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The Effects of Borrowed Status on Individual Psychology and Career Outcomes

Liu, Lei; (2021) The Effects of Borrowed Status on Individual Psychology and Career Outcomes. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

My thesis examines how individuals’ borrowed status, derived from connections to star performers (i.e., star connections), affects observers’ psychological processes and behaviors and thus impacts individuals’ career outcomes. In Chapter 2, I investigate this question from the perspective of personnel evaluators and ask how borrowed status influences individuals’ short- and long-term career outcomes. Using the career trajectories of assistant and head coaches in the U.S. National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1976–2015, I hypothesize and find that borrowed status helps people obtain positions, especially for job candidates with little work experience. However, in post-hiring evaluations, borrowed status becomes a buffer such that the effect of performance on firing outcomes is weaker for employees with borrowed status than for employees without it. Thus, a high level of performance achieved by star-connected employees is likely to appear unexceptional whereas poor performance is likely to appear aberrant. In Chapter 3, I report three experimental studies that provide stronger causal evidence for the effects of borrowed status on evaluators’ personnel decisions in the hiring and post-hiring stages. In Chapter 4, I focus on the perspective of coworkers and ask how newcomers’ borrowed status affects the emotions and behavioral tendencies among coworkers during the newcomer adjustment stage. In a series of experimental studies, I predict and find that newcomers’ borrowed status triggers envy among coworkers. Envy leads coworkers to engage in more instrumental networking and subtle undermining toward star-connected newcomers than toward unconnected newcomers. Moreover, the undermining tendency of envious coworkers intensifies when coworkers attribute newcomers’ borrowed status to luck. My research advances our understanding of social networks as lenses that guide social evaluations and interpersonal interactions. This research demonstrates the unique effects of network-based status indicators that are different from other widely-studied status indicators such as performance records, race, and education credentials.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Effects of Borrowed Status on Individual Psychology and Career Outcomes
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > UCL School of Management
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10120084
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