Uncovering the Underdog Phenomenon
Gentry, James W.
Washburn University. School of Business
Kaw Valley Bank
Through qualitative analysis we explore some of the different meanings of underdog, examine motives for underdog support, and provide outcomes of underdog support. We also examine perceptions of underdog and topdog supporter characteristics. Our findings suggest that people support underdogs out of empathy, as a way to establish fairness, competition, and balance, and as a way to provide personal inspiration. Underdog supporters, by and large, are perceived to have more socially desirable characteristics than topdog supporters. Underdog support generally does not extend to high risk areas such as politics and high finance.