Hardworking, Unselfish Co-Workers are the Least Popular

Social psychologists at Washington State University found that better workers in a group are the least popular because they make everyone else look bad in comparison:

Parks and Stone found that unselfish colleagues come to be resented because they "raise the bar" for what is expected of everyone. As a result, workers feel the new standard will make everyone else look bad.

It doesn't matter that the overall welfare of the group or the task at hand is better served by someone's unselfish behavior, Parks said.

"What is objectively good, you see as subjectively bad," he said.

The do-gooders are also seen as deviant rule breakers. It's as if they're giving away Monopoly money so someone can stay in the game, irking other players to no end.


Link via reddit | Photo by Flickr user schopie1 used under Creative Commons license

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I'll add that the truly generous participants would have treated their team mates to dinner. Better yet, give meal vouchers to the homeless.

Only a show-off would pretend to martyr himself "for the good of the group".

And yes, show-offs do get voted off the island first.
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I call bunk on this study. If you look at the way the study was set up, you had normal people trading points for meal vouchers, but the "generous" people were trading in those vouchers for a CHANCE to win a cash prize to be shared among the team.

Guaranteed lunch, versus not-guaranteed money.

Opting for the cash prize was painted as "generous" but I suspect that many of the participants wouldn't have agreed. They probably resented being told that they were being selfish by keeping their meal vouchers.

To up the ante, if the team were in a survival situation, the guy who wasted his food would be a burden to the group-- not a hero.

Bad Science makes Beryllium angry. >:[
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Now what would be quite telling is to correlate the percentage of those workers who feel resentful with other data, such as union membership...
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Don't care about this study, I would still like to be the one who helps. Regardless of how other people see me. Thanks for posting, I love this website....it is very kid friendly.
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