Study: Kinder Managers Do Not Receive Empathy From Employees

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. (CBS Connecticut) – The findings of a recent study indicate that nicer bosses may be appreciated by their employees for their kindness, but ultimately do not get better results from the people they manage.

The study, published by the journal for the Academy of Management in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., was conducted by researchers at both the IMD business school of Switzerland and University College London.

“Managers and employees alike appreciate that controlling negative emotions can be important within an organization,” study co-author and professor Ginka Toegel was quoted as saying by Time Business & Money. “But it seems there’s a marked difference in how the two parties believe this sort of support should be perceived and how they think employees should respond to it.”

For the study, several dozen workers from a recruiting agency for managers in the service industry were interviewed. Using the data collected from their polling, the team then constructed a social map which revealed that understanding from managers often did not result in reciprocal consideration from employees.

In fact, 75 percent of low- and middle-class employees told researchers that they felt support from above, but none felt inclined in any way to work harder because of it.

“Based on our findings, maybe the lesson for all concerned is to avoid unrealistic expectations — especially in an era when so much of economic life is built on services,” IMD professor Anand Narasimhan told Time. “The fact is that managers do benefit from a happy team in terms of productivity and results, even without any additional displays of loyalty and commitment.”

Narasimhan added, “Some manifestation of gratitude beyond that would be very nice, of course, but there’s no reason for bitterness or hand wringing if it doesn’t happen to materialize.”

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