Professor of Organisational Behaviour
Affirmation; Intragroup Processes; Performance Quality ;Self-threat; Status; Status Loss; Q31314 ;
The authors investigate how initial status position influences the quality of task performance in the aftermath of status loss.The authors argue that despite the benefits of having status, high-status individuals experience more self-threat and, consequently, have more difficulty performing well after status loss than do low-status individuals who experience a comparable loss of status.In a field study of professional baseball players (Study 1), the authors found that while low-status players' performance quality was unaffected by status loss, the quality of high-status players' performance declined significantly after losing status. In a high-involvement group experiment (Study 2) the authors found that high-status individuals who lost status were less proficient than both high-status individuals who did not lose status, and low-status individuals who lost a comparable amount of status. However, supporting the proposed self-threat mediation, self-affirmation restored the quality of high-status individuals' performance (Study 3).The authors discuss the practical and theoretical implications of these findings.