The Sauder School of Business website has an engaging segment entitled, Rewriting the Rules of Business, which, on an ongoing basis, highlights and rewards unconventional problem solving strategies in business by focusing on new and innovative perspectives to recurring and persistent problems.
We, at Questions First, were particularly struck by a provocative new study co-authored by professor Karl Aquino of the Sauder School of Business, which concludes that “bosses should pick favorites [in the workplace] if they want top performing teams”.
Aquino points out, however, that this approach (that shows preferential treatment to strong performing employees) is risky. It could alienate those employees that do not receive this special attention. “Canadian, Northern European and most Asian cultures”, he argues, “take a more egalitarian approach” (Aquino, 2013), as compared with the working culture in the United States, which leans toward showing preferential treatment to star employees (Aquino, 2013).
I have to confess that I find the argument against praising superior performance in the workplace for fear that it could offend some workers, at best, surprising and, at worst, somewhat insubstantial. In a global business environment that is defined by tough economic times and increasingly sophisticated competition, can we afford to dismiss research results that clearly point to positive results from workers who are acknowledged for going above and beyond their stated duties?
Surely, the ongoing success of a corporation or small business requires thinking outside the box from all its employees and not the gagging of a supervisor who would praise the efforts of an employee for a job well done. Is it not critical for the survival of all businesses to fully harness the potential of their workforce? Consequently, is it not crucial to develop a human resource system that delineates a set of distinct activities, functions, and processes that is directed at attracting, developing, and maintaining (or disposing of) a company’s vital human resource (Ahmad and Schroeder, 2003)?
Let us know what you think!