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ERIC Number: EJ797040
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jan
Pages: 14
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0749-5978
Rankings, Standards, and Competition: Task vs. Scale Comparisons
Garcia, Stephen M.; Tor, Avishalom
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, v102 n1 p95-108 Jan 2007
Research showing how upward social comparison breeds competitive behavior has so far conflated local comparisons in "task" performance (e.g. a test score) with comparisons on a more general "scale" (i.e. an underlying skill). Using a ranking methodology (Garcia, Tor, & Gonzalez, 2006) to separate task and scale comparisons, Studies 1-2 reveal that an upward comparison on the "scale" (e.g. being surpassed in rank), rather than in the mere "task" (e.g., being outperformed), is necessary to generate competition among rivals proximate to a standard (e.g. ranked #3 vs. 4, near "the top"); rivals far from a standard (e.g. ranked #203 vs. 204), on the other hand, still tend to cooperate. Study 3 illustrates this finding with player trades in Major League Baseball. Study 4 further shows how an implicit scale comparison, instead of the commonly assumed explicit "task" comparison, may account for those classical competition findings in the literature. Study 5 then reveals how scale ranking becomes all important in the proximity of a standard, leading rivals to tolerate even an upward "scale" comparison to increase their proximity to the standard. Implications for the increasingly popular "forced ranking" management systems (e.g., at "General Electric") are also discussed. (Contains 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A