Universities of Kent and Sheffield Hallam - Bosses rule with an iron fist

October 2, 2008

New research has proven something downtrodden employees must have suspected for decades - our bosses control us through fear. Psychologists in the UK and Canada investigated the effectiveness of leadership and found that superiors inspire us to co-operate with them by threat of punishment. The joint study, carried out by academics at the University of Kent, the University of British Columbia and Sheffield Hallam University, was published online last week by the Royal Society. "What we found was that leaders provide an important role in galvanising co-operation in groups ... and one of the ways they do this is through the threat of punishment," said Rick O'Gorman, a psychologist at Sheffield Hallam. "Even though we know people can resent leaders and hierarchies, leaders may be tolerated because having one person in charge of 'policing' others is better than letting everyone do it."

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