Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2597626
 


 



Humblebragging: A Distinct – And Ineffective – Self-Presentation Strategy


Ovul Sezer


Harvard Business School

Francesca Gino


Harvard University - Harvard Business School

Michael I. Norton


Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit

April 20, 2015

Harvard Business School Marketing Unit Working Paper No. 15-080
Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 15-080

Abstract:     
Humblebragging – bragging masked by a complaint – is a distinct and, given the rise of social media, increasingly ubiquitous form of self-promotion. We show that although people often choose to humblebrag when motivated to make a good impression, it is an ineffective self-promotional strategy. Five studies offer both correlational and causal evidence that humblebragging has both global costs – reducing liking and perceived sincerity – and specific costs: it is even ineffective in signaling the specific trait that that a person wants to promote. Moreover, humblebragging is less effective than simply complaining, because complainers are at least seen as sincere. Despite people’s belief that combining bragging and complaining confers the benefits of both self-promotion strategies, humblebragging fails to pay off.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 30

Keywords: Humblebragging, impression management, self-promotion, sincerity


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Date posted: April 24, 2015  

Suggested Citation

Sezer, Ovul and Gino, Francesca and Norton, Michael I., Humblebragging: A Distinct – And Ineffective – Self-Presentation Strategy (April 20, 2015). Harvard Business School Marketing Unit Working Paper No. 15-080; Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 15-080. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2597626 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2597626

Contact Information

Ovul Sezer
Harvard Business School ( email )
Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States
Francesca Gino
Harvard University - Harvard Business School ( email )
Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States
Michael I. Norton (Contact Author)
Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit ( email )
Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States
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