Nice, Cooperative Employees Draw Hatred from Co-workers: Study

Workplace Haters, it turns out, are actually attempting to do social engineering.  Findings from a new study reveal that highly cooperative and generous people can attract hatred and social punishment, especially in competitive circumstances such as the workplace. Further, researchers found that cooperative behavior attracted punishment most often in groups whose members compete with each other. This was even the case when punishing or derogating the do-gooder lessened benefits for the entire group, including the punisher(!)

“Some people like to bring cooperators down a peg, especially if they think the good guys make them look bad in the workplace, boardroom or other organization.”   -Professor Pat Barclay, researcher

A Universal Phenomenon?

Researchers concluded that being suspicious, jealous or hostile toward those who seem better or nicer or holier than us appears to run deep in the psychological makeup of humans.  [Well, some humans…certainly not all of us.]

“People will hate on the really good guys. This pattern has been found in every culture in which it has been looked at.”

Why would some people target nice, cooperative and generous people in the workplace?

“You can imagine within an organization today the attitude, ‘Hey, you’re working too hard and making the rest of us look bad.’ In some organizations people are known for policing how hard others work, to make sure no one is raising the bar from what is expected.”  -Professor Pat Barclay, researcher


Journal Reference: Aleta Pleasant, Pat Barclay. Why Hate the Good Guy? Antisocial Punishment of High Cooperators Is Greater When People Compete To Be Chosen. Psychological Science, 2018; 29 (6): 868 DOI: 10.1177/0956797617752642


Submitted by: Not Melissa