Adam M. Grant

“People who prefer to give or match often feel pressured to lean in the taker direction when they perceive a workplace as zero-sum. Whether it’s a company with forced ranking systems, a group of firms vying to win the same clients, or a school with required grading curves and more demand than supply for desirable jobs, it’s only natural to assume that peers will lean more toward taking than giving. “When they anticipate self-interested behavior from others,” explains the Stanford psychologist Dale Miller, people fear that they’ll be exploited if they operate like givers, so they conclude that “pursuing a competitive orientation is the rational and appropriate thing to do.” There’s even evidence that just putting on a business suit and analyzing a Harvard Business School case is enough to significantly reduce the attention that people pay to relationships and the interests of others. The fear of exploitation by takers is so pervasive, writes the Cornell economist Robert Frank, that “by encouraging us to expect the worst in others it brings out the worst in us: dreading the role of the chump, we are often loath to heed our nobler instincts.”

Adam M. Grant, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success
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Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam M. Grant
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