Sunday, July 24, 2011

Watching Others Succeed Can Lower Motivation – NEW STUDY FINDS

 Dubai, UAE, 17 July 2011 – A recent study has revealed that people feel a sense of accomplishment from watching other people achieve their goals and consequently, become less motivated to achieve similar goals. The study was jointly conducted by researchers from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, Idaho State University, McGill University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  In findings that have functional implications for the workplace, the researchers discovered that passive viewing i.e. watching from the sidelines can limit an individual’s desire to complete the same goal. Thus, an individual transfers another person’s goal fulfillment to themselves, even if they haven’t achieved anything.  “One employee’s success could easily undermine the performance of others by leading to a false sense of progress, so managers should be careful with their public feedback. It is crucial that employees feel a sense of ownership over their own work only, and aren’t fooled into feeling complacent because they’re part of a successful team,” says Grainne Fitzsimons of Duke University, co-author of the study. Researchers are calling this psychological phenomenon – of how the goals of others impact people’s efforts – "vicarious goal satiation." To test this hypothesis, Fitzsimons and her colleagues conducted experiments in which participants observed varying degrees of goal pursuit. In one such experiment, one group of people saw puzzles being completed on a video screen. The other groups either did not see the puzzle being solved or they saw no puzzles at all. Then these groups of people were asked to do the puzzles themselves. Those who watched the puzzles being completed ended up being the least successful with their own puzzles. Grainne Fitzsimons is an associate professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, she collaborated on the study with Kathleen McCulloch of Idaho State University, Sook Ning Chua of McGill University, and Dolores Albarracin of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Details of the study can be found in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology: # End # About Duke University’s Fuqua School of BusinessDuke University’s Fuqua School of Business is one of the world’s leading business schools, with #1 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek) and #2 (Financial Times) ranked faculty in the US. Shaped and driven by the fundamental issues of the 21st century, the school is committed to becoming the world’s first legitimately global business school, with study and research locations in China, India, Russia, the UK, the UAE, and North Carolina. Utilizing Duke’s cross-disciplinary intellectual resources, The Fuqua School of Business aims to produce globally competent and socially conscious business leaders. For more information about Fuqua’s degree and open enrolment executive education programs, please visit About Duke UniversityDuke University consistently ranks among the world’s most prestigious schools. Duke’s graduate and professional schools — in business, divinity, engineering, the environment, law, medicine, nursing and public policy — are among the leaders in their fields. Duke’s student body includes more than 13,000 students in its undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, and its world-class faculty is helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge. The university has a strong commitment to applying knowledge in service to society, both in the community around its North Carolina campus and around the world. For information about Duke University, please visit 

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