Guilt- prone workers make most ethical working partners
A new study has demonstrated that individuals who are highly prone to feel guilty for disappointing their co-workers are among the most ethical and...
Washington: A new study has demonstrated that individuals who are highly prone to feel guilty for disappointing their co-workers are among the most ethical and hard-working partners.
The study conducted at USC Marshall School of Business also suggested that these highly guilt-prone people may be the most reticent to enter into partnerships.
Scott S. Wiltermuth, assistant professor of management and organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, along with Taya R. Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University, explains how guilt proneness may prevent people from forming partnerships in "'I'd Only Let You Down': Guilt Proneness and the Avoidance of Harmful Interdependence".
Wiltermuth said that guilt proneness reduces the incidence of unethical behavior highly guilt-prone people are conscientious and they were 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.
In studies where Wiltermuth asked participants with whom they would like to partner to complete a task, given information about their potential partners' expertise in that area, highly guilt-prone people with less knowledge or skill in that area were less likely to choose the most competent partner. They were afraid to contribute less to the task than their partner and, thus, let them down.
In the studies, highly guilt-prone people were also more likely than others to opt to be paid on their performance alone and to opt to be paid based on the average of their performance and that of others whose competence was more similar to their own.
Wiltermuth added that managers could try to ensure that highly guilt-prone people are creating the partnerships and perhaps even assuming leadership roles on teams despite highly guilt-prone people's fear that by accepting these leadership positions they might be putting themselves into position to let their teammates down.
The study is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.