Dunning-Kreuger

February 11, 2018

 

I was talking with a friend of mine about a person we both worked with once. I’ll call him Steve. Steve had been rehired to the same place after I left (I was let go, actually, because of downsizing). My friend still worked there. Steve always seemed sort of like a blow-hard, but nice enough. He had recently been let go AGAIN, but this time it was due to his lack of output not because of downsizing. He apparently didn’t believe in deadlines and took his own sweet time to write anything. All along, he was his blow-hard self and basically seemed to think that the company could do no better than he. Which brought up the question she posed to me: “how can someone not know that they really aren’t doing their job very well?”

 

I recently was reading an article, about Trump actually, and stumbled across this passage:

 

"In psychology, there’s an idea known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. It refers to research by David Dunning and Justin Kruger that found the least competent people often believe they are the most competent because they “lack the very expertise needed to recognize how badly they’re doing.”

 

Later, I came upon a mention of it in another context. The problem is: “if I think I’m doing alright, maybe I’m not really doing a good job.” Does merely asking myself the question mean that I’m doing a good job? It seems like a real conundrum.

 

It also brought to mind a conversation I had with an old boss – and one of the reasons why I don’t trust much I hear (although I started out pretty wary anyway, with three older brothers). He had hired a woman based on great reviews from the person she had worked for. You can probably guess the rest. It turned out she was a bumbler. Her ex-boss had given glowing reviews to get rid of her.

 

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