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2020.02.11

The Pygmalion Effect and How it Affects Your Business

Have you noticed that when managers express positive behaviors towards employees, their performance increases? 

This is caused by the Pygmalion effect. You must have heard of this “self-fulfilling prophecy” before or even practiced it in your homes, workplace and businesses.

So, What then is the Pygmalion effect?

The name Pygmalion stems from the Greek myth of Pygmalion. The Pygmalion effect also known as the Rosenthal effect, is a psychological phenomenon where a person consciously or unconsciously learns of an expectation and act in a manner consistent with that expectation. So high expectations will yield high performance and If much is not expected from a person, it’s likely the person won’t be inspired to perform to the limits of his or her capabilities.

The Pygmalion effect was discovered by a study conducted by Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobsen in the year 1968. In the study, students were randomly picked after an IQ test and their teacher was told that they were expected to be “intellectual bloomers” that year.

The students were tested at the end of the study with the same IQ test that was used at the start of the study. The result showed that the IQ of the selected students had indeed increased.

The idea behind the Pygmalion effect is that one’s behavior changes according to other’s beliefs and expectations on them. That means, higher expectations, higher performance.

And how does the Pygmalion Effect affect your Business?

We have already talked here about company culture and the fundamental role within your company and the performance of your team, which is also linked to your company culture is also associated with another factor:

The Pygmalion effect is just as prevalent in business as it is in the classroom. There are two main ways Pygmalion effect affects a business, it affects business productivity and also influences workplace behavior.

Using examples to drive home these points, worker x and y both work for W company as customer care representatives. The Head of the Department thinks worker X is more capable than Y, so he gives employee x more opportunities to develop and also he reinforces worker X good works.  For worker y this is not the case. Worker y is never offered coaching and support because his Head of Department has a lower expectation for him.

Who do you think will be more productive?

Obviously, worker X is more productive than worker Y. When a business owner thinks positively of his employees and genuinely recognizes the good work they do, they get more involved and dedicated to their work, which is ultimately a good thing for the company.

 On the other hand, when a businessperson’s expectations for his employees are low, it will hurt his employees’ productivity. And for a business, low productivity means loss.

Worker Y then receives a bad review at the end of the month, and then becomes unmotivated and sad. Note that not only their productivity is affected, but also behavior in the workplace and even their personal life.  It is like a cascade that only generates disappointment for all parts.

So what can we take from this?

Our focus on a belief or assumption can bring our assumption to life.  Pygmalion effect is a powerful tool and if used correctly it will affect the lives of those around us positively. So, as a business owner try to inculcate the Pygmalion effect into your business and watch your business grow.

What can we get from this?

Our focus on a belief or assumption can bring our assumption to life. The Pigmalyon effect is extremely powerful, and it can affect your business positively or not.  So, as the leader of your company, don’t forget to reaffirm and encourage your team! I guarantee you will see a difference in your company in the first month!

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1 comment

  • Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

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