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The University of Southampton

People don't want to work for bossy and dominant bosses!

Published: 17 February 2004

New research by Dr Mark Van Vugt from the University of Southamtpon's School of Psychology suggests managers who work democratically with their staff achieve better results than domineering characters.

Many people working for an autocratic boss in an experiment were quick to leave when given the opportunity, disrupting the teams.

The research scenarios involved leaders using dominant, democratic or casual styles managing groups of people making investment decisions.

"Both the dominant and democratic leaders achieved success. But, once they could, many of the workers for the bossy ones left and the groups fell apart. Democracy turned out to be best as the laissez-faire managers couldn't get their teams to work at all," said Dr Van Vugt.

He speculates this may be why so many East Germans fled to the West once the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.

The research, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 40 (2004) 1-13, also involved students Sarah Jepson and Claire Hart. In the experiment, groups of undergraduate students were assigned to play either team members or leaders with certain behaviour patterns in a controlled environment.

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