Pygmalion in Management: Reaction
Most managers have a common sense about the impact of expectation. They understand higher expectations motivate subordinates to perform better. But when it comes to applying the theory in daily life, only a few managers hold the magic power in hands and could change other people’s destinies. There must be something ordinary people cannot overcome. What is it? In the article Pygmalion in Management, J. Sterling Livingston (1969) was spearheading the point: to be Pygmalion. Pygmalion was an artist, who sculpted a beautiful girl statue, then fell in love with her, and he believed the girl was coming to life. Ultimately, with the passion, love, and intensively expectation, Pygmalion transformed the statue to life, and married her. This story is a fairy tale, but it is a perfect metaphor of the power of expectation. Everyone is growing into apart of others expectation. In a life cycle, a child depends on parents, a student learns from teachers, and a young employee works for employers; then he or she may become a parent for children, an experienced worker, and a manager or an employer to lead young employees. According to the article, the younger the one is, the easier they are influenced by others. As for a young person’s career, critical time to be transformed by manager’s expectation is the first year in his or her career. After the one starts to work, he or she as an adult, rapidly reduces the chance to change set by others; meanwhile dramatically increases ability to impact on others. How many young managers could truly convert to be Pygmalion? In this article, there is a person who did it, who is a manager of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He reassigns his subordinates as three groups: high performance, average performance, and low performance. The highly expected group largely increased their productivity. The normal group keeps normal, and the low expected one actually downs their productivity. The manager uses...
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