Does Being Nice Pay Off For Women?

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By Nilofer Merchant (Contributing Writer, Harvard Business Review) Two interesting research pieces crossed my desk in the past few weeks.

One, from Stanford, argues that while people want to hang out with generous, kind, honest, sincere, and trustworthy people, they often select (hire or buy from) people who exhibit competitiveness, effectiveness, intelligence, and confidence.

The other, from Harvard, argues that “nice guys can finish first”. Specifically, that social networks aid in cooperation and discourage selfishness and that groups will eliminate people or break connections by those who behaved selfishly.

Jennifer Aaker, of Stanford, and two colleagues document 3 experiments that show consumers perceive non-profits as being warmer than for-profits, but as less competent. Further, that consumers are less willing to buy a product made by a nonprofit, than by a for-profit because of their perception that the firm lacks competence. More here on her work. I can think of many companies that are both competent and good because they manage to share their purpose while being efficient (REI, Patagonia, Starbucks, Nike, as quick examples).

» Read the full article at Nilofer Merchant's blog.