The Galatea Effect:The Power of Self-expectations

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  (author of  Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience) has often indicated that the most important aspect of achievement is self expectation. That is to say how we see ourselves to a very large extent determines accomplishment. In HR research this is known as the Galatea Effect


The Galatea Effect: Focuses upon the effect of self-expectations and how they interact with the expectations of others. Teachers and employers give their students and employees subtle cues about how they are expected to perform. These expectations of others combine with self-expectations to create a person’s level of motivation. The Galatea Effect is that part of our motivation that depends upon our self-expectations. A matrix is developed to explain how managers can use expectations to achieve high productivity and personal development in their employees. (via css. washington).

Related Academic Papers:

1. Modeling Galatea: boosting self-efficacy to increase volunteering

The Galatea effect is a boost in performance caused by raising workers’ self-expectations. Hypothesizing that self-efficacy is central to one’s expectations for success and motivation to perform, we used vicarious experience and verbal persuasion to strengthen the self-efficacy of candidates and to increase the rate of volunteering for special-forces service. 556 qualified candidates were assigned at random to the routine information program or to the experimental program. General self-efficacy (GSE) was analyzed as a moderator, and specific self-efficacy (SSE) was measured as a manipulation check. Analysis revealed that the experimental program raised SSE and willingness to volunteer, as hypothesized. 8% more experimental candidates actually volunteered (p<.02), confirming the Galatea hypothesis. The practical importance of the effect was that it reduced the loss of volunteers by a third, compared with the volunteer rate both in the control condition and throughout the preceding year. Analysis detected significant interactions between the treatment and GSE, evidencing the behavioral plasticity effect. (Reprinted by permission of the publisher.)

2. The Pygmalion and Galatea Effects: An Agency Model with Reference-Dependent Preferences and Applications to Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

We attempt to formulate and explain two types of self-fulfilling prophecy, called the Pygmalion effect (if a supervisor thinks her subordinates will succeed, they are more likely to succeed) and the Galatea effect (if a person thinks he will succeed, he is more likely to succeed). To this purpose, we extend a simple agency model with moral hazard and limited liability by introducing a model of reference-dependent preferences (RDP) by K˝oszegi and Rabin (2004). We show that the agent with high expectations about his performance can be induced to choose high effort with low-powered incentives. We then argue that the principal’s expectation has an important role as an equilibrium selection device.

3. Boundary Conditions Of The Galatea Effect: A Field Experiment And Constructive Replication

In a longitudinal field experiment, we examined the generalizability of the “Galatea effect” to businesses. This constructive replication provides the first test of the effect of a nonfictitious, nontraining intervention on actual job performance of new and established professionals. To examine duration, we measured the effect on performance until it disappeared for the sample as a whole. The Galatea intervention bolstered self-efficacy, motivation, and performance, though this latter effect was temporary. We also partially confirmed the “self-fulfilling prophecy at work model” and suggest possible extensions.

About Miguel Barbosa

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14. December 2009 by Miguel Barbosa
Categories: Curated Readings, Psychology & Sociology | Leave a comment

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