Unskilled and Unaware of It?

1 minutes estimated reading time

I came across research on unskilled hubris, whilst reading the latest article by Bob Cringely.

Bob Cringely’s column for PBS.org, the online version of America’s undervalued public broadcasting service usually provides an unusually clear window into tech industry issues that affect us all.

Microsoft vs. Burst Networks

This week Cringely is talking about a court case between Microsoft and Burst Networks about alleged sharp practice and intellectual property theft by Microsoft (glass houses and stones seem to spring to mind).

Unskilled and unaware

What was of more interest however was a link to an American Psychological Association publication: Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyUnskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments by Justin Kruger and David Dunning Department of Psychology at Cornell University

People that would fulfil this category are not new. Peter Ustinov was quoted as saying that he got in his career because he wasn’t good enough to be held back. In his case, this was self depreciation, but the  humour of it taps into an essential truth. 

Office based sit coms are usually based on this premise. The talent but put upon underlings with an unskilled boss who thinks that they are they are under. This can be seen from the Mary Tyler Moore Show and 9 to 5, to The Office. 

Conversely many capable senior people that I know suffer from feelings of impostor syndrome. More consumer behaviour related content here