Click for Academy of Management home page

Academy of Management

Why it can be cruel to be kind in the workplace

Why it can be cruel to be kind in the workplace
Financial TImes
By Andrew Hill
Published: December 4, 2017

Alongside the predictable specifications for a job vacancy at the Financial Times — problem-solving, tenacity, and so on — is one I haven’t seen before. The ideal candidate must “exude kindness”.

As a rule, I would say that if you are actually sweating a quality, you are probably trying too hard. Nobody thinks “he oozes niceness” is a compliment. The requirement does, however, raise an interesting question: at work, how much kindness is enough, and how much is too much?

What is more, research confirms workplace warmheartedness has wider benefits. A University of California study at Coca-Cola’s Madrid site showed workers who benefited from small acts of kindness amplified their own positive behaviour — “paying it forward” — while givers and receivers felt a greater sense of autonomy, and were happier all around.

Another study in the Academy of Management Journal highlighted the importance of “companionate love” in the male-dominated world of firefighting. When combined with a culture of “joviality”, acts of kindness — such as raising money to help a financially troubled colleague hang on to his house — moderated risk-taking and reduced health problems triggered by the strain of balancing work and family.

Read the entire article...

Academy of Management
Member Services
Academy of Management
Online Opportunities
Academy of Management