Social Position and Personal Versus Social Focus: A Multinational Study of Managerial Values


  • Aleksandra Cisłak
  • Adrian Wójcik
  • Olga Białobrzeska


Managerial positions involve influencing others, hence the importance of studying the standards guiding managers' attitudes, decisions, and behavior. Drawing on structural theories and psychological findings on the effects of subjective social status, we predict that holding a managerial position is related to individual value structure via self-perceived social rank of those in managerial positions. We argue that holding a managerial position is associated positively with prioritizing values reflecting personal focus (self-enhancement and openness to change value types) and, as a consequence, negatively with prioritizing values reflecting social focus (self-transcendence and conservation value types). Using data from the European Social Survey 2012 (N = 48,105) from 29 countries, we found a mediating effect of subjective social status between holding a managerial position and personal versus social focus not moderated by the country context. We discuss the implications of these findings for psychological theories of social hierarchy and managerial practice.