Master of Science
Benson, Alex J.
Team performance can be impaired when two team members both believe they outrank one another in status (upward-status disagreement; USD; Kilduff et al., 2016). Drawing from the narcissistic admiration and rivalry concept (Back et al., 2013), the current study examined how two forms of narcissism distinctively relate to USDs across a team’s lifecycle. Gathering data at four time points, I studied over 126 small task teams from inception to dissolution. The results indicate that narcissistic admiration did not predict one’s status perception tendency or absolute status. However, narcissistic admiration predicted the number of USDs one experiences during team formation and before team dissolution. Narcissistic rivalry predicted other-status derogation across all time points and a decrease in absolute status over time. Moreover, narcissistic rivalry predicted the number of USDs one experiences during team formation. My thesis highlights how both forms of narcissism may lead to undesirable social outcomes.
Summary for Lay Audience
Upward-status disagreement describes a situation in which two team members both believe they rank higher than each other in status. Such disagreement over status can occur frequently and undermine team performance, yet we know little about the factors contributing to it. This study examined how two dimensions of narcissism, namely admiration and rivalry, may uniquely contribute to the occurrence of upward-status disagreement across a team’s lifecycle. Entailing distinctive status attainment strategy and social consequences, admiration and rivalry reflect the agentic and antagonistic aspects of narcissism respectively. To better understand the effect of narcissism on upward-status disagreement, distinctive status perception tendencies and status dynamics associated with each dimension of narcissism were also investigated.
To evaluate the effect of narcissism on upward-status disagreement across time, I collected data from student project teams at Western University. Data were collected at four time points while students worked virtually on their projects for four months. Team members’ ratings and rankings of their own and each other’s status were assessed three times: during initial group interaction, in the middle of the term, and before the project deadline. Narcissism and other demographic information were assessed before team formation.
Overall, people higher in narcissistic admiration accurately perceived their own and others’ status and did not obtain particularly high or low status. However, these people were involved in more upward-status disagreement during initial group interaction and when the project deadline approached compared to those lower in narcissistic admiration. People higher in narcissistic rivalry persistently underestimated others’ status and occupied low status. They also experienced more upward-status disagreement during initial group interaction compared to those lower in this trait. This research provides insight into a contributing factor of upward-status disagreement and furthers our understanding of the unique perception tendency and status trajectories associated with each dimension of narcissism.
Xu, Tianyue, "How Narcissism Relates to Social Rank Dynamics in Teams" (2022). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8649.