear about whether overqualified employees necessarily
cause harm to the organization by performing poorly. While some
studies found overqualification to be negatively related to self-
rated performance outcomes (Bolino & Feldman, 2000), others
found that perceived overqualification was either unrelated to
performance (Lobene & Meade, 2013)orpositively associated
with performance rated by self (Fine & Nevo, 2008), or managers
(Fine, 2007;Fine & Nevo, 2008;Holtom, Lee, & Tidd, 2002;King
& Hautaluoma, 1987), or assessed through objective metrics (Er-
dogan & Bauer, 2009).
To resolve the controversy in the existing findings and to further
advance research on overqualification, a primary goal of the cur-
rent study is to examine whether, when, and how (i.e., under what
conditions) do employees who feel overqualified realize this pos-
itive potential, as opposed to being disengaged and demotivated at
work. Consistent with relative deprivation theory (Crosby, 1984),
the influence of overqualification on employee attitudes and per-
formance does not occur in isolation, but is embedded within work
groups, where peers shape the way individuals react to their own
overqualification status. Indeed, due to the importance of peers,
Erdogan, Bauer, Peiró, and Truxillo (2011b) suggest that “Exam-
ining overqualification by paying simultaneous attention to one’s
coworkers seems important” (p. 264). Thus, using relative depri-
vation theory as the theoretical foundation, we contend that over-
qualified individuals’ reactions to the work environment and per-
formance levels are contingent on whether there is a discrepancy
between their own status and those of peers. Specifically, when
peers of a focal employee also feel overqualified, the focal em-
ployee is more likely to see overqualification as legitimate within
the group, react positively to their work, and perform better.
Taken together, the current research aims to make three impor-
tant contributions to the overqualification literature. First, the
current study is an active effort to resolve the conflicting views of
the overqualification-performance relationship and a response to
recent calls for more attention to the context of overqualification
(Erdogan et al., 2011a,2011b;Sierra, 2011). Specifically, the
current study grounds predictions in relative deprivation theory,
identifies an important yet neglected factor—peer overqualifica-
tion—as a contingency of the effects of employee overqualifica-
tion on performance, and documents that overqualified employees
may make valuable contributions to their organizations, especially
when peer overqualification is also high. Second, while scholars
have investigated the direct effects of overqualification on job
performance, considerably less is known about the mechanisms
through which overqualification relates to performance. The cur-
rent research is among the first to provide theoretical and empirical
accounts of a job- and motivation-related factor (i.e., task signif-
icance, the extent to which employees find their work meaningful
and important, Hackman & Oldham, 1976) and an interpersonal
factor (i.e., person-– group fit, the extent to which employees
perceive a fit with their groups, Kristof, 1996) as key mediating
mechanisms that link overqualification to performance outcomes.
Third, by including both in-role and extrarole performance, and
both job-related and interpersonal perceptions, the current research
provides a more integrated perspective of how overqualification
influences behavioral outcomes and how such influence is shaped
by the role of peers. Figure 1 depicts the overall theoretical model.
Theory and Hypotheses
Perceived Overqualification
Perceived overqualification reflects the extent to which employ-
ees consider themselves possessing more education, experience, or
skills than the required job qualifications (Johnson & Johnson,
1996;Johnson et al., 2002). Perceived overqualification is posi-
tively related to, yet distinct from objective overqualification,
which is the gap between specific individual qualifications and
stated job requirements. In fact, objective and perceived overquali-
fication are regarded not as alternative operationalizations of the
same construct, but different constructs altogether (see Maltarich,
Reilly, & Nyberg, 2011). Perceived overqualification is more
sensitive to actual differences in job content and individual qual-
ifications. For example, two individuals who hold the same job
title and possess the same level of education and experience may
have different perceptions of overqualification, due to variation in
actual job content from person to person and differences in the
quality and type of their education and experience. As a result,
perceived and objective measures are treated as separate constructs
with different predictors and outcomes (Erdogan et al., 2011b;
Maltarich et al., 2011). For example, objective overqualification
may more strongly predict mobility as it reflects actual ability to
leave an organization whereas subjective overqualification has a
stronger influence on employees’ perceptions at work.
Subjective, or perceived overqualification is particularly rele-
vant to relative deprivation theory. Deprivation is described as
“relative,” because it is a feeling derived from comparison with
others and involves individuals’ feelings of deprivation that are not
necessarily “objectively the most destitute” (Martin, Brickman, &
Murray, 1984, p. 485). Stated otherwise, relative deprivation theory
posits that, it is individuals’ subjective judgment of their own status,
but not merely their objective status, that directly affects their feelings
of and reactions to the environment (Corning, 2000). Indeed, re-
searchers have suggested that perceived overqualification is more
appropriate for studying employees’ psychological processes and
performance (Fine, 2007;Maltarich et al., 2011;Maynard et al.,
2006). Thus, we focus on perceived overqualification and its role on
employee attitudes and performance outcomes.
The Moderating Role of Peer Overqualification
According to relative deprivation theory, when individuals feel
that their situation is worse than the situation they are entitled to
Overqualification
(T1E)
Task Significance
(T2E)
Person-Group Fit
(T2E)
Performance (T3M)
In-Role Performance
OCB
Peer
Overqualification
(
T1E
)
Figure 1. Proposed model. T1E variables rated by employees at Time
1; T2E variables rated by employees at Time 2, 3 months after Time 1;
T3M variables rated by managers at Time 3, 6 months after Time 1;
OCB organizational citizenship behavior.
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
1229
PEER OVERQUALIFICATION
have, they feel deprived, discontent, and thus respond negatively to
their work and organizations (Mark & Folger, 1984). Past re-
searchers contended that perceptions of overqualification would
trigger a situation where individuals feel deprived of the job they
are entitled to have (Feldman, Leana, & Bolino, 2002). The sense
of deprivation is relative, and emerges as a result of comparisons
with referent others, including peers. An important precondition of
feeling deprived is the presence of others who are better off than
them, which makes it salient to the individual that the situation that
is desired should be within reach (Bernstein & Crosby, 1980;
Davis, 1959). In other words, peer overqualification serves to
disable the precondition of relative deprivation. Yet, when work-
ing with peers who are also overqualified, such feelings of enti-
tlement are less likely to occur because the person is in a situation
similar to the one experienced by peers. Thus, peer overqualifica-
tion signals that individuals’ overqualification status is legitimate
(Erdogan et al., 2011b) and makes individuals less likely to feel
that they are entitled to the work that similar others can access, but
they themselves cannot (Erdogan & Bauer, 2009;Guimond &
Dambrun, 2002;Walker & Pettigrew, 1984). Existing evidence has
shown that individuals have considered their unfavorable status
(e.g., overqualification) as being more acceptable when it is con-
sidered as legitimate (Ellemers, Wilke, & van Knippenberg, 1993).
We propose that peer overqualification is likely to moderate the
relationship between perceived overqualification and performance
through altering how overqualified employees perceive their tasks,
task significance, and feel about their relationships with their work
groups, person– group fit.
Task significance, the extent to which employees feel their jobs
are meaningful (Hackman & Oldham, 1976), is of particular im-
portance, as motivation researchers have suggested that employee
motivation may come from different sources (Deci & Ryan, 1985;
Grant & Shin, 2011) and many employees are not only motivated
by money, but are also concerned with whether they are doing
meaningful and impactful work (De Dreu, 2006;Grant, 2007;
Grant, 2008;Grant et al., 2007;Hu & Liden, in press). Extant
research has shown that perceptions of task significance enhance
employee performance (Dodd & Ganster, 1996;Grant, 2008).
With respect to the influence of overqualification on task signifi-
cance perceptions, the literature posits that overqualified employ-
ees would feel cynical about the meaningfulness of their jobs
(Luksyte, Spitzmueller, & Maynard, 2011) and would find their
jobs intrinsically less satisfying (Peiró, Agut, & Grau, 2010).
Relative deprivation theory explains that the potential undesir-
able perceptions of one’s job are triggered by the discrepancy
between one’s own overqualification status and those of similar
peers (Erdogan & Bauer, 2009;Johnson & Johnson, 2000;Johnson
et al., 2002). When one’s status is not deprived relative to others
within the work group, one’s negative feelings of his or her job are
unlikely to occur. The average overqualification level of one’s
peers helps to determine whether such deprivation exists, as it sets
the tone within the group regarding whether overqualification is
seen as the norm or the exception, signals how things ought to be
done, and how the focal employee should react to his or her own
overqualification status (Erdogan et al., 2011b). From the stand-
point of the social information processing perspective (Salancik &
Pfeffer, 1978), by interacting with their peers, exchanging infor-
mation, and shared experiences, overqualified employees gradu-
ally gain an understanding of the average peers’ overqualification
level, which in turn shapes their responses to their jobs (Feldman,
1984). Specifically, when working with peers who also feel over-
qualified, employees see their own overqualification as legitimate
rather than exceptional. Instead of feeling different and deprived of
a better job, working with overqualified peers is likely to elevate
the job’s importance and status, make overqualified employees
feel like part of an elite cohort, which would signal to them that
their jobs are important, worthwhile, and meaningful. Conversely,
when the overqualification level of peers is low, overqualified
employees are likely to feel they are the exception within the group
and will feel entitled to a better job held by others with similar
qualification levels. This greater sense of entitlement within
groups with low peer overqualification is likely to generate a
greater sense of frustration and trigger them to react less positively
toward the environment (Erdogan & Bauer, 2009). Under this
circumstance, overqualified employees will find their tasks as
meaningful and important.
Hypothesis 1: Peer overqualification moderates the relation-
ship between employee overqualification and task signifi-
cance, such that the relationship is more positive when peer
overqualification is higher.
In addition to forming job-related perceptions, when responding
to their overqualification status, employees often consider the
relational factors within their social contexts (Erdogan et al.,
2011a). In fact, one of the theorized downsides of being overqual-
ified is the sense of being different and not fitting in with one’s
peers (Erdogan et al., 2011b). Being overqualified may affect
one’s relations with peers, because overqualified employees may
intimidate peers, feel like an out-group member as a result of being
different from colleagues, and create tension in interpersonal re-
lationships (Sierra, 2011). Thus, perceived overqualification is
expected to have implications for the degree to which employees
fit in with their group, which in turn relates to performance.
Consistent with Sierra (2011), we further propose that employees’
feelings of their interpersonal environment largely depend on the
status of their peers including whether or not their peers perceive
themselves as also being overqualified. The perception of inter-
personal environment we focused on here is person– group fit, or
the interpersonal compatibility between individuals and their work
groups (Judge & Ferris, 1992;Kristof, 1996). Person– group fit
helps explain the effects of overqualification within the interper-
sonal context, as the psychological compatibility among peers is a
powerful influence on employee behavior and performance in
group settings (Kristof-Brown, Zimmerman, & Johnson, 2005).
The rationale for the influence of overqualification on person–
group fit is grounded in the framework of relative deprivation
theory, which argues that within a work group, individuals tend to
compare their own qualifications with their peers and make judg-
ments about whether their status is different from, or similar to,
those of peers (Mummendey, Kessler, Klink, & Mielke, 1999),
which further shapes their perceptions about their interpersonal
relationships with peers (Chatman & Flynn, 2001). When individ-
uals who feel overqualified work with peers who feel similarly
overqualified, they are less likely to feel deprived and discontent
and are more likely to feel psychologically close to their work
groups. Peer overqualification generates such a homogenous cli-
mate within the group, which sends confirmation to overqualified
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
1230 HU, ERDOGAN, BAUER, JIANG, LIU, AND LI
individual employees about their status, makes them feel similar to
their peers, and increases their perception of fit within the group
(Brewer, 1979;Erdogan et al., 2011a). In contrast, when working
within a group where overqualification is more rare, feelings of
overqualification will set the employee apart from their peers,
which will decrease feelings of attachment to their group (Hogg,
Turner, & Davidson, 1990) and create the perception of being
misfits within their groups.
Hypothesis 2: Peer overqualification moderates the relation-
ship between employee overqualification and person– group
fit, such that the relationship is more positive when peer
overqualification is higher.
The Integrated Model
Relative deprivation theory suggests that when individuals feel
deprived and entitled, they are likely to form unfavorable cognitive
(e.g., perceptions of task significance) and affective (e.g., percep-
tions of person– group fit) perceptions at work, which in turn,
directly influence their efforts in completing required task perfor-
mance (i.e., in-role performance), and their motivation to contrib-
ute to the organization beyond the normal requirement (i.e., ex-
trarole performance or OCB; Chatman & Flynn, 2001;Erdogan &
Bauer, 2009). This sense of being deprived of the job one deserves
is less likely to occur when peers are also overqualified and when
overqualification is considered a natural and normative status
rather than a unique and personal situation within the group
(Shultz, Olson, & Wang, 2011). Erdogan et al. (2011b) contended
that overqualified employees might maintain a positive view of
their jobs when working with peers who are similarly overquali-
fied. This enhanced significance perception of their tasks, in turn,
guides them to perform more effectively (Grant, 2008) and to
contribute more to their organization (Grant, 2007). In a similar
vein, when peer overqualification is high, employees see them-
selves as having similar status as their peers and sense a higher
degree of fit with their group. These person– group fit perceptions
are likely to strengthen the interpersonal connections among peers
and build strong social capital within the group (Adler & Kwon,
2002;Oh, Chung, & Labianca, 2004), which serves to translate
employees’ felt overqualification into superior performance (Feld-
man & Maynard, 2011), and allows employees to utilize their
surplus capabilities to engage in more OCBs. On the other hand,
when working with peers who do not feel overqualified, employ-
ees who feel overqualified are more likely to experience a sense of
frustration and misfit with their group and consider their tasks as
insignificant. As a consequence, overqualified employees should
be less willing to exert their efforts at work and are less likely to
perform well. Thus, we hypothesize that peer overqualification
makes employee overqualification more positively related to their
task significance and person– group fit perceptions and, subse-
quently, in-role performance and OCB.
Hypothesis 3: Peer overqualification moderates the indirect
relationship between employee overqualification and (a) in-
role performance and (b) OCB via task significance, such that
the indirect relationship is more positive when peer overquali-
fication is higher.
Hypothesis 4: Peer overqualification moderates the indirect
relationship between employee overqualification and (a) in-
role performance and (b) OCB via person– group fit, such that
the indirect relationship is more positive when peer overquali-
fication is higher.
Method
Sample and Procedure
Our primary sample was comprised of full-time employees from
11 information and technology companies located in China. Em-
ployees were working professionals in functional groups, such as
research and development, accounting, product management, cus-
tomer service, and human resources. These groups are not depart-
ments or committees, but are traditional long-term work groups
that provide immediate social contexts for employees and their
functions do not frequently change over time. Data were collected
through Web-based surveys conducted across three data collection
periods over 6 months at Time 1, Time 2 (3 months later), and
Time 3 (3 months after Time 2 and 6 months after Time 1).
Three-month intervals were chosen so that data collections would
be separated in time enough to decrease priming effects while
being short enough for antecedents to exert influence on later
outcomes. At Time 1, out of 631 employees working in the 135
groups we invited to the study, 515 employees from 106 groups
returned their surveys that contained overqualification ratings. At
Time 2, 373 employees from 79 groups provided information on
person– group fit and task significance. At Time 3, 72 managers
provided ratings on 356 employees’ in-role performance and OCB.
The final matched employee–manager data across three time
points were 351 employees in 72 groups, constituting the final
effective response rates of 56% at the individual level and 53% at
the group level. The average within-group response rate was 88%.
Group size ranged between three and six (average 5). Among
employees, the average age was 29, 89% had college degree or
above, and the average job tenure was 1.96 years.
Measures
All measures were rated on a scale ranging from 1 strongly
disagree to7strongly agree and were subjected to the back-
translation procedure recommended by Brislin (1986).
Perceived overqualification. At Time 1, all employees pro-
vided ratings of their own overqualification using Johnson and
Johnson’s (1996,1997) four-item scale (e.g., “Based on my skills,
I am overqualified for the job I hold;” ␣⫽.87). Thus, the focal
employee’s perceived overqualification was simply his or her
ratings on this scale. This scale has been commonly used in the
overqualification literature (e.g., Erdogan & Bauer, 2009;Fine &
Nevo, 2008;Johnson & Johnson, 1996,1997,1999,2000;Johnson
et al., 2002;Lobene & Meade, 2013).
Peer perceived overqualification. Peer overqualification
was calculated by averaging all of the peers’ overqualification
ratings gathered at Time 1 when every employee provided
ratings on this scale, excluding the focal employee’s score.
Thus, for each focal employee, there was a corresponding
average peer overqualification score. In addition, to ensure that
focal employees were able to observe peer overqualification,
we gathered supplemental data from a second sample of 264
knowledge workers in China in 50 different work groups from
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
1231
PEER OVERQUALIFICATION
various industries, such as finance, real estate, telecommunica-
tions, automobile, retailing, and construction who provided data
on perceived overqualification of themselves and their peers.
The results of these analyses indicated that the average of
perceived overqualification reported by peers positively corre-
lated with perceived peer overqualification reported by focal
individuals, r.34, p.01. This suggests that focal individ-
uals were in a position to detect the levels of perceived over-
qualification reported by their peers, providing support for our
use of the average of perceived overqualification scores re-
ported by peers to measure peer overqualification.
Task significance and person– group fit. At Time 2, 3
months after Time 1, employees provided their ratings on task sig-
nificance using a four-item scale from Hackman and Oldham (1975;
e.g., “A lot of people (e.g., customers and clients) can be positively
affected by how well my job gets done;” ␣⫽.91); and ratings on
person– group fit using DeRue and Morgeson’s (2007) three-item
scale (e.g., “My personal values match my group’s value;” ␣⫽.92).
In-role performance and OCB. At Time 3, 6 months after
Time 1, managers were asked to rate employees’ in-role perfor-
mance using Liden, Wayne, and Stilwell’s (1993) four-item scale
(e.g., “The overall level of performance that you observe for this
employee is outstanding;” ␣⫽.91) and OCB using four highest
loaded items from Morrison and Phelps’s (1999) scale (e.g., “This
employee often tries to institute new work methods that are more
effective for the company;” ␣⫽.94).
Control variables. Because our sample was comprised of
employees working in China, a country with different cultural
values from Western societies (Hofstede, 1984) where overquali-
fication theory was originally developed, we controlled for the
potential influence of a representative cultural value— collectiv-
ism— on the study variables. We measured collectivism with three
items taken from Wagner (1995) and used by Ilies, Wagner, and
Morgeson (2007; e.g., “I prefer to work with others in a group
rather than working alone”, ␣⫽.81). We also controlled for group
size to take into consideration that group size may influence
employees’ comparison with peers.
Results
Hypothesis Testing
Table 1 describes the means and standard deviations of, and
correlations among the study variables. We applied hierarchical
linear modeling (HLM) analyses with HLM 6.0.6 to adjust the
potential nonindependence issue of employee performance
rated by the same supervisor (Raudenbush & Bryk, 2002).
Table 2 summarizes the HLM results for testing hypotheses.
With respect to the interaction hypotheses (Hypotheses 1 and
2), the results in Table 2 demonstrated that after including the
control variables and main effects of overqualification and peer
overqualification, peer overqualification had a positive moder-
ating effect on the relationship between overqualification rated
at Time 1 and task significance (B.15, p.01 in Model 2)
and person– group fit (B.12, p.05 in Model 4) rated at
Time 2. Deviance tests revealed that the interaction term sig-
nificantly improved the fit of the model with task significance
as the outcome, ⌬␹
2
(1) 7.26, p.01, and the model with
person– group fit as the outcome, ⌬␹
2
(1) 4.41, p.05.
Figures 2 and 3further showed that the nature of the interac-
tions were consistent with our expectation such that overquali-
fication was more positively related to task significance and
person– group fit when peer overqualification was higher (B
.46, p.01 for task significance; B.45, p.01 for
person– group fit) than when it was lower (B.26, p.01 for
task significance; B.27, p.01 for person– group fit).
Interestingly and somewhat surprisingly, we found that over-
qualification was also significantly and positively related to
task significance and person– group fit when peer overqualifi-
cation was low. Thus, Hypotheses 1 and 2 were supported.
With respect to the moderated mediation models proposed in
Hypotheses 3 and 4, results of Table 2 showed that after
including control variables, main predictors, and the interaction
term, task significance was significantly and positively related
to both performance (Model 6, B.11, p.05) and OCB
(Model 8, B.15, p.05); and person– group fit was
significantly and positively related to OCB (Model 8, B.14,
p.05), but was not significantly related to performance
(Model 6, B.06, ns). Furthermore, to accurately estimate the
non-normally distributed indirect effects, we applied the
bootstrapping-based moderated path analysis approach (Ed-
wards & Lambert, 2007). Based on 1,000 resamples, the results
of Table 3 further revealed that the indirect effect of overquali-
fication on performance and OCB via task significance was
more positive when peer overqualification was higher (B.06,
bias-corrected 95% CI [.01, .13] for performance; B.08,
Table 1
Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlations
Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5678
1. Collectivism (T1E) 4.11 .85 (.81)
2. Group size (T1M) 5.07 .82 .12
3. Overqualification (T1E) 4.67 1.07 .12
.10 (.87)
4. Peer overqualification (T1E) 4.67 .68 .03 .17
ⴱⴱ
.23
ⴱⴱ
5. Person–group fit (T2E) 5.21 .95 .22
ⴱⴱ
.07 .32
ⴱⴱ
.10 (.92)
6. Task significance (T2E) 5.18 .92 .18
ⴱⴱ
.09 .32
ⴱⴱ
.12
.63
ⴱⴱ
(.91)
7. In-role performance (T3M) 5.58 .82 .19
ⴱⴱ
.10 .08 .05 .15
ⴱⴱ
.19
ⴱⴱ
(.91)
8. OCB (T3M) 5.20 1.05 .19
ⴱⴱ
.00 .10 .05 .28
ⴱⴱ
.27
ⴱⴱ
.59
ⴱⴱ
(.94)
Note.N351 individuals in 72 groups. SD standard deviation; T1E variables rated by employees at Time 1; T1M variables rated by managers
at Time 1; T2E variables rated by employees at Time 2, 3 months after Time 1; T3M variables rated by managers at Time 3, 6 months after Time
1; OCB organizational citizenship behavior. Reliabilities of the study variables are listed in the parentheses.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
1232 HU, ERDOGAN, BAUER, JIANG, LIU, AND LI
Table 2
HLM Result Summary
Task significance (T2E) Person-group fit (T2E) In-role performance (T3M) OCB (T3M)
M1 M2 M3 M4 M5 M6 M7 M8
BSEBSEBSEBSEBSEBSEBSEBSE
Intercept 4.56
ⴱⴱ
.39 4.57
ⴱⴱ
.39 4.67
ⴱⴱ
.39 4.68
ⴱⴱ
.38 6.16
ⴱⴱ
.44 6.28
ⴱⴱ
.44 5.15
ⴱⴱ
.59 5.36
ⴱⴱ
.57
Control variables
Group size (T1M) .12 .08 .12 .08 .11 .08 .10 .08 .11 .09 .13 .09 .01 .12 .03 .12
Collectivism (T1E) .14
ⴱⴱ
.05 .14 .05 .21
ⴱⴱ
.05 .21
ⴱⴱ
.05 .09 .05 .07 .05 .07 .06 .04 .05
Independent variables
OQ (T1E) .35
ⴱⴱ
.04 .36
ⴱⴱ
.04 .35
ⴱⴱ
.04 .36
ⴱⴱ
.04 .06 .04 .00 .04 .09 .05 .02 .05
Peer OQ (T1E) .21
.08 .19
.08 .19
.09 .18
.08 .01 .09 .03 .09 .03 .12 .07 .12
Interaction term
OQ Peer OQ .15
ⴱⴱ
.05 .12
.06 .01 .05 .04 .05 .04 .06 .01 .06
Mediators
Task significance (T2E) .11
.05 .15
.07
Person–group fit (T2E) .06 .05 .14
.06
Deviance 828.93 821.67 852.11 847.70 750.47 740.28 904.12 883.74
df 7878810810
Deviance change 7.26
ⴱⴱ
4.41
10.19
ⴱⴱ
20.39
ⴱⴱ
df change 1 1 2 2
Note.N351 individuals in 72 groups. HLM hierarchical linear modeling; T2E variables rated by employees at Time 2, 3 months after Time 1; T3M variables rated by managers at Time
3, 6 months after Time 1; OCB organizational citizenship behavior; M Model; SE standard error; T1M variables rated by managers at Time 1; T1E variables rated by employees at Time
1; OQ overqualification; df degrees of freedom. The regression coefficients are the unstandardized coefficients from HLM.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
1233
PEER OVERQUALIFICATION
bias-corrected 95% CI [.02, .16] for OCB) than when it was
lower (B.03, bias-corrected 95% CI [.01, .07] for perfor-
mance; B.04, bias-corrected 95% CI [.01, .09] for OCB).
Overall, the difference between the indirect effects for perfor-
mance and OCB were both significant. Results also indicated
that the indirect effect of overqualification on OCB via person–
group fit was more positive under high peer overqualification
(B.08, bias-corrected 95% CI [.02, .17]) than under low peer
overqualification (B.04, bias-corrected 95% CI [.01, .08]).
The difference in the indirect effects for OCB was significant.
Taken together, Hypotheses 3a, 3b, and 4b were supported, but
Hypothesis 4a was not.
Discussion
Past research on overqualification has primarily focused on
the potential harm that overqualification can cause employees,
overlooking the potential benefits overqualified employees
bring to the organization. In fact, the empirical evidence of the
influence of overqualification on employee performance is am-
bivalent, indicating that such an influence is subjective to
boundary conditions (Erdogan et al., 2011a,2011b;Sierra,
2011). Contrary to some prior research (e.g., Bolino & Feld-
man, 2000;Lobene & Meade, 2013), we found that employee
perceived overqualification was positively related to their task-
related and interpersonal perceptions and subsequently perfor-
mance outcomes, and these positive associations were stronger
when the level of average peers’ overqualification was also
high. Using relative deprivation theory as our primary theoret-
ical lens, our research contributed to the overqualification lit-
erature by demonstrating peer overqualification as an important
contingency from the social context to explain the relationship
between overqualification and performance outcomes. When
most peers are also overqualified, the focal employees perceive
their jobs as more significant and their interpersonal environ-
ment to be a better fit with themselves. As a result, overqual-
ified employees perform better and contribute more to the
organization when they work with others who feel overquali-
fied. Thus, the inclusion of peer overqualification provides a
clearer understanding of to what extent overqualification brings
benefits to organizations. Relatedly, we discovered a somewhat
interesting finding that the benefits of overqualification on
performance outcomes, although reduced, remained positive,
when peer overqualification is low. It implies that overqualified
employees still are able to perform well, even when felt overqualifi-
cation among peers is rare. It may be due to their exceptional capa-
bilities to perform with less effort, or other contextual factors, such as
recognition from leaders or rewards within the organization, that
might have influenced their reactions to the overqualification status
and motivation to perform. Future studies are encouraged to replicate
our research to further confirm the impact of overqualification on
performance outcomes.
Our study also provides a valuable addition to the literature
by considering the mediating mechanisms that link overquali-
fication to performance outcomes. Our research is among the
first to begin to unpack the black box between overqualification
and employee performance and clarify the motivational and
interpersonal issues underlying the influence of overqualifica-
tion. Our research reveals that feelings of overqualification
translate into high performance for those who work with sim-
ilarly overqualified peers, through increasing the perceived
importance of the tasks performed, and through the experience
of high degree of fit within their groups.
This is important because extant research has looked at the
influence of overqualification on either employee attitudes or
performance, but little attention has been paid to integrate both
perspectives (see Erdogan & Bauer, 2009 as an exception). Using
a time-lag designed study, we investigated how overqualification
influences employees’ later perceptions of their tasks and work
groups, which further influences both in-role and extrarole perfor-
mance rated by managers. Interestingly, we found that the higher
peer overqualification, the greater influence of overqualification
on employee in-role performance is realized through task signifi-
cance, but not person– group fit. It seems that compared with
interpersonal perceptions, task perceptions, resulting from an over-
qualification status, are more relevant and critical for improving
employees’ in-role task performance. However, when peer over-
qualification is higher, the indirect relationships between over-
qualification on employees’ OCB through task significance and
person– group fit are stronger. These findings suggest that to
encourage employees to contribute more to the organization, it is
necessary for them to have favorable perceptions about both their
tasks and interpersonal contexts. Although intuitively appealing,
we encourage future research to further explore whether overquali-
fication has differentiated effects on employees’ task-related and
interpersonal perceptions and their in-role and extrarole perfor-
mance outcomes.
Figure 3. Interactive effect of overqualification and peer overqualifica-
tion on person– group fit.
Figure 2. Interactive effect of overqualification and peer overqualifica-
tion on task significance.
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
1234 HU, ERDOGAN, BAUER, JIANG, LIU, AND LI
Practical Implications
The current research offers several implications for practice.
Overqualification has been considered harmful to organiza-
tions, with higher risks of turnover and lower satisfaction levels
(Erdogan et al., 2011a). Thus, organizations and managers often
screen out such applicants (Bewley, 1999). The assumption is
that overqualification is akin to being “a big fish in a small
pond,” where employees feel that they deserve to be somewhere
better. However, our findings suggest that when they feel that
they are not the only big fish in the pond and when overquali-
fication becomes a norm rather than exception within the group,
individual employees tend to have more favorable reactions
toward their own overqualification status and perform better.
Thus, managers who are wary of working with overqualified
employees may benefit from the knowledge that as overquali-
fication becomes normalized in the workplace, overqualifica-
tion becomes a more positive influence over desired organiza-
tional behaviors such as performance and citizenship. When
managing overqualified workers, pairing these employees with
other similarly qualified employees increases the chance of
being able to prevent the possibility of feeling like a misfit.
Further, organizations may celebrate employees’ qualifications
when they are first brought on board and point out how these
overqualified employees are in good company by highlighting
that they will be working with a highly qualified group. Man-
agers may also encourage more interactions among members to
build team spirit, emphasizing the importance of benefiting
others through one’s work, and highlight the interpersonal
compatibility within a work group to promote the positive
influence of overqualification on employee attitudes and per-
formance.
Potential Limitations and Future Research Directions
Our findings should be considered in light of potential limita-
tions, which, in turn point to promising directions for future
research. First, although study variables were measured at three
time points with a 6-month lag, reverse causality is still possible.
For example, task significance, person– group fit, and peer over-
qualification may be antecedents of felt overqualification. Because
the data were collected in field organizations, it is also likely that
some preexisting factors, such as company culture or leadership,
may have influenced the direction of the relationship between
overqualification and their job and interpersonal perceptions.
Thus, we encourage future research to replicate and extend the
current study using longitudinal designs to make stronger infer-
ences regarding the directionality of overqualification effects. Sec-
ond, our sample is from a more collectivistic cultural setting (i.e.,
China) and we found that collectivists tend to be less likely to
perceive themselves as overqualified, r⫽⫺.12, p.05, thus,
overqualification may be a more prevalent phenomenon among
individualists, which provides individualists with more opportuni-
ties to work with overqualified peers. Thus, our results may
provide a conservative estimate of the relationships between over-
qualification and performance outcomes. We call for more re-
search examining the role of peer overqualification in more indi-
vidualistic cultural backgrounds to explore the generalizability of
our findings. Third, in addition to the mediators and moderator we
explored, other mediators and moderators likely exist. For exam-
ple, when unemployment rate is high, overqualification effects
may be weaker, given that employees may be grateful to have any
job (during our study period, China had a low unemployment rate
of 4.5% according to World Bank, 2012). A person’s career goals
may make a difference, with overqualification being more tolera-
Table 3
Results of the Moderated Path Analysis
First stage (P
MX
)Direct effect (P
YX
)Indirect effect (P
MX
P
YM
)
Estimate
Bias-corrected
95% CI Estimate
Bias-corrected
95% CI Estimate
Bias-corrected
95% CI
Overqualification¡task significance¡in-role
performance path
High peer overqualification .43 [.23, .60] .03 [.08, .18] .06 [.01, .13]
Low peer overqualification .22 [.12, .32] .01 [.10, .11] .03 [.01, .07]
Difference between low and high .21 [.01, .41] .03 [.12, .18] .03 [.00, .08]
Overqualification¡task significance¡OCB path
High peer overqualification .43 [.23, .60] .00 [.14, .14] .08 [.02, .16]
Low peer overqualification .22 [.12, .32] .03 [.16, .11] .04 [.01, .09]
Difference between low and high .21 [.01, .41] .03 [.16, .19] .04 [.00, .10]
Overqualification¡person–group fit¡in-role
performance path
High peer overqualification .41 [.22, .57] .03 [.08, .18] .00 [.04, .06]
Low peer overqualification .20 [.06, .28] .00 [.10, .11] .00 [.01, .03]
Difference between low and high .21 [.00, .41] .03 [.12, .18] .00 [.02, .04]
Overqualification¡person–group fit¡OCB path
High peer overqualification .41 [.22, .57] .00 [.14, .14] .08 [.02, .17]
Low peer overqualification .20 [.06, .28] .03 [.16, .11] .04 [.01, .08]
Difference between low and high .21 [.00, .41] .03 [.16, .19] .04 [.01, .11]
Note.CIconfidence interval; OCB organizational citizenship behavior. The analysis was based on 1,000 resamples (Edwards & Lambert, 2007).
The cells in bold indicates significance of the corresponding estimate. P
MX
: Path from the independent variable (i.e., overqualification) to mediator (i.e.,
task significance or person-group fit); P
YM
: Path from the mediator (i.e., task significance or person-group fit) to the dependent variable (i.e., in-role
performance or OCB); P
YX
: Path from the independent variable (i.e., overqualification) to the dependent variable (i.e., in-role performance or OCB).
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
1235
PEER OVERQUALIFICATION
ble and expected during a career change. In addition, employees’
perceptions of overqualification may be affected by or related to
their confidence level, such as self-efficacy or self-esteem. Relat-
edly, individual differences, such as one’s sensitivity to equity,
may influence one’s perceptions of their average peers’ overquali-
fication level. Furthermore, in addition to our focus on task
significance, other task characteristics, such as perceptions of
task variety and task challenge, and feelings of deprivation or
equity, may also influence employees’ psychological reactions
to their overqualification status. Thus, there is still a need for
research to understand individual, group level, organizational,
and societal moderators and mediators. Fourth, although we are
interested in the individual effects of overqualification, it re-
mains an interesting question of how overqualification affects
the performance of a group as a whole. As Sierra (2011) noted,
the influences of overqualification on performance at the indi-
vidual level and a higher level may be different. It is possible
that subgroups may exist in a group and may influence how
individual member interact with others and eventually influence
the whole group’s performance. Finally, our key goal was to
examine how employees’ perceptions of overqualification in-
fluence their attitudes and behaviors. Even though we have
collected additional data to demonstrate that perceived over-
qualification is related to, but distinct from objective overquali-
fication, it remains to be seen whether perceived and objective
overqualification are related to different employee outcomes
(Maltarich et al., 2011). Future efforts are needed to provide a
deeper understanding of the different measures of overqualifi-
cation and their influences on employee outcomes.
References
Adler, P. S., & Kwon, S. (2002). Social capital: Prospects for a new
concept. Academy of Management Review, 27, 17– 40.
Bernstein, M., & Crosby, F. (1980). An empirical examination of relative
deprivation theory. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 16,
442– 456. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0022-1031(80)90050-5
Bewley, T. F. (1999). Why wages do not fall during a recession. Cam-
bridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Bolino, M. C., & Feldman, D. C. (2000). The antecedents and conse-
quences of underemployment among expatriates. Journal of Organiza-
tional Behavior, 21, 889 –911. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/1099-
1379(200012)21:8889::AID-JOB603.0.CO;2-G
Brewer, M. B. (1979). In-group bias in the minimal intergroup situation: A
cognitive motivational analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 86, 307–324.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.86.2.307
Brislin, R. W. (1986). The wording and translation of research instrument.
In W. J. Lonner & J. W. Berry (Eds.), Field methods in cross-cultural
research (pp. 137–164). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Chatman, J. A., & Flynn, F. J. (2001). The influence of demographic
heterogeneity on the emergence and consequences of cooperative norms
in work teams. Academy of Management Journal, 44, 956 –974. http://
dx.doi.org/10.2307/3069440
Corning, A. F. (2000). Assessing perceived social inequity: A relative
deprivation framework. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
78, 463– 477. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.78.3.463
Crosby, F. J. (1976). A model of egoistical relative deprivation. Psycho-
logical Review, 83, 85–113. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.83
.2.85
Crosby, F. J. (1984). Relative deprivation in organizational settings. Re-
search in Organizational Behavior, 6, 51–93.
Davis, J. A. (1959). A formal interpretation of the theory of relative
deprivation. Sociometry, 22, 280 –296. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/
2786046
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). The general causality orientations scale:
Self-determination in personality. Journal of Research in Personality,
19, 109 –134. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0092-6566(85)90023-6
De Dreu, C. K. W. (2006). Rational self-interest and other orientation in
organizational behavior: A critical appraisal and extension of Meglino
and Korsgaard (2004). Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 1245–1252.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.91.6.1245
DeRue, D. S., & Morgeson, F. P. (2007). Stability and change in person-
team and person-role fit over time: The effects of growth satisfaction,
performance, and general self-efficacy. Journal of Applied Psychol-
ogy, 92, 1242–1253. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.92.5.1242
Dodd, N. G., & Ganster, D. C. (1996). The interactive effects of variety,
autonomy, and feedback on attitudes and performance. Journal of Or-
ganizational Behavior, 17, 329 –347. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/
(SICI)1099-1379(199607)17:4329::AID-JOB7543.0.CO;2-B
Edwards, J. R., & Lambert, L. S. (2007). Methods for integrating moder-
ation and mediation: A general analytical framework using moderated
path analysis. Psychological Methods, 12, 1–22. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1037/1082-989X.12.1.1
Ellemers, N., Wilke, H., & van Knippenberg, A. (1993). Effects of the
legitimacy of low group or individual status on individual and col-
lective status-enhancement strategies. Journal of Personality and So-
cial Psychology, 64, 766 –778. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.64
.5.766
Erdogan, B., & Bauer, T. N. (2009). Perceived overqualification and its
outcomes: The moderating role of empowerment. Journal of Applied
Psychology, 94, 557–565. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0013528
Erdogan, B., Bauer, T. N., Peiró, J. M., & Truxillo, D. M. (2011a).
Overqualified employees: Making the best of a potentially bad situation
for individuals and organizations. Industrial and Organizational Psy-
chology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 4, 215–232. http://dx
.doi.org/10.1111/j.1754-9434.2011.01330.x
Erdogan, B., Bauer, T. N., Peiró, J. M., & Truxillo, D. M. (2011b).
Overqualification theory, research, and practice: Things that matter.
Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and
Practice, 4, 260 –267. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1754-9434.2011
.01339.x
Eurostat. (2011). Overqualification rate by age groups and sex. Retrieved
from http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/employment_
social_policy_equality/migrant_integration/indicators
Feldman, D. C. (1984). The development and enforcement of group norms.
The Academy of Management Review, 9, 47–53.
Feldman, D. C., Leana, C. R., & Bolino, M. C. (2002). Underemployment
and relative deprivation among re-employed executives. Journal of
Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 75, 453– 471. http://dx
.doi.org/10.1348/096317902321119682
Feldman, D. C., & Maynard, D. C. (2011). A labor economic perspective
on overqualification. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Per-
spectives on Science and Practice, 4, 233–235. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1111/j.1754-9434.2011.01331.x
Fine, S. (2007). Overqualification and selection in leadership training.
Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 14, 61– 68. http://dx
.doi.org/10.1177/1071791907304291
Fine, S., & Nevo, B. (2008). Too smart for their own good? A study of
perceived cognitive overqualification in the workforce. The Interna-
tional Journal of Human Resource Management, 19, 346 –355. http://
dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585190701799937
Grant, A. M. (2007). Relational job design and the motivation to make a
prosocial difference. The Academy of Management Review, 32, 393–
417. http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/AMR.2007.24351328
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
1236 HU, ERDOGAN, BAUER, JIANG, LIU, AND LI
Grant, A. M. (2008). The significance of task significance: Job perfor-
mance effects, relational mechanisms, and boundary conditions. Journal
of Applied Psychology, 93, 108 –124. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-
9010.93.1.108
Grant, A. M., Campbell, E. M., Chen, G., Cottone, K., Lapedis, D., & Lee,
K. (2007). Impact and the art of motivation maintenance: The effects of
contact with beneficiaries on persistence behavior. Organizational Be-
havior and Human Decision Processes, 103, 53– 67. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1016/j.obhdp.2006.05.004
Grant, A. M., & Shin, J. (2011). Work motivation: Directing, energizing,
and maintaining effort (and research). In R. M. Ryan (Ed.), Oxford
handbook of motivation (pp. 505–519). New York, NY: Oxford Univer-
sity Press.
Guimond, S., & Dambrun, M. (2002). When prosperity breeds intergroup
hostility: The effects of relative deprivation and relative gratification on
prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 900 –912.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/014616720202800704
Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. (1975). Development of the job diag-
nostic survey. Journal of Applied Psychology, 60, 159 –170. http://dx
.doi.org/10.1037/h0076546
Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. (1976). Motivation through the design of
work: Test of a theory. Organizational Behavior and Human Perfor-
mance, 16, 250 –279. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0030-5073(76)90016-7
Hofstede, G. (1984). Culture’s consequences: International differences in
work-related values. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Hogg, M. A., Turner, J. C., & Davidson, B. (1990). Polarized norms and
social frames of reference: A test of the self-categorization theory of
group polarization. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 11, 77–100.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15324834basp1101_6
Holtom, B. C., Lee, T. W., & Tidd, S. T. (2002). The relationship between
work status congruence and work-related attitudes and behaviors. Jour-
nal of Applied Psychology, 87, 903–915. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-
9010.87.5.903
Hu, J., & Liden, R. C. (in press). Making a difference in the teamwork:
Linking team prosocial motivation to team processes and effectiveness.
Academy of Management Journal.
Ilies, R., Wagner, D. T., & Morgeson, F. P. (2007). Explaining affective
linkages in teams: Individual differences in susceptibility to contagion
and individualism-collectivism. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92,
1140 –1148.
Johnson, G. J., & Johnson, W. R. (1996). Perceived overqualification and
psychological well-being. The Journal of Social Psychology, 136, 435–
445. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00224545.1996.9714025
Johnson, G. J., & Johnson, W. R. (1997). Perceived overqualification,
emotional support, and health. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 27,
1906 –1918. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.1997.tb01631.x
Johnson, G. J., & Johnson, W. R. (1999). Perceived overqualification and
health: A longitudinal analysis. The Journal of Social Psychology, 139,
14 –28.
Johnson, G. J., & Johnson, W. R. (2000). Perceived overqualification,
positive and negative affectivity, and satisfaction with work. Journal of
Social Behavior and Personality, 15, 167–184.
Johnson, W. R., Morrow, P. C., & Johnson, G. J. (2002). An evaluation of
a perceived overqualification scale across work settings. The Journal
of Psychology, 136, 425– 441. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/
00223980209604169
Judge, T. A., & Ferris, G. R. (1992). The elusive criterion of fit in human
resource staffing decisions. Human Resource Planning, 15, 47– 67.
Khan, L. J., & Morrow, P. C. (1991). Objective and subjective underem-
ployment relationships to job satisfaction. Journal of Business Research,
22, 211–218. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0148-2963(91)90002-F
King, W. L., & Hautaluoma, J. E. (1987). Comparison of job satisfaction,
life satisfaction, and performance of overeducated and other workers.
The Journal of Social Psychology, 127, 421– 433. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1080/00224545.1987.9713727
Kristof, A. L. (1996). Person-organization fit: An integrative review of its
conceptualizations, measurement, and implications. Personnel Psychol-
ogy, 49, 1– 49. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.1996.tb01790.x
Kristof-Brown, A. L., Zimmerman, R. D., & Johnson, E. C. (2005).
Consequences of individuals’ fit at work: A meta-analysis of person–job,
person– organization, person–group, and person–supervisor fit. Person-
nel Psychology, 58, 281–342. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570
.2005.00672.x
Liden, R. C., Wayne, S. J., & Stilwell, D. (1993). A longitudinal study on
the early development of leader–member exchanges. Journal of Applied
Psychology, 78, 662– 674. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.78.4
.662
Lobene, E. V., & Meade, A. W. (2013). The effects of career calling and
perceived overqualification on work outcomes for primary and second-
ary school teachers. Journal of Career Development, 40, 508 –530.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0894845313495512
Luksyte, A., Spitzmueller, C., & Maynard, D. C. (2011). Why do over-
qualified incumbents deviate? Examining multiple mediators. Journal of
Occupational Health Psychology, 16, 279 –296. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1037/a0022709
Maltarich, M. A., Reilly, G., & Nyberg, A. J. (2011). Objective and
subjective overqualification: Distinctions, relationships, and a place for
each in the literature. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Per-
spectives on Science and Practice, 4, 236 –239. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1111/j.1754-9434.2011.01332.x
Mark, M. M., & Folger, R. (1984). Responses to relative deprivation: A
conceptual framework. Review of Personality and Social Psychology, 5,
192–218.
Martin, J., Brickman, P., & Murray, A. (1984). Moral outrage and prag-
matism: Explanations for collective action. Journal of Experimental
Social Psychology, 20, 484 – 496. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0022-
1031(84)90039-8
Maynard, D. C., Joseph, T. A., & Maynard, A. M. (2006). Underemploy-
ment, job attitudes, and turnover intentions. Journal of Organizational
Behavior, 27, 509 –536. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/job.389
Morrison, E. W., & Phelps, C. C. (1999). Taking charge at work: Extrarole
efforts to initiate workplace change. Academy of Management Journal,
42, 403– 419. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/257011
Mummendey, A., Kessler, T., Klink, A., & Mielke, R. (1999). Strategies
to cope with negative social identity: Predictions by social identity
theory and relative deprivation theory. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, 76, 229 –245. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514
.76.2.229
Oh, H., Chung, M., & Labianca, G. (2004). Group social capital and
group effectiveness: The role of informal socializing ties. Academy of
Management Journal, 47, 860 – 875. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/
20159627
Peiró, J. M., Agut, S., & Grau, R. (2010). The relationship between
overeducation and job satisfaction among young Spanish workers: The
role of salary, contract of employment, and work experience. Journal of
Applied Social Psychology, 40, 666 – 689. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j
.1559-1816.2010.00592.x
Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models:
Applications and data analysis methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage.
Salancik, G. R., & Pfeffer, J. (1978). A social information processing
approach to job attitudes and task design. Administrative Science Quar-
terly, 23, 224 –253. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2392563
Shultz, K. S., Olson, D. A., & Wang, M. (2011). Overqualified employees:
Perspectives of older workers. Industrial and Organizational Psychol-
ogy: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 4, 247–249. http://dx.doi
.org/10.1111/j.1754-9434.2011.01335.x
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
1237
PEER OVERQUALIFICATION
Sierra, M. J. (2011). A multilevel approach to understanding employee
overqualification. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspec-
tives on Science and Practice, 4, 243–246. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j
.1754-9434.2011.01334.x
Vedder, R., Denhart, C., & Robe, J. (2013). Why are recent college
graduates underemployed? University enrollment and labor market re-
alities. Retrieved from http://centerforcollegeaffordability.org/uploads/
Underemployed%20Report%202.pdf
Wagner, J. A., III. (1995). Studies of individualism-collectivism: Effects
on cooperation in groups. Academy of Management Journal, 38, 152–
172.
Walker, I., & Pettigrew, T. F. (1984). Relative deprivation theory: An
overview and conceptual critique. British Journal of Social Psychology,
23, 301–310. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8309.1984.tb00645.x
World Bank. (2012). Unemployment, total (% of total labor force) (mod-
eled ILO estimate). Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/
SL.UEM.TOTL.ZS
Received April 3, 2014
Revision received November 6, 2014
Accepted November 14, 2014
Members of Underrepresented Groups:
Reviewers for Journal Manuscripts Wanted
If you are interested in reviewing manuscripts for APA journals, the APA Publications and
Communications Board would like to invite your participation. Manuscript reviewers are vital to the
publications process. As a reviewer, you would gain valuable experience in publishing. The P&C
Board is particularly interested in encouraging members of underrepresented groups to participate
more in this process.
If you are interested in reviewing manuscripts, please write APA Journals at Reviewers@apa.org.
Please note the following important points:
To be selected as a reviewer, you must have published articles in peer-reviewed journals. The
experience of publishing provides a reviewer with the basis for preparing a thorough, objective
review.
To be selected, it is critical to be a regular reader of the five to six empirical journals that are most
central to the area or journal for which you would like to review. Current knowledge of recently
published research provides a reviewer with the knowledge base to evaluate a new submission
within the context of existing research.
To select the appropriate reviewers for each manuscript, the editor needs detailed information.
Please include with your letter your vita. In the letter, please identify which APA journal(s) you
are interested in, and describe your area of expertise. Be as specific as possible. For example,
“social psychology” is not sufficient—you would need to specify “social cognition” or “attitude
change” as well.
Reviewing a manuscript takes time (1– 4 hours per manuscript reviewed). If you are selected to
review a manuscript, be prepared to invest the necessary time to evaluate the manuscript
thoroughly.
APA now has an online video course that provides guidance in reviewing manuscripts. To learn
more about the course and to access the video, visit http://www.apa.org/pubs/authors/review-
manuscript-ce-video.aspx.
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
1238 HU, ERDOGAN, BAUER, JIANG, LIU, AND LI
Article
Full-text available
This study tries to examine the relationship between perceived overqualification and extra-role behaviours; conducted on the basis of person-environment fit and sense-making theories, the research tests how organizational tenure moderates this relationship. The respondents consisted of 320 white-collar workers employed by firms operating in the private sector of North Cyprus. Data regarding perceived overqualification and organizational tenure were collected from the employees at time-1 and extra-role behaviours were asked to supervisors at time-2. The data were analysed using hierarchical regression in addition to slope analysis. It is found that perceived overqualification asserts a significantly negative effect on extra-role behaviours while organizational tenure moderates this relationship. The study demonstrates that overqualified employees do not participate in extra-role behaviours when they sense that their capacities are excessive for their job demands and the negative correlation between perceived overqualification and extra-role behaviours is stronger for long-tenured employees than for short-tenured ones. The research emphasizes that managers can design HRM practices according to different employee needs to reduce perceptions of overqualification and promoting extra-role behaviours.
Article
Drawing on the social cognitive theory of self‐regulation, we proposed a model considering an inverted U‐shaped relationship between perceived overqualification and constructive voice. We reasoned from the theory that this curvilinear effect would be moderated by leader consultation, which could intensify the upward curvilinear trend and neutralize the downward curvilinear trend, and be mediated by work engagement. We conducted two studies to test our model. In Study 1, based on a three‐wave time‐lagged sample of 293 employees and 120 supervisors, we found an inverted U‐shaped relationship between perceived overqualification and constructive voice, which was moderated by leader consultation. In Study 2, we examined the proposed mediated moderation model using a sample of 231 matched leader–subordinate dyads. We found that, at lower levels, perceived overqualification has a positive association with constructive voice, which is mediated by work engagement, especially at higher leader consultation. At higher levels, perceived overqualification has a negative association with work engagement and thus constructive voice, especially at lower levels of leader consultation. The implications of our research are discussed.
Data
Full-text available
Although the importance of team motivation has been increasingly emphasized, few studies have focused on prosocial motivation. Integrating theories on team effectiveness with prosocial motivation, we propose a theoretical model that links team prosocial motivation to team effectiveness as mediated by team processes. Team process is captured through the task-driven process of team cooperation and the affect-based team viability, and team effectiveness is operationalized as team performance, team organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), and team voluntary turnover. The model is tested in Study 1, a field study with three-source data collected from 310 members of 67 work teams over four time periods, and Study 2, a laboratory experiment with 124 four-person teams in which team prosocial motivation is manipulated. In Studies 1 and 2, we find support for indirect effects of team prosocial motivation on team performance and team OCB through the mediating role of team cooperation. Team voluntary turnover is indirectly affected by team prosocial motivation through team viability. Furthermore, in both studies the indirect effects of team prosocial motivation on team performance and team OCB through team cooperation and on team voluntary turnover through team viability are stronger when the nature of the teams’ work requires greater task interdependence.
Article
Full-text available
Although the importance of team motivation has been increasingly emphasized, few studies have focused on prosocial motivation. Integrating theories on team effectiveness with prosocial motivation, we propose a theoretical model that links team prosocial motivation to team effectiveness as mediated by team processes. Team process is captured through the task-driven process of team cooperation and the affect-based team viability, and team effectiveness is operationalized as team performance, team organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), and team voluntary turnover. The model is tested in Study 1, a field study with three-source data collected from 310 members of 67 work teams over four time periods, and Study 2, a laboratory experiment with 124 four-person teams in which team prosocial motivation is manipulated. In Studies 1 and 2, we find support for indirect effects of team prosocial motivation on team performance and team OCB through the mediating role of team cooperation. Team voluntary turnover is indirectly affected by team prosocial motivation through team viability. Furthermore, in both studies the indirect effects of team prosocial motivation on team performance and team OCB through team cooperation and on team voluntary turnover through team viability are stronger when the nature of the teams' work requires greater task interdependence.
Article
Full-text available
In this study, we investigated a neglected form of extrarole behavior called taking charge and sought to understand factors that motivate employees to engage in this activity. Taking charge is discretionary behavior intended to effect organizationally functional change. We obtained both self-report and coworker data for 275 white-collar employees from different organizations. Taking charge, as reported by coworkers, related to felt responsibility, self-efficacy, and perceptions of top management openness. These results expand current understanding of extrarole behavior and suggest ways in which organizations can motivate employees to go beyond the boundaries of their jobs to bring about positive change.
A model is proposed that specifies the conditions under which individuals will become internally motivated to perform effectively on their jobs. The model focuses on the interaction among three classes of variables: (a) the psychological states of employees that must be present for internally motivated work behavior to develop; (b) the characteristics of jobs that can create these psychological states; and (c) the attributes of individuals that determine how positively a person will respond to a complex and challenging job. The model was tested for 658 employees who work on 62 different jobs in seven organizations, and results support its validity. A number of special features of the model are discussed (including its use as a basis for the diagnosis of jobs and the evaluation of job redesign projects), and the model is compared to other theories of job design.
Article
In previous theory and research dealing with relative deprivation (RD), the role of relative gratification (RG), the opposite of RD, was relatively overlooked. Two experiments (N = 245) tested the impact of both RD and RG on prejudice toward socially significant outgroups. Experiment 1 manipulated temporal RD and RG by confronting participants to declining (RD) or improving (RG) job opportunities and found no effect of RD on prejudice but reliable effects of RG. Experiment 2 manipulated group RD and RG and found increased levels of generalized prejudice in both conditions while participants in the group RG condition showed, in addition, increased ingroup bias, greater willingness to support and act in favor of restrictive immigration policies, and higher social dominance orientation than the control group. These findings confirm the role of group RD and establish RG as an equally important, if not more central, variable in the psychology of intergroup relations. © 2002 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
Article
Studies that combine moderation and mediation are prevalent in basic and applied psychology research. Typically, these studies are framed in terms of moderated mediation or mediated moderation, both of which involve similar analytical approaches. Unfortunately, these approaches have important shortcomings that conceal the nature of the moderated and the mediated effects under investigation. This article presents a general analytical framework for combining moderation and mediation that integrates moderated regression analysis and path analysis. This framework clarifies how moderator variables influence the paths that constitute the direct, indirect, and total effects of mediated models. The authors empirically illustrate this framework and give step-by-step instructions for estimation and interpretation. They summarize the advantages of their framework over current approaches, explain how it subsumes moderated mediation and mediated moderation, and describe how it can accommodate additional moderator and mediator variables, curvilinear relationships, and structural equation models with latent variables.
Article
This chapter provides an overview of contemporary research on work motivation. We start by identifying the central premises, controversies, and unanswered questions related to five core theoretical perspectives on work motivation: expectancy theory, equity theory, goal-setting theory, job design, and self-determination theory. We then discuss four current topics and new directions: collective motivation and organizing, temporal dynamics, creativity, and the effects of rewards.
Article
Data from 492 college students indicated that group size and individuals' identifiability, sense of shared responsibility, and levels of individualism or collectivism influenced peer-rated cooperation in classroom groups. Levels of individualism or collectivism moderated the effects of size and identifiability on cooperation but not those of shared responsibility. These findings suggest that models of free riding and social loafing provide insights into individualistic cooperation in groups but are limited in their ability to explain the cooperation of collectivists.
Article
Drawing from social categorization theory, we found that greater demographic heterogeneity led to group norms emphasizing lower cooperation among student teams and officers from ten business units of a financial services firm. This effect faded over time. Perceptions of team norms among those more demographically different from their work group changed more, becoming more cooperative, as a function of contact with other members. Finally, cooperative norms mediated the relationship between group composition and work outcomes.