Mendoza School of Business

Being mean for fun, profit

Published: August 19, 2011 / Author: Dale McFeatters

The following is an excerpt from an article in St. Petersburg Times that discusses Management Professor Tim Judge’s research on how agreeable workers earn significantly lower incomes than less agreeable ones. To read the entire article visit: Being mean for fun, profit

Three distinguished university professors probably were unaware of what they started when they published their study, “Do Nice Guys — and Gals — Really Finish Last? The Joint Effects of Sex and Agreeableness on Income.”

The answer is maybe not last but not a close second either, especially for men. You may want to run out and get your copy of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. It may contain important career advice.

In a survey of 3,500 workers, men who described themselves as being nice, easy, cooperative and kind earned 18 percent less — $9,770 a year — than men who described themselves as disagreeable.

The professors were clever if they got workers to describe themselves as disagreeable. Filling out a test for your company generally entails trying to dope out what qualities the brass are looking for and tailoring the answers to fit. There’s generally a category where you’re asked to describe your worst quality. It should be one of the following: (a) I expect too much of myself and drive myself too hard; (b) I can’t let go of a project until I’m sure it’s perfect; (c) I care just too darned much about this company.


Topics: Mendoza