A recent study co-authored by Kristin Bain, assistant professor of management at Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology, found that a technique called amplification can help boost one’s influence at work.
Amplification is the public endorsement of another person’s ideas with attribution.
In their study, “Amplifying Voice in Organizations,” Bain and her co-authors studied nearly 2,800 people and found that those who repeated or praised another’s idea during a meeting were viewed as more admired and influential than those who amplified their own ideas or stayed quiet. The person on the receiving end also benefited.
“A lot of our studies included this comparison condition of promoting your own ideas versus promoting somebody else’s, and without fail, people did not like the people who promoted their own ideas,” Bain said.
The study also suggested that amplification can raise the profile of groups typically overlooked or discounted in organizations, namely women and people of color.
When the team focused their attention on low-status women in an organization versus high-status men, they found it did not matter who did the amplifying or who was amplified. Those doing either action ended up with higher status regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity.
The study also found that amplification may boost career development.
When asked which employees they would give a salary bonus or promotion to, the participants overwhelmingly chose the amplifiers.
Bain and her partners are now studying how incivility levels in groups affect people’s willingness to speak up in a group. They are exploring if and how amplification can offset uncivil behaviors, such as eye rolling or interrupting.
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