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Pygmalion in Management - Pattern of Failure

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전략적인적자원관리 심원술 교수님

Pygmalion in Management

2nd summarize

2006053433 경영학부



When salespersons are treated by their managers as super-people, they try to live up to that image and do what they know super-salespersons are expected to do. But when the agents with poor productivity records are treated by their managers as not having "any chance" of success, this negative expectation also becomes a managerial self-fulfilling prophecy.

Unsuccessful salespersons have great difficulty maintaining their self-image and self-esteem. In response to low managerial expectations, they typically attempt to prevent additional damage to their egos by avoiding situations that might lead to greater failure. They either reduce the number of sales calls they make or avoid trying to "close" sales when that might result in further painful rejection, or both. Low expectations and damaged egos lead them to behave in a manner that increases the probability of failure, thereby fulfilling their managers' expectations.


Managers cannot avoid the depressing cycle of events that flow from low expectations merely by hiding their feeling from subordinates. If managers believe subordinates will perform poorly, it is virtually impossible for them to mask their expectations because the message usually is communicated unintentionally, without conscious action on their part.


Managers are more effective in communicating low expectations to their subordinates than in communicating high expectation to them, even though most managers believe exactly the opposite. It usually is astonishingly difficult for them to recognize the clarity with which they transmit negative feelings.

The way managers treat subordinates, not the way they organize them, is the key to high expectations and high productivity.


Managerial expectations must pass the test of reality before they can be translated into performance. To become self-fulfilling prophecies, expectations must be made of sterner stuff than the power of positive thinking or generalized confidence in one's subordinates helpful as these concepts may be for some other purposes. Subordinates will not be motivated to reach high levels of productivity unless they consider the boss's high expectations realistic and achievable. If they are encouraged to strive for unattainable goals, they eventually give up trying and settle for results that are lower than they are capable of achieving.


Superior managers have greater confidence than other managers in their own ability to develop the talents of their subordinates. Contrary to what might be assumed, the high expectations of superior managers are based primarily on what they think about themselves about their own ability to select, train, and motivate their subordinates.. What managers believe about themselves subtly influences what they believe about their subordinates, what they expect of them, and how they treat them. If they have confidence in their ability to develop and stimulate them to high levels of performance, they will expect much of them and will treat them with confidence that their expectations will be met. But if they have doubts about their ability to stimulate them, they will expect less of them and will treat them with less confidence.

What managers believe about their ability to train and motivate subordinates clearly is the foundation on which realistically high managerial expectations are built.


Managerial expectations have their most magical influence on young people. As subordinates mature and gain experience, their self-image gradually hardens, and they begins to see themselves as their career records imply. Their own aspirations and the expectations of their superiors become increasingly controlled by the "reality of their past performance. It becomes more and more difficult for them and for their managers to generate mutually high expectations unless they have outstanding records.


The early years in a business organization, when young people can be strongly influenced by managerial expectations are critical in determining future performance



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