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.



Leave your comment
Start a new discussion

HRM Asia forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Post a Comment
HRM Asia welcomes your contribution. Your IP address is recorded in the event of a complaint.
Name *
Email *
(required, but will not display)
Comment *
Please enter in the numbers in the box left.
You are about to submit your comment. Is it:
  • Professional
  • In your own name or pseudonym, not impersonating someone else
  • Free from rude language
  • Free from advertising
  • If you prefer not to post but are still keen to get your viewpoint across, you can always e-mail the editor.
  • 20 Aug | Frazer Jones Global HR Search and Recruitment | Singapore
    Partner with the business to advise and strategies on HR policies, coach the senior leadership team and deliver best practice across the region.
    19 Aug | Frazer Jones Global HR Search & Recruitment | Singapore
    The HR Associate will be required to support the HR Manager to ensure the smooth running of HR Operations in the office.
    22 Aug | DN & Associates Executive Search | Singapore
    Innovation in engagement, motivation and retention of talent
    Prof Veena Jadav and Carolyn Seah of S.P. Jain School of Business Management share the findings of the school's annual HR Conclave survey about talent management practices companies are adopting in different geographies
    GSK: Talent management – a serious business imperative
    Talent Management for Sustainability: Default or Design?
    Scouting for High Potentials
    Performance Leadership Pte Ltd | info@performance.sg
    Lunch, Learn and Bond with your teams, all within 1 hour! Choose from a variety of light-hearted, interesting or thought-provoking topics that appeal ...
    Performance Recognition Pte Ltd | info@performance.sg
    A monthly business incubator where leaders grow their skills, exchange ideas and share best practices.
    Organisational Development Concepts | enquiries@odctraining.com.sg
    Quality workshops packaged for learning effectiveness and cost efficiency