Document Type




Format of Original

20 p.

Publication Date

Fall 2005


Pittsburg State University

Source Publication

Journal of Managerial Issues

Source ISSN



This article discusses the psychological influences on referent selection. The nature of contemporary work environments, ones characterized by instability and uncertainty, may create increased needs on the part of individuals for comparative information. Individuals use social comparisons for managing both uncertainty and environmental change, and for making critical decisions about one's job. Most literature on referent selection can be categorized along two basic schema: identification of the types of referents that exist and examination of the outcomes that result from referent selection. Studies have identified a multitude of potential referents, primarily drawn from the outcomes being examined, including pay referents, referents linked with one's occupation, education, age and job, and referents derived from an employee's social network.


Published version. Journal of Managerial Issues, Vol.17, No. 3 (Fall 2005): 273-292. Publisher Link. © 2005 Pittsburg State University. Used with permission.

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