Over-confident workers can put firms at risk

London: Over-confident people can fool others into believing they are more talented than they actually are, claim two Indian-origin researchers, adding that these individuals are likely to reach influential positions in their organisations.

“Our findings suggest that people do not always reward the most accomplished individual but rather the most self-deceived,” said Dr. Vivek Nityananda, a research associate at Newcastle University.

Over-confident people may also be more likely to take risks.

“So if too many people overrate themselves and deceive others about their abilities within organisations then this could lead to disastrous consequences such as airplane crashes or financial collapses,” Nityananda added.

“If over-confident people are more likely to be risk prone then by promoting them we may be creating institutions, such as banks and armies, that are more vulnerable to risk,” added Dr Shakti Lamba from University of Exeter.

Researchers also found that those who are under confident in their own abilities are viewed as less able by their colleagues.

The team asked 72 students to rate their own ability and the ability of their peers after the first day of their course.

Of those, 32 students were under-confident in their ability, 29 students were over-confident and 11 students were accurate in their assessments of their own ability.

There was a positive correlation between the grades students predicted for themselves and the grades others predicted for them.

In other words, students who predicted higher grades for themselves were predicted to have higher grades by others, irrespective of their actual final score.

The same applied to those who were under-confident, Nityananda noted.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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