Employees and organizations are complex human beings and entities. But when it comes to things like hiring, negotiations, and fostering creativity, there is a tendency to reject such complexity and see things as "either-or" or "winner vs. losers."
That all-or-nothing mentality, known as the zero-sum mindset, can adversely affect organizations at every level, says Rellie Derfler-Rozin, an associate professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.
Zero-sum thinking "may lead to a lot of errors and biases," Derfler-Rozin says. "We have to try to embrace complexity rather than regard everything as either 'this or that.'"
Derfler-Rozin has studied the mindset's impact on hiring decisions and salary negotiations. "Candidates can be and often are interested in salary and benefits while also caring about doing a good job with the work itself," she says.
A zero-sum mindset can be combated through purposeful and mindful actions to enhance organizational outcomes, she says.
From University of Maryland
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