Lisa Benton felt like she was put behind the eight-ball from the start in reference to her relationship with her bosses, Deborah Linton and Ron Scoville. According to a research article, “Are Your Subordinates Setting You Up to Fail?” impressions and expectations made in the first five days are very predictive to what the working relationship will look like for the following weeks and even months to come. In Benton’s case, this seems to have happened in the first five minutes. After initial meetings with Linton and Scoville, they both mentioned that they were not fond or impressed by Harvard MBAs, and Benton left the meetings feeling like they were disinterested in her.
Linton and Scoville both created the Pygmalion Effect in a downward spiral which had a direct effect on Benton’s behavior. Linton made it clear from the beginning that she and Scoville had a great relationship. They even seemed intimate at times. This was very uncomforting to Benton because she felt like she was the third wheel. Linton had created two groups in their team. She and Scoville were in the, “in-group,” and unfortunately, Benton was in the, “out-group.” She learned that Linton and Scoville had been working on this project for eight months before she jumped on board. Scoville reinforced the Pygmalion Effect in a downward spiral on Benton by his preconceived notion of her competence. One of the first things he said when she came on board was, “You’re in learning mode…you won’t be expected to be a brand wizard or decision maker.” As a result, Benton began to subconsciously lose confidence and question her competence. Even though she felt like she was over-qualified for the tasks she was given, when her chance to speak up in brand meetings arrived, she chose to bite her tongue and refer to Scoville. As the Pygmalion Effect suggests, as time went on Benton became more disconnected with her bosses. She spent time chatting with other colleagues instead of Linton and Scoville. As a...
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