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Do Nice Guys Really Finish Last? Notre Dame Study Says…

August 22, 2011 6 comments

University of Notre DameIn 2011, 480 business management undergrads at Notre Dame participated in a study in which they were to play the role of HR managers. They were assigned randomly to examine either eight male or eight female entry level candidate descriptions, and determine which of the eight should be placed on the fast track to management.

Here is an example of a candidate description excerpted from the study:

Carl Q: Was well organized. Nonverbal behaviors were appropriate. Demonstrated great intelligence via college transcripts. Has good insights on topics. Observation: He seems to be candid and trusting.

For all eight sample candidate profiles, the employee descriptions were kept relatively consistent. Each candidate was “described, in some way, as conscientious, smart and insightful.”

The only part of the candidate description that changed significantly was the sentence after the word “observation.” In four of the eight cases, the candidate was described using adjectives that would make the candidate seem agreeable (e.g. trusting, straightforward, modest, compliant, etc.). In the other four cases, the candidates were described as disagreeable, using adjectives that were antonymous.

So which candidates got put on the fast track to management? Read more…