A couple of absolute gems popped up this week. One is genuinely amusing, but falls firmly into the ‘They got a research grant for that?’ camp. The second falls into the ‘Glaring statement of the bleeding obvious’ school.

First things first. It appears that if a person in a relationship feels like the weaker partner, then they exact a terrible revenge. By shopping.

Don’t blame me, I just report it. This nugget of information is courtesy of Dr Danielle Brick at the Peter T Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire.

‘Marketers assume consumers are making conscious, deliberate choices, but actually there are other factors, sometimes even outside their conscious awareness that are influencing their decisions.’

What this means is if you’re mad at your partner because you feel weaker than them but don’t want to make a scene, you might, for example, buy a different brand of soft drink from the one you normally buy, and that you or they prefer.

I’d love to believe this is true, but I’m not sure how much credence I give to psychological experiments in volunteers, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. And the Peter T Paul school of economics sounds a bit iffy, as in ‘Robbing Peter t pay Paul.’ Maybe it’s just me.

Now we arrive at the glaring statement, courtesy Dr Seth Spain from SUNY. He gets to sound as if he’s babbling from the sickbed in Research in Occupational Stress and Well-Being. I’m always wary of the unnecessary hyphenation in the word wellbeing, and my wariness appears to be justified.

Seth has come to the astounding conclusion that there are two sorts of bad bosses. One is the dark boss, the Gordon Gekkos of this world, Satan’s right-hand man. No kidding? Who’dathunkit?

Then we have the incompetents, the David Brents of this world. ‘Through lack of skill, or other character defects, they’re just not very good at their job.’

Then Seth hedges his bets, as all psychologists do, and says that not all bosses fall into these two neat categories, and actually fall somewhere on a spectrum of dysfunction. Then he veers back into the bloody obvious. ‘… since bad leaders can cause so much suffering for their subordinates.’

Reading between the lines, he’s saying all bad bosses are wankers, and we already knew that, didn’t we, kids?

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