Social Comparison at Work: The Role of Culture, Type of Organization and Gender

Abraham P. Buunk, Carmen Carmona, José M. Peiró, Arie Dijkstra, Pieternel Dijkstra


The present study examined social comparisons among employees in Spain (Study 1) and The Netherlands (Study 2). We expected differences in social comparison frequency and dimension between employees from public and private organizations as well as between men and women. In addition, among Dutch workers, we expected social comparisons to be relatively unaffected by the type of organization they participated in and gender differences to be smaller. Several interesting findings emerged. For instance, in Spain, workers in private organizations were found to compare themselves more often than workers in public organizations, whereas, in The Netherlands, this was not the case. Results suggest that social comparisons are significantly affected by national culture, work context and gender.
Key words: Social Comparison; Organizations; Gender, Culture

Resumé: Dans la présente étude nous avons examiné les comparaisons sociales entre des employés en Espagne (Etude 1) et aux Pays-Bas (Etude 2). Nous nous attendions à des différences dans la fréquence des comparaisons sociales, dans les dimensions de comparaison (effort versus résultats) et dans les objectifs des comparaisons (hommes versus femmes) entre les employés d’organisations publiques et privées ainsi qu’entre les hommes et les femmes. Il s’est trouvé qu’en Espagne, les employés des organisations privées faisaient des comparaisons plus fréquentes que les employés des organisations publiques. En plus, ils comparaient leurs efforts plus souvent que les employés des organisations privés. En revanche, les employés des organisations publiques, et particulièrement les femmes, comparaient leurs résultats plus souvent avec ceux d’autres personnes. Surtout les femmes travaillant dans des organisations privées se comparaient avec des femmes aussi bien qu’avec des hommes. Aux Pays-Bas, ces différences étaient absentes ou beaucoup moins prononcées. Les résultats montrent que les comparaisons sociales sont significativement influencées par culture nationale, type d’organisation et sexe. Mots-clés: Comparaison Sociale; Organisations; Sexe; Culture


Social Comparison; Organizations; Gender, Culture;Comparaison Sociale; Organisations; Sexe; Culture


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