Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Be Aware of Shaming Others

Within psychology the terms shame and guilt are often used interchangeable however recent research publish in the Journal of Self & Identity (Wolf, Cohen, Panter & Insko, 2009) empirically illustrated that shame and guilt proneness are distinct from each other regardless of their similarities. Wolf et al (2009) further revealed that individuals experiencing shame focus on how they are being evaluated by others, while individuals experiencing guilt focus on how their behavior has affected others. Shame proneness was negatively associated with self-esteem and positively associated with personal distress and neuroticism. Guilt proneness was positively associated with empathic concern, perspective taking and subscription to conventional morality. These results illustrate that employees whom are publically shamed are more likely to withdrawal from work while individuals who feel guilt try to actively fix the situation. Companies that “make examples” of deviant employees make reduce deviance across the organization but they should beware of the impact they have on the individual that will feel shame after the fact.

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