Self-monitoring in group context: Its indirect benefits for individual status attainment and group task performance
Qiongjing HU1,Xi LU2,Zhixue ZHANG3()
1 School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China 2 College of Economics and Management, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China 3 Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Self-monitoring, as a personality trait, describes the extent to which an individual is attentive to social cues and regulates and adapts his/her own behaviors accordingly to achieve social appropriateness. In the process of group establishment and development, self-monitoring not only impacts the quality of interpersonal relationships but also influences both group interaction and group outcome. While prior studies have focused on the effects of self-monitoring at the individual level, researchers have generally ignored the effects at the group level and have not examined the role of self-monitoring in group dynamics over time. To fill this gap, this study examined the effects of self-monitoring within the context of group development.
In general, this research adopts a dynamic perspective to explore the effects of self-monitoring at both individual and group levels. Specifically, at the individual level, we attempted to examine how self-monitoring affects the positive sentiments held by other group members toward an individual and further influences the individual’s status attainment within the group; at the group level, we attempted to examine how group-mean self-monitoring affects group cohesion as well as the group performance in collaborative tasks. In addition, we intended to explore whether the effect of self-monitoring on positive sentiments changes over time and whether the effect of group-mean self-monitoring on group cohesion changes over time.
To test the hypotheses, we conducted a longitudinal study (three points in time) over one semester, deliberately choosing students from 32 freshmen dorms as the participants, and we collected data through both surveys and a behavioral task at three waves (T1, T2, and T3). The results showed that at the individual level, self-monitoring was positively related to positive sentiments held by other group members toward the focal person, and self-monitoring had a positive indirect effect on the focal person’s status attainment (indicated by status rating and friendship network centrality) via positive sentiments; at the group level, group-mean self-monitoring was positively related to group cohesion, and group-mean self-monitoring had a positive indirect effect on the group performance in a collaborative task via group cohesion. We also found that the positive effect of self-monitoring on group members’ positive sentiments toward the focal person increased over time (from T2 to T3).
This research makes several contributions to existing literature. First, we contribute to the self-monitoring literature by exploring the effects of self-monitoring at both individual and group levels. Our findings revealed that high self-monitors can not only build high-quality interpersonal relationships for themselves but also enhance group cohesion in a collective way. Second, we introduce a dynamic approach to studying self-monitoring. With the change of interactions among group members and with the group development over time, the effect of self-monitoring may change as well. Adopting the dynamic perspective can capture this changing track and thus deepen our understanding of the role of self-monitoring in the group context. Lastly, we contribute to status research by identifying an important antecedent of individual’s status attainment in group - positive sentiments held by other group members toward the focal person.
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Qiongjing HU,Xi LU,Zhixue ZHANG. (2018). Self-monitoring in group context: Its indirect benefits for individual status attainment and group task performance. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 50(10), 1169-1179.
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