Post hoc fallacy, promotions and hard work

Employability and promotions are mostly about politics and only a little bit about performance. People get hired and promoted because senior people like them.
– Robert Hogan

Post hoc fallacy is short form of Latin phrase-“Post hoc ergo propter hoc” i.e. “after this, therefore because of this”. An example of this is event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X, which is a fallacy.

Another example is, people who went out at night developed malaria, so it was thought that night air caused malaria (which means “bad air”), but fact is night air has nothing to do with it; malaria is caused by mosquito bites.

Similarly it was always thought that hard work and promotion are related. Communication that goes in organisation (and also what we are taught since childhood) is hard working people get promoted, so you will get promotion if you work hard. Fallacy becomes obvious when many hard working people find that they never get promoted, but their colleague who works much less gets promoted.

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Hard work itself does not lead to promotion. Psychologist Robert Hogan feels that working hard will only make employees better in their present jobs; they confuse doing a good job in present position with the potential to do a good job in a position that has expanded responsibilities. He says that, ninety percent of the people who are doing a good job in their current job will fail when they get promoted.

He further says that, people get promoted or get designated as high-potential because senior management has agenda, so if you fit in their scheme of things, they are likely to promote you. In about 70% of the cases people get designated as high-potential purely for political reasons.

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So next time during appraisal feedback, if your manager tells you that to get promoted you have to work hard, you should seriously think about changing your boss.

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