The Margin: Does it pay to be a loyal employee? Research says it may just result in extra work

by | Mar 26, 2023 | Stock Market

If you’re a loyal worker, you’re also likely to be an exploited worker.  That’s the key takeaway from a new study led by Matthew Stanley, a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Stanley’s findings appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology — and the title of the paper pretty much says it all: “Loyal Workers Are Selectively And Ironically Targeted For Exploitation.”

Stanley’s research involved asking hundreds of managers to determine how much work to dole out among employees in fictional scenarios. In the experiments, the employee who was identified as “loyal” was consistently asked to do unpaid work and take on additional job tasks more often than a worker described as “disloyal.” What’s more, the “loyal” employee was also given unpaid work more often than workers described as “honest” or “fair.” And the more work that a loyal employee did, the greater the chance the employee would be asked to do, well, even more, according to Stanley and his fellow researchers. In short, it’s a vicious cycle.  Stanley told MarketWatch that some managers may be exploiting loyal workers simply because they can, but it’s not always that cut and dried. In other cases, they may be blind as to what they’re asking of loyal employees, and are simply worried about getting the job d …

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