Achievers, Not Winners: On the Negative Role of Guilt Proneness in Competitive Settings

Uriel Haran, Dina van Dijk, Michal Barina, Mor Krief, Stav Rosenzweig

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

Guilt proneness is associated with high work intensity and job performance, by enhancing personal and interpersonal motives. However, at many work settings, competitive goals place personal achievement and interpersonal motives at odds. We propose that guilt proneness hampers, rather than bolsters, goal pursuit in competitive settings. We tested our prediction in one lab experiment and two field studies. In the lab, guilt proneness increased participants’ preference to play a game individually over competing with other participants (Study 1). In the field, we found that high guilt proneness of physicians predicted higher achievement motivation but lower competitive motivation, which resulted in a lower preference for specializing in medical fields characterized by competitive values (Study 2). Similarly, amateur catchball players with high guilt proneness displayed lower competitive motivation, and preferred an equal distribution of playing time over a scheme focused on winning (Study 3). These results demonstrate that the same individual attribute generally responsible for high motivation and performance also predicts lower motivation to compete and a lower desire to win.
Original languageEnglish
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Event81st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management 2021: Bringing the Manager Back in Management, AoM 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 29 Jul 20214 Aug 2021

Conference

Conference81st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management 2021: Bringing the Manager Back in Management, AoM 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Period29/07/214/08/21

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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