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Pittarello, Andrea (2014) You can't be better than me: The role of feedback in modulating people's pursuit of wealth. [Tesi di dottorato]

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Abstract (inglese)

Goal of this present work is to investigate the effect of different sources of social comparison on people’s tendency to maximize their payoff when facing ambiguous situations. Based on social comparison processes theory (Festinger, 1954) and on its more recent developments (Buckingham & Alicke, 2002; Garcia, Tor, & Gonzalez, 2006, Garcia & Tor, 2007), three experiments were built with the goal of manipulating participants’ social status compared to similar others. To this purpose, I adopted two different ways to communicate participants’ information about their standing. Experiment 1 adopts aggregate feedback and compares the tendency to take advantage of ambiguous situations, namely, scenarios in which it was possible to select among different payoffs, between participants scoring consistently above and below the average score of a reference group. Building on Experiment 1, Experiment 2 adopts relative feedback (ranking), and compares the economic behavior of participants’ ranking consistently second-best to that of participants ranking second-last within a group of five students. Lastly, Experiment 3, built on the previous two experiments, directly compares aggregate and relative feedback among participants ranking above the average and always in first position. Furthermore, Experiment 3 tests a possible mediator of the relationship between different feedback and participants’ tendency to maximize their earnings. To summarize, the results emerged across the three experiments demonstrate that when information about specific others’ performance is not provided, participants ranking above the average exploit ambiguous situations to a lower extent compared to participants scoring below the average (Experiment 1). Yet, when precise and detailed information about individuals’ positions within a group is specified (ranking), aggregate sources of comparisons are no longer taken into account. Participants always in second position and in fourth position (Experiment 2), not only exploited ambiguous trials, but also exhibited unethical behavior to increase their total payoff. Lastly, Experiment 3 explains how participants ranking always first and above the average differ in their tendency to maximize their earnings. The contribution of this work is twofold. On the one hand, it extends literature on social comparisons (Festinger, 1954) and rankings (Garcia et al., 2006) in the economic domain, showing that different source of feedback prompts not only competition but also the exploitation of grey areas. On the other hand, the results described in the three experiments suggest that identify the correct way to communicate performances is important and represents a delicate factor, that if not used appropriately can foster negative behaviors within groups and organizations.

Abstract (italiano)

Obiettivo di questo lavoro è investigare l’effetto di diverse fonti di confronti sociali sulla tendenza delle persone a massimizzare i profitti di fronte a situazioni ambigue. Sulla base della teoria del confronto sociale (Festinger, 1954), e sviluppati intorno ai suoi recenti sviluppi (Buckingham & Alicke, 2002; Garcia, Tor, & Gonzalez, 2006; Garcia & Tor, 2007), tre esperimenti sono stati costruiti con l’obiettivo di manipolare lo status sociale dei partecipanti in relazione ad altri simili. A tal fine, si sono confrontate due differenti modalità di comunicazione dell’informazione relative allo status sociale. L’Esperimento 1 adotta un feedback aggregato, e confronta la tendenza ad approfittare di situazione ambigue, ovverosia situazioni nelle quali è possibile scegliere differenti ricompense, da parte di partecipanti costantemente sotto e sopra il punteggio medio di un gruppo di riferimento. L’Esperimento 2, costruito sulla base dell’esperimento 1, adotta invece un feedback relativo (ranking), e confronta il comportamento economico di partecipanti sempre in seconda posizione con quello di partecipanti sempre in penultima posizione all’interno di un gruppo di altri quattro studenti. Infine, il terzo esperimento, mantenendo la stessa struttura dei precedenti, confronta in modo diretto feedback aggregato e relativo, andando a paragonare il comportamento economico di partecipanti costantemente sopra la media e sempre in prima posizione. Inoltre, l’Esperimento 3 testa un possibile mediatore della relazione tra differenti tipi di feedback e la tendenza alla massimizzazione dei guadagni. Nel complesso, i risultati dimostrano che quando non sono fornite informazioni relative ad altri individui specifici, partecipanti sopra la media tendono ad approfittare in misura minore di situazioni ambigue rispetto a coloro sotto la media (Esperimento 1). Tuttavia, quando sono fornite informazioni più precise e dettagliate in relazione allo status all’interno di un gruppo (ranking), misure di confronto aggregate non vengono più prese in considerazione. Partecipanti sempre in seconda e in penultima posizione (Esperimento 2) e sempre in prima posizione (Esperimento 3), non solo dimostrano di approfittare di situazioni ambigue, ma allo stesso tempo infrangono le regole con l’obbiettvo di guadagnare una somma di denaro maggiore. Infine, l’Esperimento 3 dimostra che la precisione dell’informazione relativa alla posizione nei confronti di altri simili, spiega la differente tendenza alla massimizzazione dei profitti tra partecipanti sopra la media e sempre in prima posizione. Il contributo di tale lavoro è duplice. Da un lato estende la teoria del confronto sociale (Festinger, 1954) e quella sui ranking (Garcia et al., 2006) in ambito economico, mostrando come differenti sorgenti di confronto sociale non solo promuovono comportamenti competitivi, ma influenzano anche la tendenza ad interpretare situazioni economiche ambigue a proprio vantaggio. In secondo luogo, i risultati emersi nei tre esperimenti suggeriscono che indentificare la modalità corretta di comunicare performances raggiunte rappresenta un fattore delicato, che se utilizzato in modo errato può alimentare comportamenti dannosi all’interno di gruppi e organizzazioni.








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Tipo di EPrint:Tesi di dottorato
Relatore:Levorato, Chiara - Rumiati, Rino
Dottorato (corsi e scuole):Ciclo 26 > Scuole 26 > SCIENZE PSICOLOGICHE
Data di deposito della tesi:25 Gennaio 2014
Anno di Pubblicazione:25 Gennaio 2014
Parole chiave (italiano / inglese):social comparison, wealth, ranking, feedback
Settori scientifico-disciplinari MIUR:Area 11 - Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche > M-PSI/04 Psicologia dello sviluppo e psicologia dell'educazione
Struttura di riferimento:Dipartimenti > Dipartimento di Psicologia dello Sviluppo e della Socializzazione
Codice ID:6363
Depositato il:24 Apr 2015 17:47
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