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What Goes Down When Advice Goes Up: Younger Advisers Underestimate Their Impact.

Authors
  • Zhang, Ting1
  • North, Michael S2
  • 1 Harvard Business School, Boston, MA, USA.
  • 2 NYU Stern School of Business, New York City, NY, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Personality & social psychology bulletin
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2020
Volume
46
Issue
10
Pages
1444–1460
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1177/0146167220905221
PMID: 32124654
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Common wisdom suggests that older is wiser. Consequently, people rarely give advice to older individuals-even when they are relatively more expert-leading to missed learning opportunities. Across six studies (N = 3,445), we explore the psychology of advisers when they are younger (reverse advising), the same age (peer advising), or older (traditional advising) than their advisees. Study 1 shows that advisers avoid reverse-advising interactions because they perceive that their relative youth makes them less effective. However, when compared to advisees' actual perceptions, reverse advisers are misguided, as they underestimate their effectiveness when giving general life advice (Study 2a-2b) as well as tactical advice (Studies 3-4). This misperception is in part driven by advisers' beliefs about their own competence and others' receptivity. Finally, we demonstrate an intervention that mitigates advisers' misguided beliefs (Study 5). Contrary to advisers' own perceptions and popular belief, these findings illustrate that being relatively young can also mean being an impactful adviser.

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