Owls are perceived to be more lazy than larks

February 25, 2015 | By | 3 Replies More

Even if Owls work the same number of hours as larks, they are perceived to be lazier. That is the conclusion of this article:

The belief that getting an early start to the day is virtuous is widely held. In fact, finds a forthcoming study, it’s so pervasive that managers rate workers who get an early start higher than those who get in and stay late, no matter how many hours they work in total or how well they do their jobs. And it could explain why other research has found that workers who have flexible schedules have less successful careers.

The study, from researchers at The University of Washington, highlighted at the Harvard Business Review, will be published later this year in the Journal of Applied Psychology. It finds support for the idea that managers have a “morning bias.” In other words, they buy into a common stereotype that leads them to confuse starting time with conscientiousness. They perceive employees who start later as less conscientious, and consequently less hard-working and disciplined, and that carries through to performance ratings.

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Category: Culture, Economy, ignorance, Self Improvement, snake oil

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Edgar Montrose says:

    “It finds support for the idea that managers have a ‘morning bias.’ … They perceive employees who start later as less conscientious, and consequently less hard-working and disciplined …”

    In my experience, managers are only conscious of what they see with their own eyes. An employee who arrives later than the manager is “lazy”, and an employee who leaves earlier than the manager “lacks dedication”.

    I am an early bird. I typically start work around 6:00 or 7:00 AM, which means that by 3:00 or 4:00 PM I have put in a full day. If I leave at 3:00 or 4:00, however, the manager does not take my early start into account.

    I have known others who might start at 9:00 or 10:00 AM, but stay well into the evening. Managers who leave at 5:00 don’t see those extra hours.

  2. Ben says:

    Whether you are an early bird, or owl — or somewhere in between — never stay at work more than 5 minutes past bosses’ car can be seen.

    • Edgar Montrose says:

      At one of my places of employment, the telephone would ring on random mornings at exactly 6:30 AM. When I answered, the caller hung-up. (This was before the days of caller ID.) I couldn’t prove it, but I always suspected that my manager was checking-up on me.

      I guess it didn’t occur to her that she could check the logs to see who turned the alarm system off every morning, and at what time.

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