We propose a novel temporal-based theory of how a painful social comparative emotion-job search envy-transmutes as deviant or normative job search behaviors (resume fraud or search effort). We theorize that as job searches progress across time or discrete events, temporal-based pressure increases via perceptions that situations are less changeable or more critical, propelling envious job seekers toward deviant rather than normative search behavior. We propose that market-based pressure, deriving from employment opportunity perceptions, further moderates these effects. In a first study of unemployed job seekers, after more search time passes, job search envy relates to deviant search behavior. Market pressure further qualifies this relationship, although contrary to our prediction, lower market pressure exacerbates rather than attenuates the relationship. Study 2, a two-year study of graduate students engaged in internship and full-time job searches, focuses on event-based temporal pressure and mostly replicates the Study 1 findings. It also indicates that under lower event and market pressures, job seekers expend more effort but do not commit resume fraud in response to job search envy. Overall, we conclude that job search envy transmutes differently depending on temporal-and market-based contingencies and discuss future research possibilities.
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