Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Tammy D. Allen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joseph A. Vandello, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brenton M. Wiernik, Ph.D.


Gender, Social Comparisons, Turnover Intent, Wellbeing


Past research on workplace rivalry has framed the construct as a motivating force that is desirable for individuals and organizations. Using social comparison theory as a framework, the potential harmful correlates of rivalry were examined. Specifically, the relationships between the status of having a rival, as well as one’s perception of their relative standing to (i.e. being better or worse than) their rival, and the outcomes of turnover intention, perceived competence, and imposter syndrome were analyzed. Further, to examine how STEM fields may be particularly impacted by these relationships, both job and STEM turnover were measured, and the moderating effect of different dyadic gender compositions of the rivalry (i.e. women with a man rival, men with a woman rival) was tested. The initial sample consisted of 893 participants (380 whom had rivals) and a three-wave study was conducted. Results revealed that having a rival was positively related to job turnover intent and imposter syndrome, and that lesser relative standing was related to greater imposter syndrome and lesser perceived competence. However, neither the gender of the focal actor, the rival, nor the dyadic gender composition of the rivalry were shown to moderate outcomes. Results provide a broader view of rivalry and provide evidence that rivalry can operate as stressor that can harm individuals. Implications for organizations and the health of employees are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons