New York, Aug 17 (IANS) Don’t feel ashamed in kissing up to your boss as it won’t impact your relationship with your supervisor — rather it will leave a positive influence on your co-workers as well, a new study has revealed.
The study found that newcomers who witness co-workers currying favours with their boss were more likely to have a positive perception about the supervisor, while other workers’ perceptions were unaffected.
Published in The Journal of Applied Psychology, the researchers looked at how ‘kissing up’ — meaning to flatter and cajole someone or curry favor — affected people who witnessed it.
The researchers said new employees are so eager for positive information about their supervisors that they tend to accept information that other employees provide, motivating them for ingratiation with the boss.
“We typically don’t like ingratiators. When established workers observe this behaviour, they tend to discount it. But newcomers really want to know about their supervisors, so they take the exchange as positive information and ignore its unsavory aspects,” said Trevor Foulk, Researcher, The College of William and Mary, Virginia, US.
In the study, participants watched a video of an employee using different types of ingratiation — compliments, interest in personal life, praise and favours — on a supervisor.
After the researchers analysed age, work experience and social skill, they found that participants who watched interactions that included ingratiation from a subordinate rated the supervisor’s warmth higher than those who watched interactions without it.
The positive perception even held when participants were told that the supervisor was unpleasant and ineffective. However, it only applied when the participants imagined that they were new to the job.
When participants were told that they were contractors whose term with the company was ending, the positive spirit disappeared. The study also found that when employees directly observed the supervisor behaving in a positive manner, the effect of ingratiation became less important.