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Pay referents and satisfaction with pay: Does occupational proximity matter?

Georgellis, Yannis, Garcia, Stephen, Gregoriou, Andros, Özbilgin, Mustafa (2017) Pay referents and satisfaction with pay: Does occupational proximity matter? British Journal of Management, 30 (3). pp. 578-592. ISSN 1045-3172. E-ISSN 1467-8551. (doi:10.1111/1467-8551.12272) (KAR id:64271)


We explore whether employees compare their pay to the pay of others in a similarly prestigious occupation, and, if so, whether this comparison has a negative impact on pay satisfaction. Using an experimental vignette methodology, Study 1 found that people are more inclined to compare to others from a similar or identical occupation and that comparison negatively impacts pay satisfaction. This comparison and its negative effect is particularly strong in high prestige occupations. Based on survey data, Study 2 also showed that the average pay of others in occupations of similar prestige is negatively correlated with employees’ pay satisfaction. This negative correlation was also stronger in higher prestige occupations. Our analysis highlights the importance of occupational prestige as a main factor influencing pay comparison.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/1467-8551.12272
Uncontrolled keywords: Pay referents, pay satisfaction, social comparison, occupational prestige
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
Depositing User: Yannis Georgellis
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2017 09:10 UTC
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2024 23:08 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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