Emotion that drives people to work harder

Posted on February 7, 2015

Photo: flickr

People prone to feeling guilty are amongst the hardest workers, a new study finds.

Not only that but people prone to feeling guilty are also highly ethical and are less likely to take advantage of other people’s skills to get paid more.

The results come from research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, in which psychologists carried out 5 studies to test the effects of feeling guilty on work performance (Wiltermuth & Cohen, 2014).

Dr. Scott S. Wiltermuth, the study’s first author, said:

“Because of this concern for the impact of their actions on others’ welfare, highly guilt-prone people often outwork their less guilt-prone colleagues, demonstrate more effective leadership and contribute more to the success of the teams and partnerships in which they are involved.”

Set against these advantages, though, guilt-prone people may avoid working with others they see as more competent than themselves.

The reason was that guilt-prone people were afraid of letting others down.

In other studies, guilt-probe people were also more likely to want compensation which reflected their performance, rather than trying to get paid more by free-riding off more talented individuals.

Dr. Wiltermuth said:

“Guilt proneness reduces the incidence of unethical behavior.

Highly guilt-prone people are conscientious.

They are less likely to free-ride on others’ expertise, and they will sacrifice financial gain out of concern about how their actions would influence others’ welfare.”


Category(s):Career Development and Change

Source material from Spring


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