[Via comentários do Hit & Run]
The Wall Street Journal turns to psychology to understand and explain the “power paradox“: Nice people are the ones entrusted with positions of power, but once they become powerful they turn into dicks. Yet instrumental rationality and common sense explain their behaviour better than psychology.
Bad behavior ranges from the shouting of profanities to inappropriate flirting to judges who don’t put as much thought into a decision as they did when they were on a lower rung. It doesn’t take a genius to see what these have in common: they provide a benefit to the person who engages in them, while imposing a cost on people around them.
But it’s the people around them that decide whether or not they end up in a position of power; a position they presumably want to be in. The trade-off becomes clear: the joy of engaging in bad behaviour vs the joy of being promoted.
Thus, a person who is low on the ladder has more to gain than someone higher up: a person at the bottom of a 5 step pyramid has 5 levels to climb. His boss already has the higher salary and position and only worries about 4 levels and so on. The cost of nastiness is therefore higher. When the price of a good increases, demand decreases. Conversely, a person higher on the ladder has a) less to gain and b) insulation from accountability.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Publicada por Miguel Madeira em 21:01