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Helping one’s way to the top: Self-monitors achieve status by helping others and knowing who helps whom

Helping one’s way to the top: Self-monitors achieve status by helping others and knowing who helps whom

By
Francis J. Flynn, R. Reagans, E. Amanatullah, D. Ames
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
2006, Vol. 91, Issue 6, Pages 1123-1137

The authors argue that high self-monitors may be more sensitive to the status implications of social exchange and more effective in managing their exchange relations to elicit conferrals of status than low self-monitors. In a series of studies, they found that high self-monitors were more accurate in perceiving the status dynamics involved both in a set of fictitious exchange relations and in real relationships involving other members of their social group. Further, high self-monitors elevated their social status among their peers by establishing a reputation as a generous exchange partner. Specifically, they were more likely than low self-monitors to be sought out for help and to refrain from asking others for help. This behavior provides one explanation for why high self-monitors acquire elevated status among their peers—they are more attuned to status dynamics in exchange relations and adapt their behavior in ways that elicit status