Social comparison to work-related norms : the impact of social comparison of work behaviours on work-specific self-evaluations and change intentions. (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Science
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
Despite increasing knowledge of the value of leisure and balance, work trends are consisting of a marked increase in time dedicated to work both inside and outside of the workplace. With technological advancements and productivity gains meaning long work hours are largely unnecessary, understanding why these trends exist has been a focus for recent research. The aim of this research was to further understand the role of work norms for behaviour as a driving force behind rising work input by exploring social comparison as the underlying process of the formation and escalation of these norms. Specifically, it aims to test the hypotheses that upward social comparison to work norms creates a desire to increase work input as well as decreasing work-specific self-evaluations. Two studies were carried out to explore the proposed relationships; a correlational study in which 273 adults working full time completed an online survey about their work behaviour, the work behaviour of those around them, and their change intentions and self-evaluations; and an experimental survey in which 236 adults working full time completed the same online survey but instead of reporting on the behaviour of those around them, were presented with normative feedback. The self- evaluations hypothesis was partly supported by the findings of Study 1, however, the results from Study 2 showed no support for this hypothesis. Results from Study 2 showed a significant relationship between upward comparison and intentions to increase work input, supporting the change intentions hypothesis, while Study 1 found the opposite with downward comparison associated with greater change intentions. The findings suggest that social comparison is associated with intentions to change work behaviour, which has implications for better understanding and reducing overwork.