Only when others are watching: The contingent efforts of high status group members

Robert B. Lount, Sarah P. Doyle, Sebastien Brion, Nathan C. Pettit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This research examines how an individual's place in the status hierarchy affects their willingness to expend effort on group tasks, why this occurs, and a contingency governing this relationship. Among firefighter teams (Study 1), MBA student workgroups (Study 2), and undergraduates in the laboratory (Study 3), we find that the relationship between status and effort, through performance expectations, is contingent on the perceived visibility of one's efforts (i.e., task visibility). When task visibility is high, greater status leads to higher performance expectations. When task visibility is low or absent, this relationship was not present. Overall, our findings help paint a more complete picture of the relationship between status, performance expectations, and effort in workgroups while also furthering our understanding of the psychological experience of status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3382-3397
Number of pages16
JournalManagement Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • Behavior
  • Motivation
  • Organization studies
  • Performance
  • Status
  • Workgroups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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