Self-Assessment, Self-Enhancement, and the Choice of Comparison Organizations for Evaluating Organizational Performance in Advances in Strategic Management (forthcoming)
We examine the influence of the self-assessment and self-enhancement motives on the choice of comparison organizations in two experimental studies. Study 1 shows that: (1) self-assessment generally prevailed over self-enhancement, guiding decision makers to choose organizations that were more similar and had better performance; (2) self-enhancement was more pronounced under conditions of low performance, leading participants to more frequently choose organizations that were less similar and had lower performance; and, (3) self-enhancing comparisons inhibited perceptions of failure and the propensity to make changes. Study 2 extends the results of Study 1 by showing that participants were more likely to choose comparison organizations that had lower performance and were less similar when they were in a self-enhancement mindset than when they were in a self-assessment mindset. The combined effects of self-assessment and self-enhancement on the choice of comparison organizations are discussed in relation to the broader organizational literature on learning from performance feedback.