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Communicating Expectations Pygmalion Effect

A couple of weeks back, I decided to resign in my duty as company Quality Engineer. Because I observed
that for the last 7 years I stayed in the company on which I am currently employed, seems nothing
happened to my career and there was no career growth opportunity. My designation is currently just the
same as when I joined the same organization.
Wikipedia, defined Pygmalion effect as the phenomenon whereby the greater the expectation placed
upon people, the better they perform [1]. Although I am not against with it, but I believed that this definition
is too narrow or restrictive. I can say that positive expectations with motivating factors drives people to
perform better. Indeed, two types of motivations are identified by J. M. Brion (1989)[2]:

Extrinsic motivation. The satisfaction of either material or psychological needs that is applied
by others or the organization through pre-action incentive or post-action reward.

Intrinsic motivation. The qualities of the work itself or of relationships, events, or situations
that satisfy basic psychological needs (such as achievement, power, affiliation, autonomy,
responsibility, creativity, and self-actualization) in a self-rewarding process.

In my own belief, I contributed a lot for the best and success this company. Although I can say that they
trust my capabilities and competencies to perform the job, still without motivating factors as mentioned by
J. M. Brion (1989), I choose to leave and look for another organization that can really appreciate and
recognize my talents.
Further, job task and duties have always been assigned to me as a follower and feel that though actions
and body gestures of my boss, he always conveys hidden message that I can be a good follower, but not
a leader. Wescott, R. T. et al. (2013), define empowerment as A condition whereby employees are given
the authority to make decisions and take action in their work areas, within stated bounds, without prior
approval[3]. Yes, every move and decision I take, should seek the approval first of my boss. This
experience really makes me upset to the extent that I feel worthless.
In addition, Livingston, J. (2003), mentioned that negative expectation also becomes a managerial selffulfilling prophecy[4]. I understand that negative expectations by superior to their employees like me, most
probably brings worse outcome. But again, not for all cases. Some people are indeed motivated by other
people's criticism, but this topic is too broad to discuss here. As what Henry Fords said If you think you
can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right [5]. It is also in line with Livingston, J. (2003)
explained that it is reasonable to conclude that younger children are more malleable, have fewer fixed
notions about their abilities, and have less well established reputations in the schools. As they grow,
particularly if they are assigned to "tracks" on the basis of their records, as is now often done in public
schools, their beliefs about their intellectual ability and their teachers' expectations of them begin to
harden and become more resistant to influence by others [4]. Meaning, it still depends on ones maturity
level, character, attitude, and behavior if he/she can simply influence by others.
I conclude that expectations are not just one molding factor of ones ability to perform well in the working
environment. Although the Pygmalion effect greatly influence employees productivity, a motivating factor
and maturity levels are one of those many aspects that we also need to put into consideration.
References:
[1] Wikipedia (2015) Pygmalion effect, [online] Available from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_effect (Accessed 24 May 2015).
[2] J. M. Brion (1989) Organizational Leadership of Human Resources: The Knowledge and the Skills,
Part I, The Individual, Greenwich, CT, JAI Press.

[3] Wescott, R. T. et al. (2013) The Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence Handbook, 4th
ed. Wescott, R. T. (ed.), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, ASQ Quality Press.
[4] Livingston, J. (2003) Pygmalion in Management, (Harvard Business Review), pp. 97106.
[5] BrainyQuote (n.d.) Henry Ford Quotes, [online] Available from:
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/henry_ford.html (Accessed 25 May 2015).