Washington, Feb 10 (ANI): Contrary to the common belief, a new study has shown that members of a group or team will work harder when they're competing against a group with lower status than when pitted against a more highly ranked group.
Robert Lount, co-author of the study and assistant professor of management and human resources at Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business says that underdogs have more motivation because they have the chance to "knock the higher-status group down a peg".
"We found over and over again across multiple studies that people worked about 30 percent harder when their group was competing against a lower-status group," said Lount.
"It seems surprising to many people that the high-status team has more motivation, but it really makes sense. The higher-ranked group has more to lose if they don't compare well against a lower-status group.
"But if you're the lower-status group and lose to your superior rival, nothing has changed - it just reaffirms the way things are," he added.
The study shows that motivation gains were there when group felt their superior status was threatened.
Lount also said that the findings may apply in a variety of settings, from workplaces to sports teams.
Bosses and coaches who manage groups competing against lower-status rivals should use that fact to motivate the people at their company or team.
"If you're a coach of a favoured team, it would make sense to highlight this favored status to your players," he said.
"Coaches should let players know that there's a lot at stake in their game - they could lose their high status. That should be a big motivating factor for your team," he added.
In any setting, motivation will depend a lot on who people and groups are compared against.
"If groups just focus on ways to gain status, they're missing out on a motivational opportunity. People are going to work harder to not lose what status they already have than they will to try to become higher status," said Lount.
The study appears in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. (ANI)