Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

People With an Inflated View of Themselves Get Others to Believe It, Too

ARCHIVES
Jovanovic Dejan/Shutterstock.com

In a meritocracy, talent is supposed to rise to the top. That way, important positions like political and executive offices can be filled by those best-equipped to do the job.

But when it comes to sizing up others’ abilities, a new study says we pay more attention to confidence than competence. People with an inflated view of their own abilities are judged by others to be more capable; conversely, people with low confidence are thought to be less capable.

In the study, which was published Aug. 27 in PLOS ONE, university students predicted their own performance and the performance of their classmates in a small tutorial. Students who ranked themselves higher than their actual results—the overconfident students—were also overrated by their peers. Students who underrated themselves were similarly given lower-than-achieved rankings by their peers. These results were consistent whether the predictions were made at the beginning of the term or at the end, when students had ostensibly become more familiar with one another’s work.

“These findings suggest that people don’t always reward the most accomplished individual but rather the most self-deceived,” said Vivek Nityananda, one of the study authors.

There implications span across the workforce. Overconfident CEOs make unwise acquisitions; hot air on Wall Street leads to market volatility. The “confidence gap”—the propensity of men to overrate and women to underrate themselves—suggests that women are more likely to be unfairly perceived as less competent than their male peers.

When high-impact roles are filled with those who merely think they’re the best and the brightest, society pays a price.

(Image via Jovanovic Dejan/Shutterstock.com)

 
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.