NOTRE-DAME, Ind. – It pays to be selfish, at least for husbands. These are the conclusions, in short, of a new study which has just been published by researchers at the University of Notre Dame. Virtually guaranteed to raise eyebrows and incite debate in homes across the country, research concludes that ‘obnoxious’ married men who avoid getting involved in the home typically end up having higher incomes than husbands who do. diligently help with household chores.
Focusing only on heterosexual marriages, the study indicates that selfish husbands who avoid household chores have “more resources” to devote to their careers. Therefore, they usually earn more money.
The use of the term “unpleasant” here refers to “agreeableness” – which is one of the “five great dimensions” used in psychology to describe someone’s personality. While a nice person is generally kind, generous, and sympathetic, nasty people are characterized by selfishness and competitiveness.
“In two studies we find evidence that obnoxious men tend to earn more money compared to their nicer male counterparts because they are more interested and less helpful to their wives at home, which allows for a greater involvement in work and ultimately greater pay, “said senior author Brittany Solomon, professor of management at Mendoza College of Business in Notre Dame, in a university statement.” This effect is even stronger in obnoxious men with more traditional attitudes towards gender roles and when their wives are very conscientious, probably because in these cases their wives take more responsibility for household management and take on responsibilities more transparently. “
Being an unnecessary husband is not the suggestion here
These findings should not be misinterpreted as saying that being selfish and obnoxious is the recipe for success. For example, unpleasantness did not predict job success in more egalitarian men, men married to women less willing to do all the work, and men outside of opposite-sex marriages.
“While unpleasantness in the workplace can lead some employees to success, those hoping for a higher salary should at least hesitate before looking into an obnoxious workplace character,” warns Professor Solomon. “Indeed, if selfish and less communal work behavior was the only key to higher pay, then unpleasant men would tend to earn more, whether they were married, how they viewed gender roles or who they were with. were married. “
This is not the first time that a study has linked selfishness in men to greater financial / career success. Once you dig a little deeper, this effect is difficult to understand. Why does being selfish often lead to success for men when inconvenience is the exact opposite of supposedly valued work traits like leadership and cooperation?
“Our results are based on the conventional wisdom that organizations appear to reward unpleasant behavior in the workplace and emphasize the importance of social interaction at home for success at work,” says Professor Solomon. “Our research suggests that organizations recognize the role that spousal exchange plays in individual success and point to the potential for organizations to refocus their efforts to fuel work participation on alleviating the burden of home responsibilities. This could allow employees to conserve resources which could then be invested in their jobs.
“Presumably, this type of initiative would be particularly beneficial for those who lack the personality and gender which we believe naturally lead to an individually beneficial marital exchange, i.e. to everyone, to except for disagreeable married men, ”she continues. “To help those without the integrated home arrangement that improves work participation and compensation, organizations may consider investing in infrastructure that helps establish a more level playing field when it comes to career. “
How the workplace can play a role in marriage expectations
In summary, Professor Solomon and his team believe that providing more “non-work-related resources”, such as preparing lists of reputable providers for home services and maintenance or establishing childcare programs. , can help less selfish husbands achieve the same resource advantages as them. ‘are more disagreeable counterparts.
“Practices that put employees out of work more fairly can give more employees the opportunity to be successful,” continues Professor Solomon. “In addition, some research shows that men are stigmatized for taking advantage of flexible work policies. Changing organizational culture, in addition to implementing such policies, can influence the calculations within a marriage or partnership on which career should take priority and who should do more at home. Therefore, organizations can also help support initiatives to promote diversity and gender inclusion, especially efforts to reduce male dominance in high income positions.
The company has come a long way since the days when the prototypical housewife would cook and clean all day to satiate a husband who demands a spotless house and a piping hot meal on his return home each evening – and that is undoubtedly a positive development. This work shows to what extent his partner can have an influence on his professional success.
“Professionals often publicly thank their spouses when they receive awards of excellence or a promotion,” concludes Professor Solomon. “And, at least for obnoxious men, our findings quantify the truth behind that feeling.”
The study is published in Personnel Psychology.