Why people love to hate on do-gooders, especially at work

Some of the time, we are somewhat prone to dislike do-gooders especially in competitive situations such is in the workplace, according to a study by the University of Guelph.

Why people love to hate on do-gooders, especially at work

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"Most of the time we like the cooperators, the good guys,” said psychology professor Pat Barclay, who conducted the study with the undergraduate student Aleta Pleasant. “We like it when the bad guys get their comeuppance, and when non-cooperators are punished. But some of the time, cooperators are the ones that get punished. People will hate on the really good guys. This pattern has been found in every culture in which it has been looked at."

  • One possible reason for this phenomenon is that people may feel comparatively inferior to all the good stuff being done.
  • Cooperative behavior was most often punished in groups where people were competing with each other. The fact that the whole group was worse off did not act as a deterrent against negative attitudes towards the do-gooders.
  • Human nature dictates how people react to certain behaviors in a competitive setting:

“You can imagine within an organization today the attitude, 'Hey, you're working too hard and making the rest of us look bad,’ said Barclay. “In some organizations people are known for policing how hard others work, to make sure no one is raising the bar from what is expected."

Source: bigthink.com