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Study Finds That Promotions Are Often Based on Favoritism (Is This News?)

By JLP | October 7, 2011

I read on MSN this morning about a study that found that promotion decisions are often based on favoritism.

I’m wondering why this is news.

I mean, isn’t the whole point of pretty much every self-help management/career book and seminar to learn how to work in a way that helps you win friends in order to get ahead? Simply doing your job to the best of your ability is not enough. You have to make an effort to schmooze with those who can take you places.

I’m sure the article is talking about instances where qualifications take a back seat to outright favoritism. Even so, eventually the unqualified employee’s performance shows that they are in over their head and they’ll either quit or be replaced.

That’s not to say that it’s easy to work hard and watch someone else get a promotion. My advice: read up on building relationships. A good place to start is with the classic, How To Win Friends and Influence People* by Dale Carnegie.

*Affiliate Link

Topics: Careers | 6 Comments »


6 Responses to “Study Finds That Promotions Are Often Based on Favoritism (Is This News?)”

  1. Russ Says:
    October 7th, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Wow… that is just brilliant. What kills me is that someone had to “study” something so obvious to anyone whose held a real job. This folks is why college tuition is so high – so pointed headed professors can study crap like this.

  2. Miguel Says:
    October 8th, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Russ,YWhere does all the hostility towards higher education come from?

    JLP, Having been on both sides of the desk, as employer, manager, employee, I’ve seen all permutations of this issue. No doubt, a study is not needed to find the link between relationships and promotion. But, usually, I have found it goes beyond simple favoritism. Managers like to surround themselves with people who fit into their objectives in some way. The employee who works on building that relationship gains key insight into what is important to the manager and is able to focus on what counts (for better or worse). There is also a loyalty and trust component, which often outweighs the pure skill component. For course, I should take my own advice – I’ve never been all that good at a-kissing, though I certainly try to build working relationships up and down the food chain. And I treat my job as something I have to earn the right to return to each and every day.

  3. Miguel Says:
    October 8th, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Typos corrected:

    Russ, Where does all the hostility towards higher education come from?

    JLP, Having been on both sides of the desk, as employer, manager, employee, I’ve seen all permutations of this issue. No doubt, a study is not needed to find the link between relationships and promotion. But, usually, I have found it goes beyond simple favoritism. Managers like to surround themselves with people who fit into their objectives in some way. The employee who works on building that relationship gains key insight into what is important to the manager and is able to focus on what counts (for better or worse). There is also a loyalty and trust component, which often outweighs the pure skill component. Of course, I should take my own advice – I’ve never been all that good at a-kissing, though I certainly try to build working relationships up and down the food chain. And I treat my job as something I have to earn the right to return to each and every day.

  4. John Says:
    October 8th, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    This is why teachers fight so hard against merit pay.

  5. Jack Says:
    October 8th, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Rule of Acquisition #33: It never hurts to suck up to the boss.

  6. Michelle Says:
    October 13th, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Hahaha…this makes me laugh! My favorite employees have always been those that work the hardest and contribute most. They do seem to advance much faster than whiners and those who do just what they have to to get by…this article just may have something!

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