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Financial Times: The paradox that leads professionals into temptation

31 Jan 2022
If everyone is now a ‘professional’ – what does professionalism actually mean?

Originally found at Financial Times by Andrew Hill

Before her first ward-round as a junior doctor, Sunita Sah watched as the consultant leading the group stuffed his pockets with branded pens and notepads from a hospital cart piled with drug company freebies.

Noting her astonishment, he remarked, “these are the only perks of the job”, and continued to stock up. “I couldn’t help but think: ‘What’s the end-effect of this?’” Sah told me.

She found part of the answer to that question when she moved from medicine into management consulting and started analyzing how every interaction between healthcare companies and doctors had an impact on their prescribing habits.

Now a professor at Cornell University in the US and an honorary fellow at Cambridge’s Judge Business School, Sah has filled in more gaps with a new study that sheds light on the dark side of professionalism and how to avoid it....

In the study for the Academy of Management Perspectives, Sah equates this “professionalism paradox” to the Dunning-Kruger effect, according to which poor performers lack even the ability to recognise their own hopelessness.

Sah’s study is based on surveys of managers, but some of the pernicious real-world effects of her paradox are clear.

Continue reading the original article at Financial Times or The Irish Times

Read the original research in Academy of Management Perspectives

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