Saturday, December 7, 2013

Study encourages second look at ‘unconventional’ job candidates

A study by Johns Hopkins University and Cornell University researchers indicates that social rejection can inspire imaginative thinking in people who already feel separate from the crowd.

(Arguing at that most people don’t actually like creativity despite their insistence otherwise, writer Jessica Olien highlights study findings as a “glimmer of hope in all of this rejection.”)

A Science Daily recap, Aug. 21, 2012, cites study lead author Sharon Kim, assistant professor with Johns Hopkins Cary Business School:
“Rejection confirms for independent people what they already feel about themselves, that they’re not like others. For such people, that distinction is a positive one leading them to greater creativity.”
(The study indicates, in contrast, social rejection inhibits cognitive ability among people who value belonging to a group.)

As a survivor of bullying whose own “unconventional personality” made me an “easy target for rejection,” I am bolstered by what Kim identified as “practical implications” for the paper’s findings: that a company might want to take a second look at an unconventional job candidate whose inventiveness would be a valuable asset.

The paper, titled “Outside Advantage: Can Social Rejection Fuel Creative Thought?,” was authored by Kim, Jack Goncalo, associate professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) and Lynne Vincent, an ILR visiting lecturer. It was accepted for publication by the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

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