Workplace status differences and proactive behaviours: The role of perceived insider status and promotion criterion

ZQ Liu, X Ouyang, TY Kim, Y Chen

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Abstract

Status difference is prevalent within working groups, profoundly influencing employees' perceptions and behaviours towards coworkers and their groups. Despite this ubiquity, exploring the effects of status difference within groups remains relatively underexamined. Drawing on social identity theory, this study examined how and when horizontal status difference (i.e., status comparison between a focal employee and his/her peers) and vertical status difference (i.e., status comparison between a focal employee and his/her leader) influence employees' perceived insider status and proactive behaviour. Results from 421 employees across 113 working groups indicated that horizontal status difference was positively related to perceived insider status, but vertical status difference had a curvilinear effect on perceived insider status. Furthermore, perceived insider status significantly mediated the impact of horizontal and vertical status differences on proactive behaviour. We also demonstrated that promotion criteria significantly moderated the relationship between horizontal status difference and perceived insider status; in particular, this relationship was stronger when organizations used a relative rather than an absolute promotion criterion.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Early online date18 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Proactive behaviour
  • Promotion criteria
  • Social identity theory
  • Status difference

Indexed by

  • ABDC-A
  • SSCI

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