The Office Jerk vs The Good Person

What constitutes ‘a jerk’ in the office? As early as 1996, the term was largely associated with people who have poor interpersonal and communication skills.

When the pace of work becomes faster, the workplace becomes more interpersonally disconnected. In this environment, personal values are replaced by rudeness, discourtesy and insults.

The real question, then, is: does being a jerk payoff? Do people who act like jerks actually move up in their organisations? But before we can tackle this question, we first have to identify: what constitutes a jerk?

The top three traits were: failing to listen, putting down a colleague’s suggestion and making a destructive remark. On the flip side, the three most helpful behaviours were: offering compliments or positive remarks, volunteering to help and offering a beneficial suggestion.

At lower levels of the hierarchy, jerk behaviours were positively related to the frequency of promotions whereas helpful behaviours were not a significant predictor. At the same time, an individual’s standing on the corporate ladder has no significant association with ‘jerk behaviour’. This contradicts the common assumption that the higher up an individual goes, the greater jerk characteristics they exhibit.

The conclusion that was reached was that while jerk behaviours rather than helpful behaviour are rewarded, at some point, when there are no further possibilities of job promotions; helpful behaviours start to matter more than they did at the lower rungs of the hierarchy.

Long story short: being a jerk will only get you so far.


3 thoughts on “The Office Jerk vs The Good Person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s