Pygmalion Effect in Management

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  • Topic: Self-fulfilling prophecy, Pygmalion effect, George Bernard Shaw
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  • Published : December 1, 2012
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Pygmalion Effect in Management
Principles of Management
Abstract
The Pygmalion Effect in Management is the idea that workers are more productive when being watched by members of management. Workers are eager to please bosses, or appear competent, so productivity and rule following increases when a member of management is present. Your expectations of people and their expectations of themselves are the key factors in how well people perform at work. Pygmalion Effect in Management

The Pygmalion Effect is a type of self-fulfilling prophecy (SFP) in which raising manager expectations regarding subordinate performance boosts subordinate performance. Managers who are led to expect more of their subordinates lead them to greater achievement. Programmatic research findings from field experiments are reviewed, and our present knowledge about the Pygmalion Effect in the management of industrial, sales, and military organizations is summarized. A model is presented in which leadership is hypothesized to be the key mediator through which manager expectations influence subordinate self-efficacy, performance expectations, motivation, effort, and performance. The behaviors that comprise the Pygmalion Leadership Style are described. Besides creating the one-on-one Pygmalion Effect, additional ways for managers to assert their leadership by creating productive organization wide SFP are suggested. All it takes is believing in the individual. Supervisors can create better employees just by believing in them. This is even truer when working with underachievers. The Pygmalion Effect enables staff to excel in response to the manager’s message that they are capable of success and expected to succeed. The Pygmalion Effect was described by J. Sterling Livingston in the September/October, 1988 Harvard Business Review. “The way managers treat their subordinates is subtly influenced by what they expect of them,” Livingston said in his article, Pygmalion in Management. The Pygmalion Effect can also undermine staff performance when the subtle communication from the manager tells them the opposite. These cues are often subtle, as an example, the supervisor fails to praise a staff person’s performance as frequently as he praises others. The supervisor talks less to a particular employee. This is actually an unskilled supervisor. This can leave scars on the careers of the young men or women, cuts deeply into their self-esteem and distorts their image of themselves as human beings. But if he is skillful and has high expectations of his subordinates, their self-confidence will grow, their capabilities will develop and their productivity will be high. More often than the manager realizes, he is Pygmalion. Summarizing the Pygmalion Effect, often known as the power of expectations is considering; every supervisor has expectations of the people who report to him. Supervisors communicate these expectations consciously or unconsciously. People pick up on, or consciously or unconsciously read, these expectations from their supervisor. People perform in ways that are consistent with the expectations they have picked up on from the supervisor. It is a persistently held belief in another person such that the belief becomes a reality. The person believed in, being believed, becomes the person whom they are perceived to be. The self-fulfilling prophecy. Did you ever notice that there are some people with whom we naturally feel comfortable? Who think our ideas are great. When they listen to us, we express ourselves clearly and are able to make ideas ring with clarity and insight. This is because, believing we are bright, they see us in this light. We, knowing how they feel about us, work hard to make sure they are satisfied with our answers. The opposite is also true. There are people with whom we are not comfortable and who we believe do not like us. We avoid these people and do not do our best when we are around them. With these people we are hesitant and much less...
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