Their studies involved MBA students engaging in a variety of negotiations tasks.They showed that individuals who behaved cooperatively attained a more positive reputation, but only if they were socially embedded in the group.As renowned neuroscientist, Michael Gazzaniga, has noted, “When you get up in the morning, you do not think about triangles and squares and these similes that psychologists have been using for the past 100 years. You think about where you are in relation to your peers.” Between CEO and employee, quarterback and wide receiver, husband and wife, status looms large.
This research, recently summarized in an article by psychologists, Cameron Anderson and Gavin J Kilduff, shows that those who are effective in attaining status do so through behaving generously and helpfully to bolster their value to their group.
In other words, low-status individuals’ aggressive and violent behavior is precisely the opposite of what they should be doing to ascend the societal totem pole.
Not content with merely looking at the United States, Henry analyzed data from 92 countries around the world, to find a replication of this pattern.
From Albania to Zimbabwe, greater status disparities predicted greater levels of violence.
Demonstrating your value to a group—whether through competence or selflessness—appears to improve status.