When Overconfidence Is Revealed to Others: Testing the Status-Enhancement Theory of Overconfidence

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 122 (2), 266-279, September 2013

Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 2532697

14 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2014

See all articles by Jessica Kennedy

Jessica Kennedy

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior

Cameron Anderson

University of California, Berkeley - Organizational Behavior & Industrial Relations Group; University of California, Berkeley

Don A. Moore

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

The status-enhancement theory of overconfidence proposes that overconfidence pervades self-judgment because it helps people attain higher social status. Prior work has found that highly confident individuals attained higher status regardless of whether their confidence was justified by actual ability (Anderson, Brion, Moore, & Kennedy, 2012). However, those initial findings were observed in contexts where individuals’ actual abilities were unlikely to be discovered by others. What happens to overconfident individuals when others learn how good they truly are at the task? If those individuals are penalized with status demotions, then the status costs might outweigh the status benefits of overconfidence – thereby casting doubt on the benefits of overconfidence. In three studies, we found that group members did not react negatively to individuals revealed as overconfident, and in fact still viewed them positively. Therefore, the status benefits of overconfidence outweighed any possible status costs, lending further support to the status-enhancement theory.

Suggested Citation

Kennedy, Jessica and Anderson, Cameron P. and Moore, Don A., When Overconfidence Is Revealed to Others: Testing the Status-Enhancement Theory of Overconfidence (2013). Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 122 (2), 266-279, September 2013; Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 2532697. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2532697

Jessica Kennedy (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Cameron P. Anderson

University of California, Berkeley - Organizational Behavior & Industrial Relations Group ( email )

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Don A. Moore

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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