Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One bad apple

Take any management or psychology class and you'll no doubt learn about "groupthink" and the power of group dynamics. So you might think one slacker in an otherwise productive group probably won't make much difference. But according to some research, that one "bad apple" can make a large impact.

I'm a big fan of the radio program, This American Life, and when I heard the "Ruining it for the rest of us" episode, I had to share. The prologue of the episode focuses on the research of "Will Felps, a professor at Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands, who designed an experiment to see what happens when a bad worker joins a team." Felps used an actor who took turns being a jerk, a slacker or a depressive, and watched what happen to the team.

The results? One "bad" team member can spoil it for the rest of us. The antidote? Good listening and asking questions. The whole episode is an hour long, but the prologue section is just 14 minutes and is good listening.

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