OTNB IDEA: When Competition is Counterproductive

Competing with superstars adversely affects performance

When confronted by a Tiger Woods or a Michael Phelps, do challengers step up their game or throw in the towel? Managers often use internal competition to motivate employees, but new research suggests that adding a superstar to the mix might actually hurt productivity rather than help it.

In a recent study, Jennifer Brown of the Kellogg School’s Department of Management and Strategy found that while competition may be beneficial among closely matched contenders, large differences in skill reduce the efforts of competitors and become counterproductive.
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