The present research examined whether the emotions of others (i.e., disappointment versus happiness with respect to a received outcome) influence own self-esteem when being overpaid. Results from two experiments demonstrated that participants reported higher performance self-esteem when the other expressed happiness rather than disappointment. This effect was only found in the condition where one was overpaid relative to the condition where one did not yet know one’s own outcome. In the second experimental study we further found that this interaction between the emotion of the other and the distribution situation only emerged among participants low (relative to high) in personal need for structure. Implications with respect to the relationship between overpayment and self-esteem and the interpersonal effects of emotions in this process are discussed.

, , , ,,
ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal of Economic Psychology
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

de Cremer, D, & van Kleef, G.A. (2009). When being overpaid makes me feel good about myself: It depends on how the other feels. Journal of Economic Psychology, 30(5), 793–802. doi:10.1016/j.joep.2009.05.008