Mendoza School of Business

Weak economy breeds more co-worker rivalry

Published: July 25, 2012 / Author: Allison Linn

The following is an excerpt from an MSNBC article that quotes Management Professor Tim Judge on research that suggest that the best athletes are also the most competitive employees. To read the entire article visit: Weak economy breeds more co-worker rivalry

If your office sometimes feels more like an Olympic boxing ring than the collaborative environment you hear about in human resources materials, you can at least take comfort that you’re not alone.

A newly released survey finds that nearly half of senior managers at U.S. companies think employees are more competitive with each other than they were a decade earlier.

The telephone survey, of 1,013 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees, found that only 4 percent of the managers think employees are less competitive with one another than a decade ago.

It was conducted in August 2011 and released last week by Office Team, a temporary administrative staffing agency.


Of course, there are plenty of benefits to being competitive. Timothy Judge, a management professor at the University of Notre Dame, noted that research has shown that the best athletes are also the most competitive.

But particularly in U.S. office environments that focus on teamwork and collaboration, you can get into trouble if your competitive streak makes you the jerk at work.

“There’s some optimal range. If you seem arrogant and imperious, you may get a certain level of respect, but I think you’ll be seen as difficult,” Judge said.

But on the other hand, he noted, “If you continually undersell yourself, you’re not going to get recognized.”


Topics: Mendoza