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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2006 Dec;91(6):1123-37.

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

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Columbia University, USA.


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.

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