No Interest In Partnerships
“We found that compared to non-nominees, the non-winner nominees have lower collaboration responsiveness to winners following the awards announcement,” Liao says. “When they have a higher structural proximity to the winners – for example, they were on the same team or worked in the same office – then the negative impact on their responsiveness was even bigger.”
However, in the long run, the researchers found that non-winner nominees have higher collaboration responsiveness to others in general.
To figure out why, Liao and her co-authors surveyed the employees immediately after the awards announcement to capture their emotions and motivations.
Like many near-winners, the nominees who missed out on awards felt frustration, disappointment, anger and resentment – all the emotions that go along with the “it-could-have-been-me” thinking.
“This is why immediately following the award announcement, we see the non-winner nominees decrease their collaboration responsiveness to the winners,” Liao says.
A Great Motivator
But, she says, the research also shows how losing can also be a great motivator for nonwinner nominees. “We found from Study 2 that right after the announcement, they experienced simultaneously higher negative emotions and higher motivation. “On one hand they feel frustrated, angry and disappointed that they didn’t win, but on the other hand, that becomes motivation to do better to win next time.”
In general, because the negative emotional impact is canceled out by the positive motivation impact, in the short run, there is no overall impact to non-winner nominees’ overall collaboration responsiveness to others in general, says Liao.
But six months later, the positive effects prevail, she says, because negative emotions subside and people realize that if they didn’t win this time, they have potential to win next time..
“The non-winner got over it and became more rational,” Liao says. “That’s why we found in the long run, losing increased nominees’ collaboration responsiveness.”
She says there are things managers can do to encourage the best outcomes.