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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2008 Sep;34(9):1171-84. doi: 10.1177/0146167208318404.

Fail or flourish? Cognitive appraisal moderates the effect of solo status on performance.

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Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, Hannover, NH 03755, USA.


When everyone in a group shares a common social identity except one individual, the one who is different from the majority has solo status. Solo status increases one's visibility and performance pressure, which may result in stress. Stress has divergent effects on performance, and individuals' response to stressful situations is predicted by their cognitive appraisal (challenge or threat) of the situation. Two experiments test the hypothesis that cognitive appraisal moderates the effect of solo status on performance. Experiment 1 finds that at relatively high appraisal levels (resources exceed demands), solo status improves men's and women's performance; at relatively low appraisal levels, solo status hurts performance. Experiment 2 replicates this effect for solo status based on minimal group assignment. Results suggest that for individuals who feel challenged and not threatened by their work, it may help to be a solo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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