Pygmalion Effect in Management Essay
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 …show more content…
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