Crab mentality or crabs in a bucket (also barrel, basket or pot), is a way of thinking best described by the phrase "if I can't have it, neither can you". The metaphor refers to a bucket of live crabs, some of which could easily escape, but other crabs pull them back down to prevent any from getting out, ensuring the group's collective demise.
The analogy in human behavior is claimed to be that members of a group will attempt to reduce the self-confidence of any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, spite, conspiracy, or competitive feelings, to halt their progress.
Impact on performance
The impact of crab mentality on performance was quantified by a New Zealand study in 2015 which demonstrated up to an 18% average exam result improvement for students when their grades were reported in a way that prevented others from knowing their position in published rankings.
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