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The Mad Hatter's Teaparty, illustration by John Teniel for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland 1895

Deferring to Others: When Able People Prefer Lower Status

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Why do some able people opt for positions of lower status, though they may actually desire the respect associated with higher status? According to this Idea, others’ expectations are a key driver of the status individuals opt for in group settings. If they believe that they lack the characteristics to help a group succeed, they will opt for lower status in that group.  

Idea #287
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Stephen Fry and Hugh Lawrie as ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ a 1990s British TV adaptation by Clive Exton from P.G. Wodehouse's ‘Jeeves’ stories. The series was a collaboration between Brian Eastman of Picture Partnership Productions and Granada Television

How Dominant Personality Trumps Competence in Teams

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Individuals that display higher levels of dominance within a group also attain higher levels of influence. Through two studies, the authors demonstrate how displaying certain behaviours can make a person appear to be more competent that they may in fact be. This perception in turn leads to greater, but perhaps unjustified, influence within a group.

Idea #038
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