The concern about letting others down drives them to complete at least their fair share of the work-if not more makes highly guilt-prone people valuable work partners.
In fact, they often outwork their less guilt-prone colleagues, demonstrate effective leadership and contribute more to the success of teams.
In studies where Wiltermuth asked participants with whom they would like to partner to complete a task, given information about their potential partners' expertise in that area, highly guilt-prone people with less knowledge or skill in that area were less likely to choose the most competent partner. They were afraid to contribute less to the task than their partner and, thus, let them down.
Scott S. Wiltermuth, assistant professor of management and organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, along with Taya R. Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University, conducted studies on highly guilt-prone people.
The highlighted findings are:
-They often outwork their less guilt-prone colleagues
-They demonstrate effective leadership and contribute more to the success of teams
-They may avoid forming partnerships with people they perceive as being more competent than themselves
-Lower incidence of unethical behavior
-They opt to be paid on their performance alone and to opt to be paid based on the average of their performance and that of others whose competence was more similar to their own.
Wiltermuth added that managers could try to ensure that highly guilt-prone people are creating the partnerships and perhaps even assuming leadership roles on teams despite highly guilt-prone people's fear that by accepting these leadership positions they might be putting themselves into position to let their teammates down.