The Pygmalion effect also called the Rosenthal model, is known as a simple way to boost performance in the workplace, if you happen to be a manager. You might have heard of it before, as you might have heard about its sister, the Galatea effect, as two top management secrets. But what is the Pygmalion effect really? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is the Pygmalion Effect?
The effect gets its name from the beautiful story of Pygmalion, of the Metamorphoses of Ovid. He was a sculptor who created such a beautiful statue of a woman that he fell in love with her. Taking pity on him, the gods brought her to life so that they could be together. So, what is the parallel with your working place?
The Pygmalion effect is the name of a phenomenon where higher expectations of a manager lead to his employees performing better. This is called a self-fulfilling prophecy, in the sense that, if you will something to happen, it will.
Here’s how we can sum up the Pygmalion effect in the workplace.
- A manager has very high expectations of his employees, as he should.
- Whenever he communicates with one or more employees, he passes on these high expectations, whether consciously or unconsciously.
- The employees will pick up on what was transmitted to them, again whether being aware of the message or not.
- As a result, the employees will perform better and consistent with what the manager willed them to accomplish in the first place.
What Is the Galatea Effect?
Galatea was the name of the sculpture the ancient Pygmalion created. Therefore, if we were to continue this comparison, as social studies suggest we do, Galatea represents the employees. If they believe in themselves and think they are capable of doing a fantastic job in the workplace, they will do so. It’s another branch of the self-fulfilling prophecy tool.
What Is the Golem Effect?
The golem effect is the opposite of the Pygmalion effect. Both psychology and social studies consider the following. If a manager or a person in a position of power can make his or her subordinates work better than before by willing them to do so, they can also make them perform worse than usual.
For example, if a manager neglects an employee or doesn’t praise his performances or contribution, that person may lose confidence or even interest in the job altogether. This is called the golem effect. If you want to know what is the Pygmalion effect, you also need to know its dark side.
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Is the Pygmalion Effect True?
This is a tricky question to answer. Studies have been very hard to conduct in a correct manner. When they have been performed, their results did show a positive relationship between the manager’s expectations and the employee’s performance. However, critics argued that those studies always happened in very manipulative and unnatural settings.
Therefore, now that you know what is the Pygmalion effect and much more, what the Galatea and golem effects are, you are left with one thing to do. Try it out for yourself. All you have to do is communicate positive thoughts to your employees. At least, if it doesn’t work, you’ll be liked better as a boss!