November 24, 2003

Nasty Race Merchants

The annals of politically biased research were enriched today as Dartmouth researchers demonstrated that dealing politely with people who annoy you tends to temporarily throw you off your mental stride but went for the race merchant kudos (and funding sources) by making the study all about race.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that annoying people can disturb your powers of concentration. It also isn't a great leap to find out that white racists find dealing with blacks annoying. Proving it via a scientific study is interesting but the study structure, press release, and press coverage clearly make it clear that the larger point is being lost in the old racial gotcha game.

I would love for this research to enable people to measure how much an unpleasant office boss detracts from the mental performance of his subordinates. It would revolutionize office hiring practices because the SOB bosses that everybody hates but have to kiss up to are robbing the company of valuable worker performance. Ideally, this is a metric that will eventually be convertible to dollars and cents, creating a bean counter incentive to hire good leaders and not annoying whip crackers.

Posted by TMLutas at November 24, 2003 02:42 PM