Author Archives: ryansmerek

What Motivates a Whistleblower?

You’ve probably seen Frances Haugen in the news, as the Facebook whistleblower that shared her inside view of the company.

But what motivates a whistleblower, exactly?

In research I’ve done on independent thinking and speaking up, a key driver is often a high value placed on truth. As one person I spoke to who blew the whistle on potential data fabrication says, “Commitment to learning/discovering the truth might be my deepest value – it’s far more important to me than pain-avoidance, popularity, etc.” When asked what made him speak up in contrast to others in his lab, he responded, “Truth, man, truth. It’s science. I’ve been a scientist—Okay, I’ve loved science ever since I was a kid. I’ve been a scientist my whole adult life. This cannot happen, and in my experience, it doesn’t.”

This high value placed on “truth” is also seen in Haugen’s opening statement to the Senate subcommittee. She says:

“During my time at Facebook, I came to realize a devastating truth: Almost no one outside of Facebook knows what happens inside of Facebook. The company intentionally hides vital information from the public, from the US government and from governments around the world. The documents I have provided to Congress prove that Facebook has repeatedly misled the public about what its own research reveals about the safety of children, the efficacy of its artificial intelligence systems and its role in spreading divisive and extreme messages. I came forward because I believe that every human being deserves the dignity of the truth.”

Here you see her high value placed on “truth” and her desire to share it with the world. To be sure, her motivation is not singular; she was also driven by a moral concern for the harm Instagram has on teenagers and broader concerns about how Facebook is impacting our democracy. But it’s a combination of motives: People are being harmed, and people don’t know the truth.

The psychologist, Keith Stanovich, has explored the value individuals place on truth. He discusses the extent to which an individual “finds lack of rational integration aversive and is willing to take steps to rectify it.” 1 For whistleblowers, a high value placed on truth is coupled with an awareness of deception. This creates an aversive experience that motivates action. As Tom Mueller states in his book Crisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing in an Age of Fraud, “[Whisteblowers] take responsibility for seeing with their own eyes and following their individual conscience, cutting through cant and rationalization to comprehend things as they really are.”2

In addition to having a high value placed on truth, whistleblowers tend to be peripheral members of their organization: whether by choice or circumstance. This was true of one of the most well-known whistleblowers, Sherron Watkins at Enron in 2001. Jessica Uhl, a mentee of Watkins at Enron, says gender played a role for Watkins speaking up. As Uhl states, “Look at the management team: There’s not a lot of female faces up there, and there never has been…Sherron’s a vice president, so she’s obviously not an outsider, but there is a dividing line there. If you’re not part of the boys’ club, maybe that makes it a little easier to take a big risk.”3

You can also see peripheral group membership from Haugen, she joined Facebook in 2019 and from her interviews you can tell she never fully identified with the organization. This peripheral membership was fostered, in part, by her experience in other organizations such as Google. This experience allowed her to see Facebook through the broader prism of her experience; She wasn’t beholden to the cultural assumptions that had evolved at Facebook. As she tells Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes:

“When I would express concerns—like with my own team, like when I was working on civic misinformation—that we were insufficiently staffed. I was told, flat out, ‘At Facebook we accomplish impossible things with far less resources than anyone thought possible.’ I don’t think it was malevolent, but because the leaders there…often, maybe early Facebook employees, they may have never worked anywhere else. They have no context for how inappropriately resourced things are. They just keep repeating the same truisms over and over again.”

Here you see how her background allowed her to see the context as if she was an outsider. She didn’t accept the truisms as the way the world is but instead she saw the culture as an outsider. This outsider status shields you from conformity and groupthink as you have a weakened desire for group acceptance.

Hopefully most of us won’t find ourselves in situations where a crisis of conscience dictates that we need to blow the whistle. If we do, one parting piece of advice from Sherron Watkins (Watkins was one of three women named “persons of the year” in 2002 by Time magazine). She now advises anyone in a similar situation to build peer support. As she states, “If folks run into Enron-like behavior, I always suggest finding peers who will join you in your quest to correct things. Never go it alone.”4 This mirrors what is found in experimental studies of conformity, which have found that one ally dampens the fear of being independent and strengthens one’s resolve.5 It also makes your point-of-view harder to dismiss.

In sum, whistleblowers seem to be motivated by a high value placed on the “truth,” this is often manifest in a scientific mindset. Hopefully you won’t find yourself uncovering fraud or that your company is hiding the harm it knows it is causing, if you do: don’t follow rationalizations to explain away mounting evidence, believe your own eyes, foster a healthy sense of outsiderness, and if you do speak up, find allies.

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  1. Stanovich (2008) drawing upon Nozick, R. (1993). The nature of rationality. Princeton University Press.
  2. (Mueller, 2019, p. 535)
  3. (Frey, 2002)
  4. (Carozza, 2007)
  5. (For an excellent review of research, see Hewstone & Martin, 2010)

References:

Carozza, D. (2007, January/February). Interview with Sherron Watkins. Fraud Magazine. Retrieved https://www.fraud-magazine.com/article.aspx?id=583

Frey, J. (2002, January 25). The woman who saw red; Enron whistle-blower Sherron Watkins warned of the trouble to come. The Washington Post.

Haugen, F. (2021). Whistleblower says Facebook needs to declare “moral bankruptcy.” 60 Minutes Overtime. Retrieved https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsqvd-DaxU8

Hewstone, M. & R. Martin, R. (Eds.). (2010). Minority influence and innovation: Antecedents, processes, and consequences. Psychology Press.

Mueller, T. (2019). Crisis of conscience: Whistleblowing in an age of fraud. Riverhead Books.

Stanovich, K. E. (2008). Higher-order preferences and the master rationality motive. Thinking & Reasoning, 14(1), 111-127.

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Can Being Authentic Improve your Performance?

While “being authentic” is broadly used, we know when we are being our “true selves” or acting fake. In a prior post, I explored what it means to be authentic (link) which largely distills to alignment between an “internal sense of self and outward behavior.”1 Being authentic improves well-being, as you might guess, but new research explores how being authentic can improve your performance in high stakes interactions, such as entrepreneurial pitches and job interviews.

In their research, Francesca Gino and colleagues explore a form of being inauthentic, which they label “catering.” Catering is aiming to “match the target’s preferences, interests, and expectations”2 While not unhelpful in its moderate forms, in its extreme form catering is being overly concerned about what an individual thinks of us, and trying to act in accordance with their wishes, values, and preferences.

The problem with catering, as Gino and colleague note, is that it increases our “evaluation anxiety” and is cognitively draining. This anxiety, along with the effort of keeping our own perspectives hidden, can have detrimental cognitive effects. While that sounds plausible, the researchers wanted to test their predictions.

In one competition among 166 entrepreneurs pitching their ideas, they had individuals report their level of catering and authenticity. In the competition, there were three, experienced judges deciding who would be among the 10 semi-finalists. Those reporting higher levels of catering were less likely to be chosen as a semi-finalist (r= -.18, p<.05) compared to those being authentic (r=.17, p<.05).

A second study by the same researchers found support for the “be yourself” advice often given to job candidates. Among a sample of 258 individuals in a lab study, those instructed to “be themselves” compared to those instructed to “answer the interviewer’s questions in a way that they believed met the interviewer’s expectations” had lower levels of reported anxiety and higher performance ratings. Of course, in any job interview we want to share our best qualities but excessive catering to the expectations of an interviewer can also increase our anxiety and worsen our performance.

So there is some evidence that authenticity can improve performance, but can this backfire? Certainly.

In another study on authenticity in job interviews (and a research article that vividly begins with how Anne Hathaway’s character authentically portrayed herself to Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada), Celia Moore and colleagues hypothesize that being “authentic” can be a crucial difference among highly-qualified candidates (the important caveat is that it is among highly-qualified candidates).

In their research, individuals applying for a teaching position answered questions such as, “I like to be myself rather than trying to act like someone I’m not” and, “For me it’s better to be honest about myself when meeting new people, even if it makes me appear less than ideal.” An individual’s level of authenticity improved their likelihood of receiving a job offer if they were evaluated by interviewers in the 90th percentile and above. If they were evaluated in the bottom decile, authenticity decreased the probability of receiving a job offer. This finding was confirmed in a separate sample of the Legal Core, a group that helps provide legal services to the U.S. Military. Again, if they were in the top 90th percentile in their interviewer evaluation, authenticity positively predicted receiving a job offer (but not at lower percentile levels).

In Adam Grant’s excellent podcast episode, “Authenticity is a Double-Edged Sword,” he notes the positive benefits of authenticity and outlines several boundary conditions—a central one being that “authenticity without boundaries is careless.” This means that you don’t share every thought on your mind, especially your insecurities when you haven’t established your competence. For example, in a job interview you don’t want to say, “I have doubts about how successful I’ll be in this role.” Or, as an entrepreneur candidly admit, “I have serious doubts this idea will succeed.” In contrast, once you’ve established your credibility, it is safer to openly share an area you are working to improve.

It can be hard to know, however, if we’ve established credibility and are in the 90th percentile: So, should we be authentic or not? Within common sense boundaries, the research by Francesco Gino suggests that you are better off being authentic, you’ll decrease your evaluation anxiety and free up cognitive resources to improve performance. And despite the 90th percentile finding, the researchers argue that in the long-term you are better off aiming for authenticity. You are more likely to end up in a job that is a fit for who you are and be happier in the long-run.

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  1. (Cha et al., 2019, p. 634).
  2. (Gino, Sezer, & Huang, 2020, p. 85). 

References:

Cha, S. E., Hewlin, P. F., Roberts, L. M., Buckman, B. R., Leroy, H., Steckler, E. L., Ostermeier, K., & Cooper, D. (2019). Being your true self at work: Integrating the fragmented research on authenticity in organizations. Academy of Management Annals, 13(2), 633-671.

Gino, F., Sezer, O., & Huang, L. (2020). To be or not to be your authentic self? Catering to others’ preferences hinders performance. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 158, 83-100.

Grant, A. (2020). Authenticity is a double-edged sword. Worklife. [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.adamgrant.net/podcast/

Moore, C., Lee, S. Y., Kim, K., & Cable, D. M. (2017). The advantage of being oneself: The role of applicant self-verification in organizational hiring decisions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102: 1493–1513.

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What Is Your Leadership Style?

As Ray Dalio, founder of the largest hedge fund in the world, writes in his book of management principles:

“Even the most benevolent leaders are prone to becoming more autocratic, if for no other reason than because managing a lot of people and having limited time to do it requires them to make numerous difficult choices quickly, and they sometimes lose patience with arguments and issue commands instead.”1

Even if you consider yourself benevolent (who doesn’t?), there is an ever-present impulse to be more autocratic—an impulse exacerbated by the situation. As a leader, if you want to encourage speaking up to improve decision making and team member satisfaction, you need to be more mindful of overcoming autocratic impulses and openly soliciting ideas from others. To openly solicit ideas from others is to be more democratic.

The distinction between autocratic and democratic leadership styles has a long history in applied psychology and was the focus of one of the “founding fathers” of the field, Kurt Lewin, who studied these leadership styles in the late 1930s. Understanding the consequences of these styles was of great personal and practical importance to Lewin. He was born in Poland and lived in Germany through most of his life, serving in the German army in World War I.

As a Jewish individual, Lewin fortuitously left Germany in the early 1930s and would work the remainder of his career in the U.S. As a scholar, he wanted to shed scientific light on the political turmoil that was happening in the world, such as the rise of Nazism in Germany. Thus, studying the effects of democratic and autocratic leadership was of utmost importance and an area of study that could use more precise evidence. As he asks in a 1939 publication, “Is not democratic group life more pleasant, but authoritarianism more efficient? These are the sorts of questions to which ‘opinionated’ answers are many and varied today, and to which scientific answers, are, on that account, all the more necessary.”2

To develop a scientific answer, Lewin and colleagues experimentally created three “social climates”—authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire. To create these “social climates,” an adult would act in accordance with one of these styles while leading a group of 10-year-old boys. To be authoritarian, the leader would determine all the policies of the group and dictate the work task. To be democratic, the leader would encourage group discussion about policies and facilitate group decision making. Laissez-faire leadership allowed complete freedom for the group with little or no participation from the leader. Accordingly, a laissez-faire style of leadership was deemed so ineffective for group functioning that it was abandoned in future studies as a leadership style.3

In Lewin’s studies, they found that when leaders were present, performance was roughly equal between the autocratic and democratic groups, but when the leaders left, performance declined for those in the autocratic group but not for the democratic group.4 They also found, as one might guess, more submission of group members to authoritarian leaders and a greater need for instructions and directions.

They also observed more hostility in the autocratic compared to the democratic group, most notably when the leader was absent. Among many factors, Lewin and colleagues surmised this was a result of the “tension” created in the group (what we might now call “stress”), and that this tension needed an outlet which was through hostility.5 While Lewin and colleagues were interested in how leadership styles promoted aggression, one might conclude that a more hostile environment with more submission is not a climate where individuals will freely speak their minds.

Although Lewin’s studies were with children, (with obvious drawbacks to interpreting the results in the workplace), the conceptual distinction between autocratic and democratic leaders was a major advance that helped leadership scholars in future decades. More recently, in a meta-analysis of 23 studies on the impact of leadership styles on productivity, democratic leadership was found to be more effective (compared to autocratic leadership) on “moderately or highly complex tasks.”6 In these tasks, you need the wisdom of the group to be fully used in comparison to the dictates of a leader.

In summarizing the field, John Gastil defined democratic leadership as “giving group members responsibility, improving the general abilities and leadership skills of other group members, and assisting the group in its decision-making process.”7 The below table offers an outline of the key features of autocratic and democratic leadership in their “pure forms.”

While autocratic leadership can be viewed more charitably–as occasionally being directive and making decisions with little input from others–it can be portrayed with stronger moral overtones. This includes being demeaning and abusive to subordinates and demanding loyalty and submissiveness.8 This, of course, can be a dangerous form of autocratic leadership, but as Dalio notes, a central point is overcoming autocratic impulses, which even the most benevolent of us might have given the circumstances. Thus, I am stressing how we might overcome being a “good-natured” autocrat, who, for whatever reason, is slipping towards being too directive and is making decisions with little or no deliberation from others.

While being autocratic or democratic is described in its pure form, we can, of course, switch styles given the dictates of the situation. When is being autocratic functional? When is being democratic functional? By and large, democratic leadership has many advantages. However, in some instances, the situation may warrant autocratic impulses, especially if there is time pressure. In addition, a leader’s judgment may be well-grounded given his or her experience in a domain, and thus his or her expertise and judgment is better than others.

Although in some situations this may be true, in others you need to harness all the knowledge and expertise of a diverse group to make the best decision possible. This requires, of course, a realization that you don’t know everything. A certain degree of intellectual humility is needed to realize that in most situations, but not all, the collective or majority will make a better decision than a single individual. This humility may be hard to come by but can often result from past failures where we realize our limitations.

While we can be both autocratic and democratic given a situation, we are also likely to be predisposed to one style over another. In an overview of the factors increasing the likelihood of being autocratic, Peter Harms of the University of Alabama and colleagues outline several factors. These include, among others, being less agreeable, having a high need for power, being less emotionally stable (e.g. suspicious), and being narcissistic. These are suggestive traits that impact one’s likelihood of being autocratic. One’s predisposition to be autocratic would be a very complex mix of someone’s inherited predispositions, life history, and situational conditions.

Thus, to improve performance on your team and encourage speaking up, ask yourself: Am I more autocratic or democratic? Only indulge your autocratic impulses at strategic moments. Avoid laissez-faire leadership at all costs and be mindful of being more democratic in your leadership style.

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References:

1. (Dalio, 2017, p. 532).

2. (Lewin, Lippitt, & White, 1939, p. 271).

3. (Gastil, 1994a).

4. (Harms et al., 2018; White & Lippitt, 1960).

5. (Lewin, et al. 1939).

6. (Gastil, 1994a, p. 402).

7. (Gastil, 1994a, p. 403).

8. (Harms et al., 2018).

Dalio, R. (2017). Principles: Life and work. Simon & Schuster.

Gastil, J. (1994a). A meta-analytic review of the productivity and satisfaction of democratic and autocratic leadership. Small Group Research, 25(3), 384-410.

Gastil, J. (1994b). A definition and illustration of democratic leadership. Human Relations, 47(8), 953-975.

Harms, P. D., Wood, D., Landay, K., Lester, P. B., & Vogelgesang Lester, G. (2018). Autocratic leaders and authoritarian followers revisited: A review and agenda for the future. Leadership Quarterly, 29, 105-122.

Lewin, K., Lippitt, R., & White, R. K. (1939). Patterns of aggressive behavior in experimentally created “social climates.” Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 271-299.

White, R. K. & Lippitt, R. (1960). Autocracy and democracy: An experimental inquiry. Harper Brothers.

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Expand your Time Horizons to Promote Learning

As the Dutch philosopher Erasmus stated: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, study as if you were to live forever.”

I first came across this quote while listening to a podcast, and it stuck with me, in particular how it reframes time to overcome a hesitancy we might have to learn a new topic. We face a constant dilemma of how to spend our time and learning can lack a sense of immediacy given our daily demands. It can also seem like a luxury (think of going to graduate school or taking time to read a book related to your field). But, if you expand your time horizons, as Erasmus urges us to do, it doesn’t seem like such a tradeoff. Ask yourself: What would you learn now, if you were going to live forever?

Asking the question presumes time is unlimited and removes it from the equation. Yet, Erasmus first states “live as if you were to die tomorrow.” Putting us squarely back in the dilemma we just escaped. Time is extremely limited, then time is unlimited. It may be that his sequencing leaves us with “live forever,” or that we are already familiar with the dictum to “seize the day,” but the quote seems more like a license to learn and explore as if time were unlimited. At least that is the meaning that has stuck with me.

Along with Erasmus’ dictum to consider time unlimited, I’ve noticed several companies have similar maxims that are meant to expand their time horizons.

For example, Jeff Bezos insists employees at Amazon act like it is “Day 1.” He doesn’t want to be a “Day 2 company.” In his words, “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.” Being a Day 1 company means you are just at the beginning. It invites exploration and a beginner’s mind. It helps avoid stasis because you know you have a long way to go. And it promotes long-term thinking about what the future might hold.

Likewise, at Facebook one of their maxims (and one posted on many of their walls) is that “this journey is 1% finished.” If the journey is only 1 percent finished, you need a lot more knowledge. Spending time to read, explore industry trends, or talk to customers, are all going to help you for that long journey. Of course, I’m taking a charitable interpretation of the slogan. Cynically, one might interpret it as advocating for world domination or trying to inflate the growth prospects of their stock, but if you had a similar slogan for yourself or your organization, might it help spur exploration?

Considering yourself at “Day 1” or that your “journey is just 1 percent finished” can help weather the dip in immediate performance that might occur if we invest more time in learning and development. Individually, think of heading back to graduate school. If performance is measured by your income, if you leave your job, your “performance” drops to zero, but it is done with the intent of raising your performance long-term.

Similarly in organizations, Elizabeth Keating and colleagues at MIT observed how immediate performance often suffered from an improvement program. They call this the “improvement paradox.” In a manufacturing context, they state: “It takes time for improvement effort to bear fruit. Therefore, the first effect of an increase in improvement effort is a reduction in the time employees can devote to throughput. The short run effect of improvement effort is a decline in output, exactly the opposite of the goal” (Italics in original, p. 121).

They describe this “worse-before-better” pattern with a Du Pont Preventative Maintenance Program where there was a decline in performance before a long-term improvement. This dip in performance isn’t preordained, of course, and is most likely pronounced when there is a tight coupling between time on task and our outputs. Nevertheless, in a world of constantly demonstrating our worth by visible outputs, learning can seem unproductive in the short-term, by comparison.

Thus, to combat a hesitancy to explore and learn, regularly ask yourself what you’ll learn now if you’ll live forever. In doing so, you’ll expand your time horizons to promote learning and growth for the long-term.

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References:

Bezos, J. (2017, April 17). 2016 letter to shareholders. https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/company-news/2016-letter-to-shareholders

Erasmus, D. (1978). The antibarbarians. (translated and annotated by M. M. Phillips). In C. R. Thompson (ed.), Collected works of Erasmus (vol. 23-24). University of Toronto Press. (Originally published 1520), p. 76.

Keating, E., Oliva, R., Repenning, N., Rockart, S., & Sterman, J. (1999). Overcoming the improvement paradox. European Journal of Management, 17(2), 120-134.

Facebook, Inc. (2012). SEC, Form S-1. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1326801/000119312512034517/d287954ds1.htm, p. 94

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Is B.S. One of the Greatest Barriers to Learning?

One of my biggest pet peeves is being in meetings or venues where everyone is acting like they have all the answers—whether because they believe they do or they are performing like they do. This is particularly true, from my experience, in consulting contexts, where there is a high performative aspect to presenting and speaking. In Organizational Learning and Performance, I draw upon research about having a performance-prove orientation, where you’re mostly concerned about appearing as if you have all the answers. This is in contrast to a learning orientation where you are willing to ask questions and probe what you know and don’t know.

To illustrate a performance-prove orientation, I often use a quote from Steve Levitt, of Freakonomics fame:

“What I’ve found in business is that almost no one will ever admit to not knowing the answer to a question. So even if they absolutely have no idea what the answer is, if it’s within their realm of expertise, faking is just an important part. I really have come to believe teaching MBAs that one of the most important things you learn as an MBA is how to pretend you know the answer to any question even though you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. And I’ve found it’s really one of the most destructive factors in business—is that everyone masquerades like they know the answer and no one will ever admit they don’t know the answer, and it makes it almost impossible to learn.”

BUT, to my surprise, I recently came across research that more precisely diagnoses the issue: “pseudo-profound bullshit.”

I hadn’t been aware that B.S. had a respectable line of research for all these years.

As Pennycook and colleagues (2015) describe in the opening to their article in Judgment and Decision Making, “the philosopher Frankfurt (2005) defines bullshit as something that is designed to impress but that was constructed absent direct concern for the truth” (p. 549).

The authors continue with several statements, such as:

  • “Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty.”

As the authors say, “Although this statement may seem to convey some sort of potentially profound meaning, it is merely a collection of buzzwords put together randomly in a sentence that retains syntactic structure” (p. 549).

In contrast to Frankfurt, they argue that “pseudo-profound bullshit betrays a concern for verisimilitude or truthiness.” And their prefix of profound “reveals an important defining characteristic of bullshit (in general): that it attempts to impress rather than to inform; to be engaging rather than instructive” (p. 550).

To research the topic, Pennycook and colleagues created a B.S. Receptivity Scale which lists ten meaningless statements such as:

  • “The future explains irrational facts.”
  • “Consciousness consists of frequencies of quantum energy. ‘Quantum’ means an unveiling of the unrestricted.”

Participants rated how profound these statements were on a scale of 1-5. They found that participants who scored higher on the Cognitive Reflection Test (a measure of one’s willingness to question one’s intuitive responses), were more likely to see B.S. for what it is.

In more recent research, a Bullshitting Frequency Scale was developed to measure the act of bullshitting rather than your receptivity to it (Littrell, Risko, & Fugelsang, 2021). The researchers, citing the philosopher Gerald Cohen (2013), describe how “the aim of some bullshitters is to impress using discourse constructed with ‘unclarifiable unclarity’; that is, relying on vacuous, confusing buzzwords which obscure that the statements, while superficially impressive, contain no discernible meaning” (p. 249). In their research, Littrell et al. (2021) found that bullshitting frequency is negatively correlated with honesty, sincerity, and self-worth.

Unfortunately, B.S. is all too common in organizations where a desire to impress can lead us to speak in ways that obscure a deeper understanding of an issue. This combines with an understandable desire among listeners to not ask questions for the risk of appearing to be the only one that doesn’t get it. The result is one of the greatest barriers to learning in organizations.

There aren’t simple answers to counteract B.S., but you can start by asking questions to help understand issues (you might uncover others have similar questions). If you are in a position to set norms for your team or organization, you can highlight behaviors such a being candid or intellectually humble (being willing to admit what you know and don’t know). Or you can more aggressively aim to “forgo B.S.” in a more forthright attempt to learn and address issues you are facing.

For the moment, at least, take heart that there is a group of dedicated researchers shedding light on the opaque phenomenon of bullshit.

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References:

Cohen, G. A. (2013). Complete bullshit. In M. Otsuka (Ed.), Finding oneself in the other (pp. 94–114). Princeton University Press.

Frankfurt, H. G. (2005). On bullshit. Princeton University Press.

Pennycook, G., Cheyne, J. A., Barr, N., Koehler, D. J., & Fugelsang, J. A. (2015). On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit. Judgment and Decision Making, 10(6), 549-563.

Levitt, S. (2012, January 5). Why is “I don’t know” so hard to say? Freakonomics Radio [Audio Podcast] Retrieved from http://freakonomics.com

Littrell, S., Risko, E. F., & Fugelsang, J. A. (2021). The bullshitting frequency scale: Development and psychometric properties. British Journal of Social Psychology, 60, 248-270.

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