Capitalization

Capitalization
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Introduction
There is extensive literature documenting the reasons why people look for contact with others in the event of distressing occurrences. A study done by Schachter and others asserted that people seek contact with others during distressing occurrences in a bid to reduce the uncertainty brought about by the threatening stimuli (Schachter, 1959). However, it is a fact that good things happen too. in fact, good things are more likely to occur than negative ones. People often share their triumphs and successes with people close to them, a process referred to as capitalization. However, this process is rarely the focus of empirical study and the little research that has been done on the same does not in any way cover all the dynamics of the process. For example a lot of research on this process has focused on examining the personal and interpersonal consequences of sharing good news with others. One research for example concluded that sharing positive news among dating couples contributed to relationship well being or break up (Bryant, 1989; Bryant et al., 2005). Another study concluded that if one shared positive news with significant others and they responded with enthusiasm, this leads to development of trust and promotes intimacy (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). According to another study, sharing positive events with others increases the perceived importance or value of the events.
In this research, we examine the process of capitalization in the workplace. We measure how people perceived a competitive or non-competitive environment and how likely they were to respond to another’s good fortune in a positive manner. In particular, we question how people respond to co workers promotion. The study also examines how gender plays a role in determining whether response to positive events is favorable or unfavorable. We hypothesize that those participating in the competitive hypothetical workplace would respond negatively to their co-workers promotion. We also hypothesize that women would respond more negatively to their coworker’s promotion due to historical inequality in the workplace between male and female workers. This research is important in that it shades light into other dynamics of the process of capitalization. Employers can benefit from this research by using its results to make policy changes in the workplace so as to foster good working relationships between co workers. It is important to study positive events as research shows that they are connected to mental health and well being. Positive events promote perceived control and self esteem (Zautra et al., 2000)
Method
In this study, 56 respondents chosen from among students in campus completed a Qualtrics Questionnaire Form. Of those 56 respondents, 32 were male and 24 were female. All respondents were between the ages of 18 and 54. The participants were asked to indicate how they would feel about a coworker being promoted. The participants rated different responses to a coworker’s promotion. There were four responses which the participants were supposed to rate: I react to my coworker’s good fortune enthusiastically, I do not make a big deal out of it but I am happy for them, I point out the potential downside of this good event and I do not pay much attention to my coworker. They were to rate each of these responses on a scale of 1 to 7 with 1 being “sounds very much like me” and 7 being “sounds nothing like me”.

Results
Hypothesis 1
The first hypothesis being tested is that those participating in the competitive hypothetical workplace would respond negatively to their co-workers promotion. The following are the results.
Table1: Between-Subjects Factors
Value Label N
Select your gender. 1 Male 30
2 Female 24
IDV 1.00 competitive 18
2.00 non-competitive 17
3.00 neutral 19

Table1 shows the number of all participants who responded to the questions in terms of their gender and the level of competitiveness in their hypothetical working environments. Of the 56 targeted participants, 54 of them responded to the questionnaire. 30 of the respondents were male and 24 were female. Of the 54 respondents, 18 were in a competitive work environment, 17 in a non-competitive environment and 19 in a neutral work environment.
Table 2: Breakdown
Select your gender. IDV Mean Std. Deviation N
Male Competitive 3.2500 1.83225 8
non-competitive 3.2500 1.48477 12
Neutral 3.2000 1.03280 10
Total 3.2333 1.40647 30
Female Competitive 2.2000 .91894 10
non-competitive 2.4000 .89443 5
Neutral 3.0000 1.32288 9
Total 2.5417 1.10253 24
Total Competitive 2.6667 1.45521 18
non-competitive 3.0000 1.36931 17
Neutral 3.1053 1.14962 19
Total 2.9259 1.31539 54

Table 2 further breaks down the constitution of the respondents. Of the 30 male respondents, 8 worked in competitive environments, 12 in non-competitive and 10 in neutral work environments. Of the 24 female respondents, 10 worked in competitive environments, 5 in non-competitive environments and 9 in neutral work environments.
Table3: Responses
95% Confidence Interval for Mean Minimum Maximum
Lower Bound Upper Bound
ENTHUSACTIVECONSTRPlease select a number from 1 through 7. (1= “this sounds very much like me” to 7= “this sounds noth…-I react to my coworker’s good fortune enthusiastically. Competitive 1.9430 3.3903 1.00 7.00
non-competitive 2.2960 3.7040 1.00 6.00
Neutral 2.5512 3.6594 1.00 5.00
Total 2.5669 3.2850 1.00 7.00
PASSCONSTRnotbigdealPlease select a number from 1 through 7. (1= “this sounds very much like me” to 7= “this sounds noth…-I do not make a big deal out of it, but I am happy for them. Competitive 1.9837 3.1927 1.00 5.00
non-competitive 2.9822 4.5472 1.00 6.00
Neutral 2.7324 4.2676 1.00 7.00
Total 2.8747 3.7023 1.00 7.00
ACTDESTdownsidesPlease select a number from 1 through 7. (1= “this sounds very much like me” to 7= “this sounds noth…-I point out the potential down side of this good event. Competitive 3.9107 5.8671 1.00 7.00
non-competitive 3.6225 5.2664 2.00 7.00
Neutral 3.4371 5.3407 1.00 7.00
Total 4.0750 5.0732 1.00 7.00
PASSDESTnoattenPlease select a number from 1 through 7. (1= “this sounds very much like me” to 7= “this sounds noth…-I don’t pay much attention to my coworker. Competitive 5.4295 6.6816 3.00 7.00
non-competitive 4.2774 5.9448 1.00 7.00
Neutral 3.9721 5.8057 1.00 7.00
Total 4.8983 5.8054 1.00 7.00
Table3 shows the minimum and maximum responses indicated by the respondents for each reaction according to whether they worked in competitive, non-competitive or neutral environments. In the response of “I react to my coworker’s good fortune enthusiastically”, the highest rating for competitive environments was 7, the highest for non-competitive was 6 while the highest for neutral environments was 5. The mean for the upper bound responses was 3.3903, 3.7040 and 3.6594 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively. The lowest for all environments was 1. The mean for the lower bound responses was 1.9430, 2.2960 and 2.5512 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively.
In the response of “I do not make a big deal out of it, but I am happy for them”, the highest rating for competitive environments was 5, that of non-competitive environments was 6 while that of neutral environments was 7. The mean for the upper bound responses was 4.5472, 4.267 and 3.7023 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively. The lowest for all environments was 1. The mean for the lower bound responses was 2.9822, 2.7324 and 2.8747 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively.
In the response of “I point out the potential down side of this good event”, the highest ratings were 7 for all working environments. The mean for the upper bound responses was 5.8671, 5.2664 and 5.3407 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively. The lowest ratings for this response were 1, 2 and 1 for competitive, non-competitive and neutral work environments respectively. The mean for the lower bound responses was 3.9107, 3.6225 and 3.4371 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively.
In the response “I don’t pay much attention to my coworker”, the highest rating was 7 for all working environments while the lowest ratings were 3, 1 and 1 for competitive, non-competitive and neutral work environments. The mean for the upper bound responses was 6.6816, 5.9448 and 5.8057 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively. The mean for the lower bound responses was 5.4295, 4.2774 and 3.9721 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively.
Hypothesis 2
The second hypothesis being tested is that women would respond more negatively to their coworker’s promotion due to historical inequality in the workplace between male and female workers. The following are the results.
Table4. Select your gender. * IDV
Dependent Variable:ENTHUSACTIVECONSTRPlease select a number from 1 through 7. (1= “this sounds very much like me” to 7= “this sounds noth…-I react to my coworker’s good fortune enthusiastically.
Select your gender. IDV Mean Std. Error 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
Male competitive 3.250 .463 2.320 4.180
non-competitive 3.250 .378 2.491 4.009
Neutral 3.200 .414 2.368 4.032
Female competitive 2.200 .414 1.368 3.032
non-competitive 2.400 .585 1.224 3.576
Neutral 3.000 .436 2.123 3.877

Table5. Select your gender. * IDV
Dependent Variable:PASSCONSTRnotbigdealPlease select a number from 1 through 7. (1= “this sounds very much like me” to 7= “this sounds noth…-I do not make a big deal out of it, but I am happy for them.
Select your gender. IDV Mean Std. Error 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
Male competitive 2.375 .493 1.382 3.368
non-competitive 3.583 .403 2.773 4.394
Neutral 2.900 .441 2.012 3.788
Female competitive 2.778 .465 1.842 3.714
non-competitive 4.200 .624 2.944 5.456
Neutral 4.250 .493 3.257 5.243

Table6. Select your gender. * IDV
Dependent Variable:ACTDESTdownsidesPlease select a number from 1 through 7. (1= “this sounds very much like me” to 7= “this sounds noth…-I point out the potential down side of this good event.
Select your gender. IDV Mean Std. Error 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
Male competitive 4.875 .669 3.531 6.219
non-competitive 4.385 .524 3.330 5.439
Neutral 4.000 .630 2.733 5.267
Female competitive 4.900 .598 3.698 6.102
non-competitive 4.600 .846 2.900 6.300
Neutral 4.778 .630 3.511 6.045
Table7. Select your gender. * IDV
Dependent Variable:PASSDESTnoattenPlease select a number from 1 through 7. (1= “this sounds very much like me” to 7= “this sounds noth…-I don’t pay much attention to my coworker.
Select your gender. IDV Mean Std. Error 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
Male competitive 6.375 .549 5.271 7.479
non-competitive 4.615 .431 3.750 5.481
Neutral 5.300 .491 4.313 6.287
Female competitive 5.800 .491 4.813 6.787
non-competitive 6.400 .694 5.004 7.796
Neutral 4.375 .549 3.271 5.479

Tables4, 5, 6 and 7 show the means of responses indicated by both male and female respondents in each working environment. In the response of “I react to my coworker’s good fortune enthusiastically”, the mean responses of males are 3.250, 3.250 and 3.200 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively. The mean responses of female respondents are 2.200, 2.400 and 3.000 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively.
In the response of “I do not make a big deal out of it, but I am happy for them”, the mean responses of males are 2.375, 3.583 and 2.900 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively. The mean responses of female respondents are 2.778, 4.200 and 4.250 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively.

In the response of “I point out the potential down side of this good event”, the mean responses of males are 4.875, 4.385 and 4.000 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively. The mean responses of female respondents are 4.900, 4.600 and 4.778 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively.
In the response “I don’t pay much attention to my coworker”, the mean responses of males are 6.375, 4.615 and 5.300 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively. The mean responses of female respondents are 5.800, 6.400 and 4.375 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively.
Discussion
Hypothesis 1: those participating in the competitive hypothetical workplace would respond negatively to their co-workers promotion
According to the results, this hypothesis is true. For the response “I point out the potential down side of this good event”, the mean for those responses that tended towards ‘this sounds very much like me” or 1 was 3.9107, 3.6225 and 3.4371 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively. This ultimately means that more respondents in the competitive environment than any other environment were negative to the promotion of coworkers. For the response “I don’t pay much attention to my coworker”, the mean for those responses that tended towards ‘this sounds very much like me’ was 5.4295, 4.2774 and 3.9721 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively. This means that more workers in the competitive environments than in any other environment did not care much about their coworkers.
Hypothesis 2: women would respond more negatively to their coworker’s promotion due to historical inequality in the workplace between male and female workers
According to the results, this hypothesis is not true. For the response of “I point out the potential down side of this good event”, the mean responses of males are 4.875, 4.385 and 4.000 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively. The mean responses of female respondents are 4.900, 4.600 and 4.778 for competitive, non competitive and neutral environments respectively. This means that more females than males tended towards ‘this does not sound anything like me’ or 7. It means that men were more negative than women when it came to coworkers’ promotion.
Limitations of the Study
The current study had several limitations. For one participants were responding to questions about a hypothetical work place. It is possible that the reliability of the results was affected by this fact as the validity of the results could have been increased by using a real life workplace. The fact that the participants were chosen at random presented a challenge because a capitalization study is best maximized if the participants are close acquaintances. This study participants were merely students who did not necessarily have any close relationships with each other. Another limitation was that the study only examined one event that is promotion in the workplace. Perhaps the study could have examined other positive events in the workplace and this could have given a more accurate picture.
Implications and Future Research
The study served to show that people in the workplace do not necessarily react positively to promotion of coworkers. This can strain work relations and affect productivity. It is important therefore that future research focuses on ways through which capitalization in the work place can be fostered. Factors that can hinder or promote coworkers from supporting each other when good events occur should be researched. In addition, intervention possibilities in the capitalization process and the reaction of coworkers should be explored as a research topic.

References
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Bryant, F. B., Smart, C. M., & King, S. P. (2005). Using the past to enhance the present:
Boosting happiness through positive reminiscence. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6,
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Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An
experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 377–389.

Schachter, S. (1959). The psychology of affiliation. Stanford, CT: Stanford
University Press

Zautra, A. J., Schultz, A. S., & Reich, J. W. (2000). The role of everyday events in depressive
symptoms for older adults. In G. M. Williamson & D. R. Shaffer (Eds.),Physical illness and
depression in older adults: A handbook of theory, research, and practice(pp. 65–91). New York,
NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum

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