Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Research Says Being Top Dog Makes Us Happier Than Simply Getting Top Dollar

Date:
October 3, 2003
Source:
University Of Warwick
Summary:
New research by a group of economists and psychology researchers at the University of Warwick reveals that our rank position within an organisation has a bigger effect on our happiness within that job than the happiness generated by our actual level of pay. In short being top dog makes us happier than simply getting top dollar.

New research by a group of economists and psychology researchers at the University of Warwick reveals that our rank position within an organisation has a bigger effect on our happiness within that job than the happiness generated by our actual level of pay. In short being top dog makes us happier than simply getting top dollar.

The researchers, University of Warwick Economists Professor Andrew Oswald and Dr Jonathan Gardner (Joanthan now with Watson Wyatt) and University of Warwick psychology researchers Professor Gordon Brown and Jing Qian studied data from 16,266 individuals from 886 separate actual workplaces, and also carried out two further psychological experiments. They presented their findings recently to a conference at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

The results from the analysis of happiness, pay and rank data from the 16,266 individuals found that the level of actual pay, or the average level of pay in an organisation, had very little effect on how happy people were with the level of respect they had within that organisation. It also had little effect on how happy people were with their achievements within that organisation."

However when one looked at people's overall rank position the researchers found that did produce a significant impact on both how happy people were with the level of respect they had within that organisation and how happy people were with their achievements. When asked to rank how happy they were with their pay the researchers found that rank within an organisation had 50%-60% more effect on that level of happiness than the actual amount that people were paid!

In the first of the psychological experiments the research team asked a group of students to rank their satisfaction with a level of pay if it was offered to them as a starting graduate salary. The students were shown the same level of starting salaries but in a range of tables so, for instance, some saw a salary of 19.5K positioned as the fifth lowest wage in table whereas others saw that salary in a table as the second lowest. The experiment subjects clearly demonstrated that even if actual pay levels for everyone were exactly the same placing them in different rank orders created different levels of happiness.

In a second experiment students heard tones from a range of nine musical tones and were asked to judge were each tone came in that range. They were given a small cash reward for each tone judgement and then also asked to say how happy they were with that reward (of which they could actually keep a small percentage of at the end of the experiment). However the students were presented with different award distributions- a high-reward one in which they were rewarded with a number of pounds and a low distribution in which the same numbers were used but presented as pennies. The researchers found a clear negative correlation between current satisfaction rating and preceding reward values. The results indicated that reward satisfaction ratings were determined partly by comparison with other, recently-presented, rewards. A given level of reward produces a higher satisfaction rating if lower rewards have been received and rated in the recent past.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Warwick. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Warwick. "New Research Says Being Top Dog Makes Us Happier Than Simply Getting Top Dollar." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031003060615.htm>.
University Of Warwick. (2003, October 3). New Research Says Being Top Dog Makes Us Happier Than Simply Getting Top Dollar. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031003060615.htm
University Of Warwick. "New Research Says Being Top Dog Makes Us Happier Than Simply Getting Top Dollar." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031003060615.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins