Northeastern University research shows pride's potential to foster individual success

March 04, 2009

The age-old question of whether pride is the seventh sin or an adaptive virtue has been answered by two Northeastern University scientists. Contrary to popular belief, the researchers found that pride not only leads individuals to take on leadership roles in teams, but also fosters admiration, as opposed to scorn, from teammates.

"We found that pride is quite undeserving of its negative reputation," said David DeSteno, associate professor of psychology and co-author of the study. "Pride actually constitutes a functional social emotion with important implications for leadership and the building of social capital."

DeSteno and lead author Lisa Williams designed an experiment including individual and group activities. For the individual activities, certain participants were induced to feel proud. Participants next interacted cooperatively on a problem-solving task and were asked to evaluate their partners' leadership and likability. The participant who received the pride induction took on a dominant role and was perceived as the most "hands-on" during the activity. In addition, their teammates viewed them as more likable than the other participants.

"These are some of the first findings that show functional outcomes of pride within the context of actual social behavior," said Williams. "Although when taken to extremes, pride can certainly be maladaptive, this research demonstrates the emotion's potential for fostering successful interpersonal interaction."

The findings were published in the March issue of the journal Psychological Science. The authors believe that these findings hold implications for successful management and team dynamics, especially in the context of organizational behavior.

"Pride," they note, "can play an integral role in enhancing team functioning by fostering confidence and admiration."
-end-
About Northeastern

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university located in the heart of Boston. Northeastern is a leader in interdisciplinary research, urban engagement, and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. The university's distinctive cooperative education program, where students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. The University offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in six undergraduate colleges, eight graduate schools, and two part-time divisions. For more information, please visit www.northeastern.edu.

Association for Psychological Science

Related Leadership Articles from Brightsurf:

Women in leadership positions face more sexual harassment
Power in the workplace does not stop women's exposure to sexual harassment.

Collective leadership groups maintain cohesion and act decisively
Members of collective leadership groups can maintain cohesion and act decisively when faced with a crisis, in spite of lacking the formal authority to do so, according to new research from Cass Business School.

Leadership's in the blood for tiny fish
Leadership during cooperation runs in the family for tiny fish called Trinidadian guppies, new research shows.

Rice study assesses college leadership training programs
A new study from psychologists at Rice University found they teach students about leadership, but additional measures are needed to evaluate how they impact students' real-life leadership skills.

These four values lessen the power of transformational leadership
Transformational leadership is considered one of the most effective ways to motivate and inspire employees.

Preventing toxic work environments through ethical leadership
Recently published research from SDSU management professor, Dr. Gabi Eissa and University of Wisconsin -- Eau Claire management professor, Dr.

Women, your inner circle may be key to gaining leadership roles
According to a new Notre Dame study, women who communicate regularly with a female-dominated inner circle are more likely to attain high-ranking leadership positions.

Feminine leadership traits: Nice but expendable frills?
The first study to examine tradeoffs in masculine versus feminine leadership traits reveals that stereotypically feminine traits -- like being tolerant and cooperative -- are viewed as desirable but ultimately superfluous add-ons.

Leadership and adaptive reserve are not associated with blood pressure control
Primary care leadership and practice resilience can strengthen organizational culture.

Values and gender shape young adults' entrepreneurial and leadership
Young adults who are driven by extrinsic rewards and money and less by a sense of security are more likely to want to become entrepreneurs and leaders, according to a recent study.

Read More: Leadership News and Leadership Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.