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Perhaps you blame yourself for hiring that grumpy, sullen and grouchy employee. After all, with their cross and irritable behaviour, they are often a pain to work with.
But if a new study by researchers Justin Hepler and Dolores Albarracin, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Pennsylvania respectively is anything to go by, you may not need to doubt your recruitment strategy.
The researchers concluded that grumpy people may actually be pretty good at their job, because they like to spend time on fewer activities, due to their peculiar disposition.
Engaging in fewer activities gives such workers the opportunity to hone their skills in specific tasks, and effectively become productive and successful workers.
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In the experiment, researchers requested participants to report all of their activities over a one-week period. These participants also completed a measure of dispositional attitudes.
It was found that although haters (someone with a low dispositional attitude) and likers (someone with a high dispositional attitude) did not differ in the types of activities they pursued, haters tended to do fewer activities throughout the week than did likers.
Importantly, haters and likers also did not differ in how much time they spent doing activities throughout the week; they merely differed in the number of activities that they did. As a result, haters spent more time on any given activity than likers.
The report suggested such findings may have implications for understanding the development of skills and expertise.
“Likers may adopt a jack-of-all-trades approach to life, investing small amounts of time in a wide variety of activities,” the researchers stated in a press release.
“This would leave them somewhat skilled at many tasks. In contrast, when haters find an activity they actually like, they may invest a larger amount of time in that task, allowing them to develop a higher skill level compared to likers.”