Temperate and nice guys get paid less and advance lower than their counterparts with a disagreeable personality in the work place.
Despite the famous saying “Nice guys finish last,” men with less agreeable personalities out earn men with agreeable and altruistic personalities by about 18 percent ($9,772 a year), according to a study to be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
For the study, researchers from the University of Notre Dame, Cornell University and the University of Western Ontario analyzed more than 20 years of data, which came from four different surveys that considered almost 10,000 workers across multiple industries.
Surprisingly, the findings showed that disagreeable women earn only about 5.5 percent ($1,828 a year) more than agreeable counterparts, says the report “Do Nice Guys — and Gals — Really Finish Last?” presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management in San Antonio.
“The trick is that the premium for being disagreeable is much stronger for men than it is for women,” researchers wrote. Disagreeable women earned less than their agreeable male cohorts, and agreeable women were at the bottom of the pile, earning the least.
The researchers suggested that the difference between genders may be a result of that people judge no-nonsense woman more harshly than no-nonsense men
“The perception is that if a woman is agreeable, she gets taken advantage of, and if she is disagreeable, she’s considered a control freak or ‘the B-word,” said study’s co-author Timothy Judge. In addition, more agreeable men may be penalized in the workplace because they might not be living up to longstanding expectations that men be aggressive, combative or even rude, said lead author Beth A. Livingston of Cornell University.
Even in work places that claim to value teamwork. Women, meanwhile, are expected to be nice, so they aren’t penalized much for being so, she added.
Being disagreeable doesn’t necessarily mean being rude, the researchers wrote. Disagreeable people may simply set more aggressive goals and negotiate harder than agreeable types, Judge noted.