AOM Press Releases

Inc.: Research Shows Using 1 Word Will Help You Develop Better Ideas, Solutions, and Problem-Solving Skills

01 Feb 2023
When faced with a dilemma--or simply wanting to make a change--research shows "What should I do?" is a terrible thing to ask.

Originally found at Inc.

An acquaintance worked for a small-town bike shop, and a friend told him -- in confidence -- that a competing shop would be opening soon.

He was torn. As most of us do, he reflexively nodded his head when his friend said, "Promise you won't tell anyone." Yet he also felt loyal to his employer, and this was news the shop's owner clearly needed to know.

The result is a moral dilemma, a problem without an obvious "right" answer; choosing confidentiality to a friend would mean forgoing loyalty to his employer, and vice versa.  

"What should I do?" he asked me.

Oddly enough, research shows the first thing he should do (h/t to Daniel Pink's Pinkcast) is use another word besides "should.

Continue reading the original article at Inc..

Read the original research in  Academy of Management Journal.

Read the  Academy of Management Insights summary.

Learn more about the AOM Scholars and explore their work: