Pygmalion Effect in Management Essay

954 Words May 19th, 2015 4 Pages
The Pygmalion Effect in Management
J. Sterling Livingston’s article “Pygmalion in Management,” published in the September/October 1988 edition of the Harvard Business Review, details a bizarrely effective phenomenon known as the “Pygmalion Effect” and it’s effect on managed staff. In short, this effect is defined as employees responding to the expectations and attitude of their manager towards them by living up to said expectations and effectively transforming the employees into the persons the manager perceives them as. Livingston firmly believes in the existence of this phenomenon and explains into detail the inherent double-edged nature of the effect and how a manager can use it to his or her advantage. After studying Livingston’s
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The employee responding to these attitudes, wants to live up to the expectations set, whether high or low, and will continue to adjust his or her work habits and attitude until they match the perceptions of the manager. This is a series of events that I have witnessed as an employee at multiple businesses over the past five years, and I can attest to its effects on the employees and the entire work environment.
One instance in particular involved the night stocking staff at a local Walmart. The staff, consisting of a twelve-person crew, was overseen by one of three assistant managers. The first manager, whom was the most experienced with team dynamic, but less so as a manager, held a generally favorable view of the employees and would often talk them up and lightheartedly joke with the employees while still keeping the professionalism to be viewed by the staff as a person of leadership. The majority of the employees responded well to the first manager’s view of them and would step up their performance while he was around.
The second manager had the most experience as a manager. He also held a favorable view of the employees, but had a firmer, more militaristic approach to his managing style. With that being said, the second manager never talked down to an employee, relying on his high expectations of what should be accomplished during the shift to speak to the employees. The staff still kept a good track record on the days the second

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