Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Impact of Inauthentic Behavior: How Does It Feel to be a Phony?

Kellogg Insights reports on the latest research by Francesca Gino, Maryam Kouchaki, and Adam Galinsky.   They examine the impact of inauthentic behavior - or "phoniness" to put it simply.  What happens we were act like phonies, perhaps to stay in the good graces of a boss at work?   These scholars demonstrate that inauthentic behavior actually makes us feel immoral.  Moreover, it makes us want to engage in some moral behavior (e.g. helping or serving others) to compensate for that bad feeling about ourselves.   The scholars suggest that low employee engagement in many workplaces may result, in part, from the fact that people feel immoral about phony behavior that they have engaged in at work.  What's the implication for business leaders.  Here's an excerpt from Kellogg Insights summarizing the scholars' conclusions:

For business leaders, these consequences are worth keeping in mind. If employee dissatisfaction is based on a violation of moral values—even at a subconscious level—it might be worth considering how authentic employees are allowed to be in their particular role. “It seems to be true that to act in accordance with one’s own self, emotions, and values is a fundamental aspect of well-being,” Kouchaki says. “Leaders might want to factor that in. The knowledge that inauthentic behavior has costs and that prosocial behavior”—like assisting or mentoring a colleague—“increases moral self-regard—this is something leaders might consider when designing their organizations.”

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