Study: Rudeness Pays Off, Literally, in the Workplace

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The saying that nice guys finish last might actually be true when it comes to payroll.

A study that’s to be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that the less agreeable an employee is, the more likely they are to be earning a bigger paycheck–sometimes substantially bigger.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the study was conducted by a group of researchers who collated information from several surveys dating back almost 20 years. By examining the agreeableness of almost 10,000 employees in a variety of professions, the researchers tried to assess how attitude correlated to income. In addition, the researchers conducted a study that asked business students to act as hiring managers for a fake company and assess candidates on their hire-ability based on short profiles.

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And, according to the study, the results were clear: rudeness is profitable. Men who scored below average in terms of “agreeableness” were earning an average of 18% more than their agreeable counterparts. The difference wasn’t as large for female employees, though less agreeable women were still earning about five percent more than their pleasant work partners. And as for the study with the business students, the researchers found that people who were actually described as highly agreeable were less likely to be hired.

Of course, there’s a wide spectrum of behavior between agreeable and downright rude. NewsFeed suspects that, say, insisting on a raise when your boss seems to be withholding would pay off. Flipping off said boss? Not so much.

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