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Management Buzz 2/04

How work is really judged, security clearances for government contracts and more

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This story appears in the February 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Well Done?

Managers who think they're terrific at judging results on merit alone should think again, says a recent study by Maurice Schweitzer, assistant professor at the Wharton School, and Karen R. Chinander, assistant professor of operations management at Florida Atlantic University, Jupiter. "When people are reviewing results, their perceptions of your efforts matter," Schweitzer says. "It's not enough to turn in solid work. The impression of how that work was created will matter."

Owners and managers need to be aware of this "automatic bias" with employees and their own customers. Employees who accompany finished work with stories of their efforts to produce it are playing to this bias by trying to evoke a positive evaluation of their work based as much on the effort as the end result, Schweitzer says. Hard work often delivers superior results, but it's no guarantee. "You need to judge output on its own merits," he says. "If you have questions about it, then perhaps how it came about is relevant."

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