An Easy Name Gets You Ahead
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.