Study: Rude Employees Out-Earn Their Nicer Colleagues

Anyone who's ever done a good deed likely is familiar with the phrase, "Nice guys finish last." Whether it's giving a lift to a stranded motorist that makes you late for work or a small loan to a friend that never gets repaid, doing a good deed can ultimately feel like the wrong thing to do.

That is apparently also true of work -- at least when it comes to pay. A new study finds that agreeable workers earn significantly lower incomes than less agreeable ones, The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription may be required), noting that the gap is especially wide among men.

The study, co-authored by a trio of college researchers, analyzed the professions, salaries and wages of some 10,000 workers during a 20-year time span. The data revealed that those men who could be described as less-than-agreeable, determined by self assessment, earned about 18 percent, or nearly $9,800 more than the "nicer" guys.

The outcome was less stark among women, the Journal notes. Ruder women earned about 5 percent, or around $1,800, more than their agreeable counterparts.

"Nice guys are getting the shaft," says study co-author Beth A. Livingston, an assistant professor of human resource studies at Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) School.

"The problem is, many managers often don't realize they reward disagreeableness," Livingston tells the Journal. That's problematic because paying rude people more may contradict values that a company promotes.

Results from the study, Do Nice Guys -- and Gals -- Really Finish Last?, are being presented today in San Antonio at an annual gathering of management scholars.

Whether the team of presenters decided to push and shove their way onto the stage to be the first to speak remains unclear.

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Let's face it, among our politicians, never mind our mental health services for the veterans, she was the Smoothy among the children, and they often questioned why they went into the big city to go to school where those those indivdual so the only such a secretetarsnery, but cage us am

August 16 2011 at 5:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Work" is a four letter Anglo-Saxon word like "****" and "****."

August 16 2011 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've worked with some mean, rude people in my long career and there are sadistic senior management types that love this behavior even when they don't show it themselves. They sometimes say these rude people are assertive and "take charge" types when really many of them are insecure bullies. Where do we think school yard bullies go when they grow up and go to work? They become workplace bullies (and managers). My blog for workers >40 gives ideas on coping with a changing workplace for older workers. Visit the blog@--- Comment, follow and tell your friends who are over 40 and working!!

August 16 2011 at 1:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

What a load of corporate CRAP! If being rude paqid more, I'd be a friggin' billionaire!!

August 16 2011 at 1:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And, that is what is taking this country down the toilet. We seem to reward bad behavior and ignore good behavior. Just look at the crap that is on TV now, what are we teaching our children?

August 16 2011 at 12:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hello Tina

I think rude is many times confused with the ability to confront issues head on. I've come across so many rude people in retail, and other businesses who should not be in lead positions. Customers should not be made to feel they are interrupting the work of the person whose "work" it is to help them. Without us they would not have a job. Shop and do your business accordingly when possible. Do not patronize places where this attitude is prevalent.

August 16 2011 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hello Tina's comment

And what do you do when confronted by a rude customer when you are bending over backwards to be nice and help them ? The same rule applies: Without employees, the customer would be hard pressed to get what they need.

August 16 2011 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd say that this is very specific to the United States where being rude and being an ******* seems to be norm in so many wlaks of life. Unfortunate that we've lost direction and become such doucebags...

August 16 2011 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

People in general are rude. Drivers are out of control, many wanting to challenge every other driver. I see many people who delight in manning up to others...getting in their face..challenging everything even if it is of no importance..........What a shock when they called out. Not everyone is a WUSS although many are and so the rude bully mentality types thrive.

August 16 2011 at 12:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I own a small service company. I just fired a rude employee as in disagreeable toward other employees.
Here Rude is out. I am older and appreciate people who are kind and considerate. Everything else walks

August 16 2011 at 12:24 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

I find this to be true in the work force, especially in the last 15 years. I have encountered as an employee very very very rude bosses, incompetent management whose lack of delegation have lead to disasterous results. Loyalty is out the window, the rude employees are looking for boot lickers or arsekizzers. And then we all wonder why corporations move out of this country. Because the work ethic has changed in the business environment. Rude Lazy incompetent employees breed bad management

August 16 2011 at 11:39 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jkennedy806's comment

Oh so true.

August 16 2011 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dear J,

I began working at 16 and worked for a company which rewarded superiour talent, work ethic, and superiour creativity under the work stress that was a shared responsibility their work pressure on their company took a huge slide just several months ago. ( 60) Nevertheless

August 16 2011 at 6:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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