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Popular workers get treated better

Think work isn't a popularity contest? University of Florida last week published this study that talks about how popular workers get treated better on the job.

According to the study, other co-workers were more likely to do things like adjust their schedules to accommodate another person's vacation request or help someone make up work after being absent if co-worker happened to be popular.

The professor who did the study, Brent Scott, said popular workers also were "less likely to be insulted, shunned by their colleagues or to encounter other rude and disrespectful treatment".

The study looked at two groups of people -- 116 undergraduate students who held a variety of jobs, and 139 full-time health care workers at a hospital. It's supposed to be published in the January issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

So makes me wonder...does popularity online with co-workers translate similarly? My experience says yes.

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Can you explain why? I do think that there are people who have lots of friends who are popular (well known) and some who have lots of friends who are popular for the wrong reasons?

The study itself didn't tackle that so much..at least, I think we would have to read the entire thing, which should go online soon. I was surprised to see, though, in the study that people who aren't liked but are popular still get treated well.

My guess -- the instinct for all of us is to be liked...And that's why we want to nice to popular people, right -- because we want to be like them?

I BELIEVE IT'S THE CHARISMA THAT POPULAR PEOPLE USUALLY EXHIBIT. WE ALL HAVE OUR FEARS OR PREJUDICES AND WHEN PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO N EGATE OR NEUTRALIZE THEM. WE USUALLY CONSIDER THEM A FRIEND EVEN IF WE DON'T EVEN KNOW THEM THAT WELL. POPULAR PEOPLE USUALLY MAKE YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE AND TO SOME DEGREE CONFIDENT .

How do you measure popularity on social networks? Most friends? Most contacts? I know people who will befriend any and everybody. Others are popular but more selective...

I don't think it's the number of friends, I would say it's the level of activity and interaction between the friends. So more qualitative than quantitative, I think.

Can one be popular without being liked, really? It is true I think that much of the workplace is just an ongoing negotiation session, with people who give and are flexible more likely to get the same from others.

From what I read of the study, it seemed to say they asked two questions: how popular was someone, and how liked was that person -- and they got different answers.

I definitely think there are "popular" people who are not well-liked by colleagues -- especially when there are workers who are liked by the boss but not by their peers, and those people are perceived as popular because they are the favorites...

Thanks for your interest in my study. Your comments are all interesting. One of the interesting things to me is the distinction between liking and popularity. To be popular, one must be liked (for example, liked by a majority). However, popular people aren't necessarily liked by all (and in fact are hated by some). The difference between liking and popularity lies in the referent: liking is a view of one individual toward another individual, while popularity is a view of a group toward an individual. This difference allows for the case where a person can perceive another as popular yet dislike that person; or alternatively, where a person can perceive another as unpopular yet like that person. The interesting part to me is that popular people should receive favorable treatment from both those who like them and those who dislike them. Those who dislike a popular person may still benefit from affiliating with them (by sharing in their social status), and research on children's popularity has confirmed this. As a result, even those who dislike a popular person should be motivated to treat that person well (at least to his/her face).

Again; thanks for your interest in the study!

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