Individuals engage in status self-enhancement when they form an overly positive perception of their status in a group. We argue that status self-enhancement incurs social costs and, therefore, most individuals perceive their status accurately. In contrast, theories of positive illusions suggest status self-enhancement is beneficial for the individual and that most individuals overestimate their status. We found supportive evidence for our hypotheses in a social relations analysis of laboratory groups, an experiment that manipulated status self-enhancement, and a study of real-world groups. Individuals who engaged in status self-enhancement were liked less by others and paid less for their work. Moreover, individuals tended to perceive their status highly accurately. Mediation analyses showed that status self-enhancers were socially punished because they were seen as disruptive to group processes.

Cameron Anderson, Daniel Ames, and Samuel Gosling
Journal Article
Publication Date
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Full Citation

Anderson, Cameron, Daniel Ames, and Samuel Gosling
. “Punishing Hubris: The Perils of Status Self-Enhancement in Teams and Organizations.”
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
, (January 01, 2008):