Issue 104 - 02 | Fitting in and Standing Out: Shifting Mindsets from Taking to Giving

By Adam Grant
Published April 10, 2013 12:00 p.m.
“When people think like takers, they focus on getting as much as possible from others. When they operate like givers, on the other hand, their overarching emphasis is on contributing their knowledge and skills to benefit others. … Identification is a powerful driver of contributions. People act like givers rather than takers when they’ve internalized a group as part of their self-concepts or identities. To catalyze this shift in mindsets, we need to understand what causes people to identify with a group. A fascinating insight comes from research by the eminent psychologist Marilynn Brewer, who observes that when we interact with other people, we face a tension between two competing motivations: fitting in and standing out. On the one hand, we want to belong—to experience similarity with others. On the other hand, we want to feel unique—to differentiate ourselves from others.”

About Adam Grant | Adam Grant is the youngest tenured professor and highest-rated teacher at Wharton. He has been named one of the world’s 40 best business professors under 40 and one of Businessweek’s favorite professors, and he is a leading expert on success, work motivation, and helping and giving behaviors. Previously, he was a record-setting advertising director at Let’s Go Publications, an All-American springboard diver, and a professional magician. He was recently profiled in the New York Times Magazine cover story: “Is giving the secret to getting ahead?”

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