The reign of the biased boss

HRM 23 Jan 2013

Ditch the impartiality towards all team members and start showing preferential treatment towards your employees, a new study has found.

Authored by the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business, the study found that people are more likely to experience greater self-esteem, adherence to workplace norms, and performance of tasks which benefit the group if a leader gives preferential treatment towards them as compared to others in a team.

Adhering to the belief that everyone should be treated equally in a team could appear to be “a disincentive for workers who would otherwise go above and beyond on behalf of the team with a little bit of extra attention,” mentioned the study’s co-author Professor Karl Aquino.

“The key is to find the right balance – treat everyone reasonably well, but treat those whose work counts most or who have been most productive just a little bit better,” he advised bosses.

He suggests that managers take a middle ground approach to sustain high productivity amongst the star players, which also avoids creating envy in the other non-star workers.

The study was co-authored by Aquino and Professors Stefan Thau and Madan Pillutla of the London Business School, Christian Troster of the Kuhne Logistics University and David Cremer of Erasmus University. It conducted a series of experiments on 357 working people and an experiment done on 41 students.



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