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Description: Theories have proposed diverse reasons for why individual differences such as personality traits lead to social status attainment in face-to-face groups. We integrated these different theoretical standpoints into a model with four paths from individual differences to status: a dominance, a competence, a virtue, and a micropolitics path. To investigate these paths, we meta-analyzed over 100 years of research on bivariate associations of personality traits, cognitive abilities, and physical size with the attainment of status related outcomes in face-to-face groups (1,064 effects from 276 samples including 56,153 participants). The status related outcome variables were admiring respect, social influence, popularity (i.e., likeability), leadership emergence, and a mixture outcome variable. The meta-analytic correlations we found were largely in line with the micropolitics path, tentatively in line with the competence and virtue paths, and only partly in line with the dominance path. These findings suggest that status attainment depends on the competence and virtue of an individual but also on how individuals can enhance their apparent competence or virtue by behaving assertively, by being extraverted, or through self-monitoring. We also investigated how the relations between individual differences and status related outcomes were moderated by kind of status related outcome, nature of the group task, culture (collectivism/individualism), and length of acquaintance. The moderation analysis yielded mixed and inconclusive results. The review ends with directions for research such as the need to separately assess and study the different status related outcomes.


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