How to get ahead at work: Use an easy-to-pronounce name (Tierra W.)

If you’re not getting ahead at work, and your name is difficult to pronounce, you might want to consider changing it.

New research suggests hav­ing a sim­ple, eas­y-to-pronounce name may help you win allies and favor in the work­place.

“People tend to feel more positive about things that are easy to process mentally, and with work colleagues that means better relationships,” said Ad­am L. Al­ter, an assistant professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, who collaborated on the study with Peter Koval of the University of Leuven, Belgium, and Simon M. Laham of the University of Melbourne in Australia.

The academics an­a­lyzed 500 first and last names of U.S. lawyers at firms of varying sizes and found that those with names that are easier to pro­nounce­ rise up the ranks of their companies more quickly. The same outcome is likely in other industries, Al­ter said.

Another facet of the research looked at the name-pronunciation effect for names from a number of regions, including Asian, West­ern and East­ern Eu­ro­pe­an nations. Using a mock ballot with names of varying complexity, all taken from each of the regions in order to avoid ethnic biases, the re­sults suggested that peo­ple with names that are eas­i­er to pronounce are more likely to be fa­vored for po­lit­i­cal of­fice and job pro­mo­tions.

The re­search builds on an ear­li­er study by Alter that found that companies with simpler names tend to out­per­form si­m­i­lar stocks with more com­plex names on their market debuts.


About internalmarket

This blog and its accompanying Twitter account have been established as social media learning tools for the Internal Communications and Employee Engagement class at Columbia College Chicago. Through this blog, we will share our observations about current events, change management and employee communications theory, and the application of social media in shaping employee engagement.
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