Harming high performers: A social comparison perspective on interpersonal harming in work teams

Catherine K. Lam*, Gerben S. Van der Vegt, Frank Walter, Xu Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study developed a multilevel model of the interpersonal harming behavior associated with social comparison processes in work teams. We tested this model using temporally lagged data from a sample of student teams (Study 1) and cross-sectional data from a sample of work teams in a telecommunication services company (Study 2). In both studies, social relations analyses revealed that in teams with less cooperative goals, comparison to a higher performing team member was positively associated with interpersonal harming behavior, but only when expectations of future performance similarity to that member were low. The interactive relationship of social comparison and expected future performance similarity with interpersonal harming was buffered, however, in teams with more cooperative goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-601
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Volume96
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Applied Psychology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cooperative team goals
  • Interpersonal harming behavior
  • Social comparison

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