Thu, Jun 29, 2017 | updated 02:44 AM IST

Fit in or stand out? Successful employee balances both

Updated: Nov 14, 2016 15:58 IST      
Fit in or stand out? Successful employee balances both

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov.14 (ANI): If you are at work and confused between fitting in or standing out, a new study has come up with an answer suggesting that most successful employees do a bit of both, striking a balance between integration and non-conformity.

If you're the kind of person who stands out culturally, you don't follow the same norms as others in the office. In order to succeed you will need to fit into your organization structurally by being part of a tight-knit group of colleagues and if you stand out structurally, you aren't a member of any one clique at work but serve as a bridge across groups that are otherwise disconnected from each other.

In the paper "Fitting in or Standing Out? The Tradeoffs of Structural and Cultural Embeddedness", co-authors Sameer Srivastava and Amir Goldberg explore the relationship between fitting in, standing out and success within an organization.

"Most people recognize that, if they fail to differentiate themselves from their peers, they are very unlikely to get ahead," says Srivastava. "Yet fitting into a company creates a larger, motivating sense of identity for employees and enables them to collaborate with others in the organization."

The result is a conflicting pressure on workers to fit into an organization and, at the same time, stand out. Srivastava and his colleagues wanted to learn more about that tension and find ways to resolve it.

The researchers studied a mid-sized technology company's complete archive of e-mail messages exchanged among 601 full-time employees between 2009 and 2014. For privacy and confidentiality, only e-mails exchanged among the employees were analyzed and identifying information and actual message content were stripped from the data. The team created an algorithm that could analyze the natural language in e-mails, focusing on the extent to which people expressed themselves using a linguistic style that matched the style used by their colleagues.

"Some of the most informative language categories were ones whose use is governed by cultural norms -- for example, using emotional language when communicating with colleagues. People who fit in culturally learned to understand and match the linguistic norms followed by their colleagues," says Srivastava.

To learn how this relates to an employee's success, the researchers studied employee age, gender and tenure, and identified all employees who had left the company and whether their departure was voluntary or involuntary. That data enabled them to correlate professional success with fitting in and standing out. The researchers theorized that employees in the firm can be characterized by their levels of cultural assimilation as well as their attachment to various network cliques. This led them to identify four organizational archetypes: "doubly embedded actors," "disembedded actors," "assimilated brokers" and "integrated nonconformists."

What the researchers call a "doubly embedded" employee --is someone who is both culturally compliant and part of a dense network. Such a person is unlikely to get exposed to novel information and will struggle to break through the clutter in proposing ideas of his own. The researchers found that such workers were over three times more likely to be involuntarily terminated (i.e. fired) than those identified as integrated non-conformists, people who are part of a tight-knit group but still stand out culturally.

Those most likely to get ahead are called "assimilated brokers," meaning the people who are high on cultural fit and low on network cliqueness. Their mirror images, the integrated non-conformists, also gained more job success.

"The assimilated broker has connections across parts of the organization that are otherwise disconnected. At the same time, she knows how to blend in seamlessly with each of these groups even if they are quite different culturally," says Srivastava.

Clearly, both fitting in and standing out are important for career success, but the lesson, says Srivastava, is that if you blend in both structurally and culturally, you risk being seen as bland and unremarkable. At the same time, if you try to serve as a bridge across groups but lack the capacity for cultural conformity then you can wind up being perceived with suspicion and mistrust.

The goal is to find a balance between the two.

The story has been published in the American Sociological Review. (ANI)

Washington D.C. [USA], June 28 (ANI): The restoration of the globe's protective ozone shield may be delayed by three decades if fast-rising emissions of a chemical used in paint strippers and pharmaceuticals is not restricted, warns a study.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], June 27 (ANI): Panda is not an adorable animal, but a study has found that conserving them can also boost biodiversity and fight climate change.

Full Story >>

Humans can regenerate their heart: Study

Updated: Jun 27, 2017 10:47 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], June 27 (ANI): A team of researchers have discovered that communication between the heart genes may give rise to heart cells that can regenerate the human heart.

Full Story >>

Rising ocean levels could lead to 2 bn refugees by 2100

Updated: Jun 27, 2017 07:32 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], June 27 (ANI): Climate change is causing sea level rise around the world. According to a recent study, in the year 2100, two billion people - about one-fifth of the world's population - could become climate change refugees due to rising ocean levels.

Full Story >>

Now, a 'friendly' car horn that alerts without jarring

Updated: Jun 26, 2017 08:14 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jun 26 (ANI): A team of researchers has come up with a car horn that alerts people to danger while reducing the cacophony on city streets.

Full Story >>

When disaster strikes, selfless heroism may not be good

Updated: Jun 24, 2017 17:53 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jun 24 (ANI): Putting others first can cost lives in life-and-death disaster situations involving groups of people, a new study suggested.

Full Story >>

Now, 'self-folding' origami

Updated: Jun 24, 2017 17:38 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jun 24 (ANI): According to a team of researchers, a simple chemical "programming" can induce a single piece of Nafion foil to fold itself using origami and kirigami principles.

Full Story >>

European Union to continue fight against climate change

Updated: Jun 23, 2017 19:50 IST     

Strasbourg [France], June 23 (ANI): The European Council on Thursday reiterated its commitment to fully implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, adding that the agreement remains a keystone in global efforts to effectively tackle climate change, and therefore, cannot be renegotiated.

Full Story >>

Scientists understand the formation of sun's spicules

Updated: Jun 23, 2017 11:58 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], June 23 (ANI): To understand the formation of abundant jets of plasma in the Sun's atmosphere (called spicules), researchers have, for the first time, built a model.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], June 22 (ANI): Warmer temperatures mean sea turtles could be driven to extinction, suggests a new study.

Full Story >>

Six cups of ground coffee can improve nose, throat surgery

Updated: Jun 21, 2017 08:42 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], June 21 (ANI): Rejoice coffee lovers! Researchers have recently improved the accuracy of a scanner used to map the skull of nose and throat surgical patients with six cups of ground coffee.

Full Story >>

Spruce budworm outbreak can put forests at fire risk

Updated: Jun 19, 2017 11:30 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jun 19 (ANI): Turns out, it is not "a moth to a flame," but "a flame to a moth" as a new study has revealed that a spruce budworm outbreak could increase forest fire risk.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], June 17 (ANI-Businesswire India): Choosing oneself to become just a successful engineer or a doctor in future is passe. With the growing competition and the growth in career options, Kids and their parents are becoming more confused towards identifying their actual passion and talent. Just as the 10th and 12th board results are out, parents are now worried about what goals have their kids made up in their mind to peruse in future. There are dozens of questions revolving in their head making them befuddled with thoughts like, does my kid fits for his goals or his talent lay in some other streams?

Full Story >>

New 'Phystrology Therapy' may cure high blood pressure

Updated: Jun 16, 2017 10:31 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], June 16 (ANI): Good news! Here's a promising treatment to cure the chronic condition of high blood pressure, which accounts approximately eight million death of Indians every year.

Full Story >>

Vicious cycle of 'phone snubbing'

Updated: Jun 14, 2017 13:34 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jun 14 (ANI): Turns out, people who are phone snubbed or "phubbed" by others are, themselves, often turning to their smartphones and social media to find acceptance.

Full Story >>

Personalised molecular therapy slows progression of tumors

Updated: Jun 13, 2017 13:45 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], June 13 (ANI): A study has found that patients with neuroendocrine cancer may experience fewer symptoms and survive longer by undergoing personalised peptide-receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT).

Full Story >>

Steroids may up effectiveness of AAV-based gene therapy

Updated: Jun 11, 2017 13:29 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jun 11 (ANI): Glucocorticoid steroids, such as prednisone, may improve effectiveness of AAV-based gene therapy by reducing immune response, according to a recent research.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], June 10 (ANI): Those common chemicals that manufacturers use to make plastic food containers, water bottles and other consumer products, instead of BPA, do not contribute to obesity, says a study.

Full Story >>

Male farmers at high risk of contracting 'monkey malaria'

Updated: Jun 10, 2017 10:40 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], June 10 (ANI): Beware! A study has found that in Malaysia, adult male farmers, involved in plantation, clearing vegetation and forestry work were four times more likely to contract monkey malaria.

Full Story >>

Previously unseen teeth in jawbone of Megalosaurus revealed!

Updated: Jun 08, 2017 09:15 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], June 8 (ANI): Cutting edge technology sheds fresh light on world's first scientifically-described dinosaur, Megalosaurus, thanks to research by WMG at the University of Warwick and the University of Oxford's Museum of Natural History.

Full Story >>