Call us today at 918.231.5781

Does the Corner Office Make You Mean?

Does the Corner Office Make You Mean?

Does the corner office make you mean? The reason I ask this question is related to the work by social psychologist Paul Piff.  He asked the question, “Does money make you mean?” and followed it up with several interesting social experiments.  Paul Piff delivered his speech at a 2013 TEDx event. My thought is you typically are making more money and gain more control when given the keys to a corner office. It’s not too far-fetched to ask the question, “Does the corner office make you mean?”

According to TedxMarin, Paul Piff’s “surprising studies include running rigged games of Monopoly, tracking how those who drive expensive cars behave versus those driving less expensive vehicles and even determining that rich people are literally more likely to take candy from children than the less well-off.”

Research results indicate wealthy individuals don’t come out looking very good.  “Specifically, I have been finding that increased wealth and status in society lead to increased self-focus and, in turn, decreased compassion, altruism, and ethical behavior,” said Piff, referring to his research.

Research has determined the higher an individual moves up an organization the less empathy and connection they have with company employees.

Although his study did not include how the results relate to the workplace, there are certainly workplace issues to consider as a result of Piff’s findings. I bring up this topic because of an observation I have made in many workplaces: The higher an individual moves up an organization the less empathy and connection they have with company employees.

If this general observation is true for certain individuals, it is important for employee relations professionals to be aware of these tendencies to prevent damaging company culture issues.

Paul Piff’s study is a wake-up call to executives and opportunity seeking employees who are  working diligently to please their boss and move up the ladder. Just remember to be thankful and show appreciation for your mentors, supervisors and employees who have helped you move into that prized corner office.

Do you think the corner office makes people mean? Share your thoughts in our comments section.

paul piff does money make you mean

Social Psychologist Paul Piff delivers TEDx talk entitled, “Does Money Make You Mean,” an important topic for employee relations professionals.

Click the following link to watch the TEDx video entitled, “Does Money Make you Mean”.

Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.  -George Sand


Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees' desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *