CROSS-CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN SELF-PROMOTION
CROSS-CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN SELF-PROMOTION
People make the fundamental attribution error. People make the self-serving bias error. They tend to perceive their effort and contributions bigger than how it is perceived by others. They overestimate own contribution and underestimate contributions of others.
Sometimes this is done consciously to impress their bosses and friends. Sometimes our own work simply looms larger and more significant than it really is.
However, people vary in the degree of overestimating their own contributions: some overestimate a lot and are very self-promoting, and others are more modest and tend to see their own contributions at the level similar to the perceptions of others.
The asymmetry in self vs. peer evaluations can have profound effects on team dynamics and outcomes. Differences in self vs. peer evaluations can lead to conflicts, misunderstandings, increased team membership turnover, and ultimately reduced performance.
Self-promotion index can be calculated as the gap between self-evaluations and objective evaluations on:
- Self-evaluations vs. Peer evaluations
- Self-reported English skills vs. objective English test
- Self-reported technical skills vs. objective technical skills test
- Self-reported CQ vs. objective CQ test
The “self-promotion” index (SPI) can be calculated as:
- The difference between self-evaluations vs. objective evaluations
- The difference between self-evaluations vs. objective evaluations adjusted by the opportunity to self-promote (recognizing and correcting for the range truncation, e.g., for peer evaluations at the 5.0 scale,
Self-promotion = (Self – Peer)/(5.0 – Peer)
- Self-promotion could be expressed not only as self-promotion, but also as other-effacing. That is, not only as a tendency to increase my score, but also as a tendency to reduce scores of others. A way to account for this tendency is by using the “% of work done” dimension of peer evaluations (Of all the work completed by your team, what percent was completed by each team member, including by you?) Since the sum here is fixed at 100%, one automatically must reduce ratings of others if one wants to self-promote.
Another consideration when measuring SPI:
- Do we use only post-project peer evaluations or Do we use weekly peer evaluations and study the phenomenon for each week separately and
- Or do we take an average across all 8 weeks?
- Do we only look at the average peer evaluations, or study each dimension separately (communication, effort, leadership, quality of suggested ideas, friendliness/collegiality)? % of work done should probably be studied separately, not only because it cannot be easily integrated with the other dimensions, but also because it’s a fundamentally different measure.
Study 1: National Rankings on Propensity to Self-Promote
Tendency to self-promote varies by countries. Research shows that in individualist and masculine cultures self-promotion is common, expected, and even valued. In contrast, in collectivism and feminine cultures, modesty and even self-effacing is encouraged.
We have data on over 100 countries and can provide national rankings on propensity to self-promote and explore what cultural and national characteristics explain the phenomenon.
Study 2: What Predicts Self-Promotion?
Different people display different levels of self-promotion. What explains these differences?
- Attribution bias style
- Level of studies
- University rank
- Personal cultural values, particularly IND, MAS, GE, PD
- Swift trust (propensity to trust strangers)
Study 3: Consequences of Self-Promotions?
If/when self-promotion occurs, what are the consequences?
The effects of self-promotion will be tested at the individual and team level.
Individual level: People who are more likely to self-promote, are they:
- More likely to be elected as team leaders?
- Experience/initiate more conflicts?
- Identify with the team less?
- Less satisfied with the team performance, quality of the team work, etc.?
- Report less enjoyment?
- Team level: Do teams where team members generally show a greater tendency to self-promote, do they:
- Experience more conflicts?
- Show lower cohesion?
- Less team identification and commitment?
- Produce lower quality work?
- Lower team self-efficacy?
Study 4: Self-Promotion Causality and Development Trajectory?
Is self-promotion a cause or effect of problems with team dynamics?
We measure all relevant variables longitudinally, weekly over the course of 9 weeks.
This allows us to test if team members first display tendency to self-promote, which leads to conflicts, dissatisfaction, and problems with team dynamics and performance, OR
Team members first experience problems with team members, and as a defense mechanism start self-promoting?
Study 5: Dimensionality of Self-Promotion
Self-promotion could be expressed not only as self-promotion, but also as other-effacing. That is, not only as a tendency to increase my score, but also as a tendency to reduce scores of others.
Do people who inflate their own performance ratings automatically deflate ratings of others?
Or can one self-promote without deflating ratings of contributions of others?
Is self-promotion a uni-dimensional construct with “self-promotion” and “other-effacing” are the opposites of the same continuum, or the two are two independent dimensions with “high/low self-promotion” and “high-low other-effacing” as the extremes of the continua?
One way to capture these differences is to analyze separately self-evaluations vs. peer evaluations and evaluations one gives to the one’s team members, and the test the relationship between the two tendencies.
Another way to capture is it through the peer-evaluation dimension that we call “% of work done” (Of all the work completed by your team, what percent was completed by each team member, including by you?) Since the sum here is fixed at 100%, one automatically must reduce ratings of others if one wants to self-promote.
Vas Taras, Longzhu Dong, Robert Stephens, Peter Magnusson