Any single competition is rarely a "one-off" event and instead is often part of a larger sequence of related competitions. Thus, we contend that in order to better understand people's competitive experiences, we must take a more holistic view, where their experiences and behaviors in the present are a function of their past and expected future outcomes. This research expands the temporal lens of competition by examining how past outcomes (i.e., winning vs. losing streak) and future expectations (i.e., underdog vs. favorite standing) collectively influence an actor's cognitive and affective reactions to a competition, with implications for their willingness to transgress. Studies 1 (fantasy football managers) and 2 (the English Premiere League teams) show that streaks and underdog vs. favorite standing interact to predict competitive transgressions: winning streaks increase transgressions for underdogs, and losing streaks increase transgressions for favorites. Studies 3 (public defenders) and 4 (Democrats and Republicans) experimentally manipulate streaks and standing and unpack the cognitive (i.e., outcome uncertainty) and affective (i.e., excitement for underdogs, and anxiety for favorites)mechanisms that precipitate these transgressions. Theoretical implications for the competition literature, as well asmanagerial insights, are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation