Overconfidence helps individuals attain social status, and less capable people who believe they are better than others are given a higher place in the social ladder, according to a US study.
The lure of social status promotes overconfidence, explains Cameron Anderson, associate professor at the University of California Berkeley Hass School of Business, who co-authored the study.
These findings suggest one reason why in organisational settings, incompetent people are so often promoted over their more competent peers, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reports.
“In organisations, people are very easily swayed by others’ confidence even when that confidence is unjustified,” says Anderson.
“Displays of confidence are given an inordinate amount of weight.”
“People who believed they were better than others, even when they weren’t, were given a higher place in the social ladder,” says Anderson, according to a California statement.
People are known to be frequently overconfident, believing they are more physically talented, socially adept, and skilled at their job than they actually are.
For example, 94% of college professors think they do above average work (which is impossible, statistically speaking). But this overconfidence can also have detrimental effects on their performance and decision-making.
Social status is the respect, prominence, and influence individuals enjoy in the eyes of others. Within work groups, for example, higher status individuals tend to be more admired, listened to, and have more sway over the group’s discussions and decisions.