How comparatively high performers' humility lessens member envy and witholding behaviors

Erica XU, Bonnie Hayden Cheng, Xu HUANG, Man Nok WONG, Kan Ouyang

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

    Abstract

    Comparatively high performers are valuable assets in an organization, yet one unintended
    consequence of working with comparatively high performers is the development of feelings of envy
    among team members. Although past research has considered active or harmful consequences of
    envy, an overlooked yet prevalent reaction to feelings of envy is to distance oneself from the
    comparatively high performer. Drawing from the social comparison literature, we propose a model of
    work-related interactions with comparatively high performers at the dyadic level. In particular, we
    propose a model of how a comparatively high-performing team member elicits envy in another
    member, and how the feeling of envy leads to two distancing behaviors: lower advice seeking and
    lower knowledge sharing. Further, we consider how a comparatively high performer’s expressed
    humility can mitigate feelings of envy in team members, thus dampening the cycle of envy before it
    begins. In a sample of 245 employees from 48 work groups, social relations analyses revealed that a
    comparatively high performer on a team elicited envy from a focal team member, and this caused the
    focal member to have lower levels of advice seeking from and knowledge sharing with the
    comparatively high-performing member. Fortunately, the comparatively high-performing member’s
    expressed humility mitigated feelings of envy in the focal team member, serving as one solution that
    can help alleviate unfavorable social comparisons.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - May 2019
    Event19th European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP) Congress
    - Turin, Italy
    Duration: 29 May 20191 Jun 2019

    Congress

    Congress19th European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP) Congress
    Country/TerritoryItaly
    CityTurin
    Period29/05/191/06/19

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