Title page for ETD etd-06012006-103009

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Henagan, Stephanie Case
Author's Email Address shenagan@niu.edu
URN etd-06012006-103009
Title The Perils of Workplace Recognition: Antecedents and Consequences of Discomfort Associated with Being the Target of Threatening Upward Comparisons
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Management (Business Administration)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Arthur G. Bedeian Committee Chair
Hettie A. Richardson Committee Member
Kevin W. Mossholder Committee Member
Timothy D. Chandler Committee Member
Janet L. McDonald Dean's Representative
  • sttuc
  • workplace recognition
  • social comparison
  • outperformance
Date of Defense 2006-04-24
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation explores theoretical links among interpersonal, perceptual, and situational variables and sensitivity about being the target of threatening upward comparisons (STTUC) within a workplace setting. It also investigates affective and behavioral responses outperformers may enact to decrease effects thought to be associated with STTUC. Because of the novelty of investigating STTUC in a field sample, the actual nature of the relationships among STTUC and the focal study variables were examined in multiple ways. Specifically, workplace outperformers’ interpersonal sensitivity, empathic concern, and competitive psychological climate, along with actual threat experienced by the outperformed, were all expected to increase the likelihood that outperformers would experience STTUC, and STTUC was, in turn, expected to result in the use of appeasement and avoidance behaviors, propensity for socially motivated underachievement, and decreased preference for public recognition. Additionally, direct linkages between the antecedents and consequences were expected, as well as post-hoc hypotheses predicting these direct relationships would actually be moderated by STTUC. Results suggested empathic concern, competitive psychological climate, and threat experienced by the outperformed were antecedents to STTUC and had direct relationships with many of the study’s consequences. STTUC was not found to be directly related to the study’s consequences, but it did serve as a moderating variable for the relationships between the antecedents interpersonal sensitivity, empathic concern, and threat and several of the consequences. These results provide researchers and practitioners with insights into which factors influence outperformers’ STTUC, as well as highlight the important role STTUC plays in determining outperformers’ reactions to being upward comparison targets.
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