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Carol Craig is the Centre's Chief Executive. She is author of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence, Creating Confidence: A Handbook for Professionals Working with Young People, The Tears that Made the Clyde: Well-being in Glasgow and The Great Takeover: How materialism, the media and markets now dominate our lives. She is Commissioning editor for the Postcards from Scotland series. Carol blogs on confidence, well-being, inequality, every day life and some of the great challenges of our time. The views she expresses are her own unless she specifically states that they reflect the Centre's thinking.

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Posted 05/02/2008 | 1 Comment

The Netherlands has, unexpectedly, been in my thoughts this week. I have just read an interesting piece of research from OPP (Oxford Psychologists’ Press) who have published a report called “Who’s Fooling Whom?” The researchers questioned 1,000 employees in the UK and a further 3,000 in six other European countries on whether they can be themselves at work or whether they feel they have to adopt a specific persona or fake personality. What they found is that 64 per cent of UK workers say they have to change their natural behaviour at work. This was the highest response in the countries surveyed. The average for Europe was 50 per cent. The lowest figure was the Netherlands with only 36 per cent of employees saying that they felt obliged to alter their personality and behaviour at work.

I have done a lot of work on personality type in workplaces as I used the Myers Briggs Type Indicator for many years with teams. Although I had no hard evidence I have always believed that people are at their most confident when they were being themselves and undertaking tasks in their preferred manner rather than doing something according to other people’s rules. This is why I’ve always believed that the more we can respect difference and encourage diversity the more we would be creating a good climate to nurture confidence.

So here’s my next piece of info on the Netherlands. At the Centre we’ve recently added a self-efficacy questionnaire to our Confidence Research System (more info about this coming soon). A Scottish school in a fairly deprived area in the east of Scotland has organised for a couple of hundred pupils to fill it in. The average self-efficacy for the school was 63 per cent. The figure for fifteen year old girls was 55 per cent. The international norms for the questionnaire is 70 per cent. The figure for young people in the Netherlands is 80 per cent.

Self-efficacy, a fancy term for self-belief, also came up in a conversation this week with some people involved in tourism in Scotland. They were bemoaning the fact that in working with groups of people in Scotland on tourism development they repeatedly come across people whose attitudes are the exact opposite of ‘can do’. Except in one small town, they told me. There things have really turned round as a result of one enterprising woman who has opened a new style B and B and is now intent on galvanising the locals into various community improvement schemes. No prizes for guessing where she’s from.

To read OPP report go to-

http:// www.opp.eu.com/news_08-01-09.aspx
Comment By Comment
Alex Smith

Comment Posted: 07/02/2008 21:33
It's interesting that you should comment on diversity in this blog, Carol. David Clutterbuck reports in his latest newsletter on research by Scott E Page, Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science and Economics at the University of Michigan, which showed that most of the time, diverse groups consistently outperformed groups of the best individual performers. I have been working for years helping teams to be more creative and have known all this time that that is the case. It's nice to have a piece of proper research which confirms it.
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