Nice Guys Don’t Finish First
Nice guys may not always finish last, but a new study from researchers at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and the Stanford Graduate School of Business suggests they’re not likely to finish on top either.
Being altruistic, it turns out, helps to raise a person’s prestige in the workplace, but it is also may lead coworkers to view the individual as gullible or weak.
"Being selfish makes you seem more dominant and being dominant makes you seem more attractive as a leader, especially when there’s competition," Robert Livingston, a co-author of the study and assistant professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School, told MSNBC.
Interestingly, while selfishness may help someone climb the corporate ladder, it does not equate to leadership, according to some experts.
Rob Kaplan, former vice chairman of Goldman Sachs who currently teaches management practice at Harvard Business, told MSNBC that leaders are those with "values, adherence to ideals, a vision, a mission they believe in; a person that has high ideals. I’m not saying you have to be a nice guy or a woman to be a CEO, but I think you have to have integrity, values, and work with people, cultivate people."
Prof. Livingston told The Globe and Mail, "The study found that contributing generously to the group can actually lower your status. That’s counter to what other research has shown, but we found there is a difference between the prestige and admiration you get from other people, and what people perceive as your power and dominance."
- Nice guys and gals still finish last at the office – MSNBC
- ‘Sheep in wolf’s clothing’ the best leaders in tough times – The Globe and Mail
- Breeding Corruption: Why Leaders with ‘Alpha’ Personalities are Chosen – International Business Times
Discussion Questions: Is being nice a career liability and being nasty an asset? Do you think the advancement of selfish individuals up the corporate ladder has had an effect (positive or negative) on corporate performance in the U.S.?