The cost of aiming high: Exploring the relationship between ambition and information sharing

Open Access
Crayne, Matthew Philip
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
April 25, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Samuel Todd Hunter, Thesis Advisor
  • Ambition
  • Information Sharing
  • Achievement
  • Motivation
  • Machiavellianism
Ambition has been characterized in the applied psychology and organizational research literature as a component of general motivation, effectively ignoring the possibility that it may be a unique construct. I contend that ambition is misrepresented and incorrectly measured by past research, and propose a new conceptualization of ambition as the interaction of two personality traits: need for achievement and achievement striving. The present research explored the effect of this trait interaction on the organizational outcome of information sharing, hypothesizing that ambitious individuals would be the most unlikely to share information with capable others. Additionally, the influence of the Machiavellian personality was considered as a factor that may increase the deleterious effects of ambitious personalities on information sharing behavior. Using a combination of both quantitative and qualitative behavioral data, the present study found partial support for the hypothesized moderation, but failed to support its operationalization of ambition as the presence of both high need for achievement and high achievement striving.