Tall Poppy Syndrome and its effect on work performance

by Igorevna Dediu

Institution: University of Canterbury
Department: Psychology
Year: 2015
Keywords: Tall Poppy
Record ID: 1310086
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10092/10261


The aim of this study was to find out whether employees would perform worse if they perceived their work colleagues to have negative attitudes towards tall poppies (colleagues favoured the fall of tall poppies rather than rewarding tall poppies), thus displaying typical tall poppy syndrome perceptions. Performance measures were: decision-making vigilance, decision-making dependence, decision-making avoidance, problem solving, creativity, service quality, and the personality construct need for affiliation. Control variables were age, tenure and need for achievement. The design of the study was cross-sectional, online surveys were used to collect the data. The link to the survey was distributed using LinkedIn groups and Facebook advertising, yielding a sample of 229 participants. The data was analysed using regression; the results confirmed 3 of the 7 hypotheses. The results indicated that employees working in an environment that favoured the fall of tall poppies, showed lower decision-making dependability and higher decision-making avoidance. Internal service quality was partially confirmed, it was negatively associated with participants working in an environment that favoured the fall of tall poppies, rather than reward; Theories about the contribution New Zealand’s history has made to the development of tall poppy syndrome are considered. Practical implications of the results are discussed. Directions for future studies in industrial and organizational psychology on the effects of tall poppy syndrome on work performance are discussed.