[EAS] Respect = Fee?

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Sat Nov 20 02:03:12 EST 2004

Subject:   Respect = Fee?

(from INNOVATION, 17 November 2004)

    It appears that people really do pay attention to (and act on)
advice  they pay for. Harvard Business School's Francesca Gino
recently completed a report on studies that asked participants to
answer different sets of questions about American history. Before
answering some of the questions, subjects had the opportunity to
get advice on the correct answer, either for free or for a certain
monetary fee. In both cases, the advice came from the same source,
i.e., subjects were told explicitly that the quality of advice was
the same. Results found that the costly advice was given greater 
weight than the free advice -- significantly greater weight,says
Gino.  Managers and businesses take note, she says: "It is really
important for managers to understand the biases they may fall prey
to in either soliciting or taking advice. Just being aware that you
may have a tendency to overweigh some kinds of advice, and that
this may lead to bad decisions,  could be a helpful first step."
Remember, too, that costs can include time  and effort, as well as
money. For consultants: "Fee structures may well influence the
extent to which clients respond to the advice they give." (Harvard
Business School's Working Knowledge 8 Nov 2004)

The failings of human nature are ample, and always disappointing. In
our "information society," where we're more likely to help someone
with advice than by giving them home-baked cookies, altruism is
getting a bad rap, according to this study. Even though I do work as
a consultant, I'm still disappointed. 

I suspect a number of mingled issues. The age of "spin" has much
eroded believability and raised greatly the suspicion that
everything free hides ulterior motives and lacks accountability. The
failings of education have eroded our basic "journalistic
instincts," our ability to ask questions about validity, accuracy,
authority, uniqueness and completeness of information.  

Should I start charging for EAS-INFO?  ;-)   --PJK

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