A Relational Model of Perceived Overqualification: The Moderating Role of Interpersonal Influence on Social Acceptance

Hong Deng, Yanjun Guan, Chia Huei Wu, Berrin Erdogan, Talya Bauer, Xiang Yao

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)


Theories of perceived overqualification have tended to focus on employees’ job-related responses to account for effects on performance. We offer an alternative perspective and theorize that perceived overqualification could influence work performance through a relational mechanism. We propose that relational skills, in the form of interpersonal influence of overqualified employees, determine their tendency to experience social acceptance and, thus, engage in positive work-related behaviors. We tested this relational model across two studies using time-lagged, multisource data. In Study 1, the results indicated that for employees high on interpersonal influence, perceived overqualification was positively related to self-reported social acceptance, whereas for employees low on interpersonal influence, the relationship was negative. Social acceptance, in turn, was positively related to in-role job performance, interpersonal altruism, and team member proactivity evaluated by supervisors. In Study 2, we focused on peer-reported social acceptance and found that the indirect relationships between perceived overqualification and supervisor-reported behavioral outcomes via social acceptance were negative when interpersonal influence was low and nonsignificant when interpersonal influence was high. The implications of the general findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3288-3310
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • interpersonal influence
  • perceived overqualification
  • performance
  • social acceptance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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