Tuesday, August 16, 2011
August 16, 2011
by Bill Chappell
Anyone who's harbored suspicions that only mean people seem to get ahead in the business world may be glad (or perhaps not) to learn that a new study agrees with them.
While such beliefs are often whispered in the office — and declaimed at volume during happy hour — new research quantifies just how much the nasty seem to profit by the (non-) virtue of their nastiness.
For men, the gain is around 18 percent in annual pay. Men who were rated as "highly disagreeable" on personality tests were paid an average of $9,700 more annually than men rated as "most agreeable," according to The Globe and Mail.
For women, the gain is only 5 percent — seemingly because it's not seen as a weakness for them to be pleasant. Wall Street Journal blogger Rachel Emma Silverman spoke with one of the study's authors, Beth Livingston of Cornell:
Dr. Livingston told me that more agreeable men may be penalized in the workplace because they might not be living up to longstanding expectations that men be aggressive, combative or even rude. "Nice guys are getting the shaft," she says, even in firms that claim to value teamwork. Women, meanwhile, are expected to be nice, so they aren't penalized much for being so.