TORONTO – Some people like to teach because life is hard and we have to harden ourselves to move forward.
But according to 14 years of lengthy studies, having a jerk does not help you get ahead in business or your career.
A paper Published Monday The National Academy of Sciences’ Proceedings revealed the results of two longitudinal studies that tracked whether nasty individuals actually gained more power “in the context of their work organization”.
This paper, conducted by researchers at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, combines two studies that assess the personalities of undergraduates or students studying business at three different universities. The first study estimated approximately 500 people.
A decade later, similar people were identified and dissenters followed to find out if they had succeeded in their chosen field.
“Across the board, they found that those with selfish, deceitful, and aggressive personality traits were less likely to gain power than those who were generous, trustworthy, and generally good.” A press release on the study stated.
It is not clear who will reach the position of power. We all have that boss.
“The bad news here is that companies are just as responsible as people who accept dissent,” Berkeley Haas Professor Cameron Anderson, co-author of the paper, said in a press release.
The study suggests that jerks and good people gain power at an equal rate.
Intimidating your subordinates can take you so far.
The personality trait that contributes the most to people who succeed in life is becoming extroverted – the ability to socialize power over power where there is no cruelty.
According to a press release, Anderson has been interested in the concept of whether this is really a dog-eating-dog world. The question of whether being a terrible person can help you succeed in business is very important, because a jerk CEO who has power over most people has the potential to take more lives than the average jerk.
“Adequate research has shown that the jerks in positions of power are abusive, prioritize their advantage, create cultures of corruption and ultimately cause their organizations to fail,” the press release points out. “They also serve as toxic role models to society.”
To measure disagreement, participants took the Big Five Inventory Personality Test, where participants rated their own contract with statements (e.g. “I have a strong personality”) and strongly agreed on a non-acceptable scale. Developed by the Berkeley Personality Lab, the test measures “openness to experience, conscience, extroversion, neuroticism and acceptability.”
Some participants also took a second personality assessment, NEO Personality Inventory-Revised.
“People who disagree are hostile and abusive towards others, deceiving others for their own gain and ignoring the concerns or welfare of others,” the researchers said in a press release, adding that selfishness is a big jerk trait.
To measure the energy an individual has gained in their career, participants were asked to rate their impact on the work by answering a number of questions. Participants answer one (strongly agree) from seven (strongly disagree). Questions include “I have an influence on important decisions,” “I can get others to listen to me,” “I can punish or reward those in authority,” or “My thoughts and opinions are often ignored.”
In the second study, colleagues were asked to answer similar questions about question participants in order to gain an external perspective about their power in the organization.
Other questions include how participants are perceived at work, how sympathetic they are and how much their ability is assessed.
So why didn’t the jerks come forward by stepping on others?
The researchers found that there were two distinct factors that persisted regardless of the organization’s culture, or individual differences in participants such as gender or race.
People who do not agree are more likely to engage in “more dominant-aggressive behavior,” which would normally mean that they would come to power, but they failed to show the way or engage in religious activities that would lead to making friends.
“These two effects, however, seemed to override each other and led to a null correlation between dissent and power,” the study abstracted.
Is this true for special jobs like politics?
According to the press release, power dynamics in politics are very different to smoothly transfer the results of this study, but there may be parallels.
“Dissenting politicians may find it more difficult to maintain the necessary alliances because of their toxic behavior,” Anderson wrote in the release.