Helping one's way to the top: self-monitors achieve status by helping others and knowing who helps whom

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2006 Dec;91(6):1123-37. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.91.6.1123.


The authors argue that high self-monitors may be more sensitive to the status implications of social exchange and more effective in managing their exchange relations to elicit conferrals of status than low self-monitors. In a series of studies, they found that high self-monitors were more accurate in perceiving the status dynamics involved both in a set of fictitious exchange relations and in real relationships involving other members of their social group. Further, high self-monitors elevated their social status among their peers by establishing a reputation as a generous exchange partner. Specifically, they were more likely than low self-monitors to be sought out for help and to refrain from asking others for help. This behavior provides one explanation for why high self-monitors acquire elevated status among their peers--they are more attuned to status dynamics in exchange relations and adapt their behavior in ways that elicit status.

MeSH terms

  • Awareness*
  • Helping Behavior*
  • Hierarchy, Social*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Peer Group
  • Personality Inventory
  • Set, Psychology
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Desirability
  • Social Perception*
  • Students / psychology