Marie-Hélène Budworth

Associate Professor of Human Resource Management, specializing in learning, development & motivation.

Marie-Hélène Budworth

Can you spot the taker?

July 19th, 2013 · No Comments · Uncategorized


I just started reading Adam Grant‘s first book called Give and Take.  It is quite well done.  When reading non-fiction written by an academic, it can sometimes be inaccessible and at other times overly simplified, Grant does a really nice job of representing the complexity of the research while using rich and entertaining storytelling devices.  My review aside, I love the idea that we can provide scientific evidence for the benefit of giving – and that is giving not to receive but giving for the sake of giving.

Grant makes the point that in the world of Google and Facebook, our reputations are publicly and available to anyone willing to type our name into a search engine.  In today’s world, being generous and helpful is more important than ever as there is often a permanent record of our deeds.  I have taught social networks as part of my learning and development course for years.  Admittedly, social networks are not an area where I do any direct research.  I have typically thought about the value one extracts from one’s network as reciprocity on a karmic scale – you put value in by doing something for one person and it comes out of your network in some unexpected way somewhere else.  It is a bit of a wishy washy way of explaining the inter-connectedness between individuals within a socials structure.  

In truth, injecting value into your social network by helping others creates a reputation for the giver. You become someone who is known for being available, assistive, and helpful.  In the long term, this reputation is what benefits the giver.  We want to be of service to someone who we know is generous to others.  Or the converse, we do not want to be of service to individuals who ‘take’ or who give only with the expectation of receiving.  

So there is karma through the lens of social science.  Awesome. 


No Comments so far ↓

Like gas stations in rural Texas after 10 pm, comments are closed.