Skip to main content

Please enter a keyword and click the arrow to search the site

Seeing oneself as a valued contributor: social worth affirmation improves team information sharing


Academy of Management Journal


Organisational Behaviour

Authors / Editors

Lee Cunningham J;Gino F;Cable D;Staats B


Publication Year



Teams often fail to reach their potential because members’ concerns about being socially accepted prevent them from offering their unique perspectives to the team. Drawing on relational self and self-affirmation theory, we argue that affirmation of team members’ social worth by trusted people outside the team helps them internalize an identity as a valued contributor, thereby reducing social acceptance concerns and facilitating information sharing in teams. We devised three intervention studies to demonstrate the causal effect of social worth affirmation in teams. In Study 1, senior executive teams in which members experienced social worth affirmation performed better on a crisis simulation that required information sharing in teams (compared to control teams). In Study 2, with U.S. military cadets, we examined social acceptance concerns as a mechanism by which social worth affirmation influences information sharing. In Study 3, we showed that social worth affirmation improves virtual teams’ ability to share information by exchanging unique information cues. Our results suggest that affirmation of the social worth of team members through their personal relationships broadens their sense of self, thereby reducing their social concerns about being accepted by other members. This, in turn, leads to better information sharing in teams.


Research methods; Organizational behavior; Communication; Motivation

Available on ECCH


Select up to 4 programmes to compare

Select one more to compare
subscribe_image_desktop 5949B9BFE33243D782D1C7A17E3345D0

Sign up to receive our latest news and business thinking direct to your inbox


Sign up to receive our latest course information and business thinking

Leave your details above if you would like to receive emails containing the latest thought leadership, invitations to events and news about courses that could enhance your career. If you would prefer not to receive our emails, you can still access the case study by clicking the button below. You can opt-out of receiving our emails at any time by visiting: or by unsubscribing through the link provided in our emails. View our Privacy Policy for more information on your rights.