At Work: Play Dumb or Give the Cold Shoulder?

Posted on March 19, 2016

Photo: flickr

People in the workplace may adjust their behavior to break stereotypes about themselves or match the stereotypes of others -- even if it means playing dumb or giving the cold shoulder, a Princeton University study finds.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, shows that managers play down their competence to appear warmer to their subordinates while the subordinates hide their own warmth in an effort to appear more competent.

"In doing this, people might actually talk past each other, making people have more of an awkward misunderstanding," said Jillian Swencionis, lead author and doctoral candidate in psychology and social policy at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. "Our findings illustrate just how invasive perceived inequality and social hierarchies really are, impacting both interpersonal relationships and workplace encounters.

Category(s):Workplace Issues

Source material from Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

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