The Importance Of Schmoozing

Larry Price
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Wednesday - October 04, 2006
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Economist Bethany Peters and Edward Stringham have done some interesting research that was recently published in the Journal of Labor Research. Their findings are very interesting.

It says that drinkers earn 10-percent to 14-percent more at their jobs than nondrinkers. It gets more specific and goes on to suggest that men who drink earn 10-percent more than those who abstain; for female drinkers, it’s a 14-percent boost over nondrinkers’pay. They admit that “The exact mechanism for that is still kind of a mystery.”

As you would expect, people who drink agree with the research’s findings and people who don’t drink find it hard to believe.

Several psychologists speculate that, well, maybe it’s just their personality- work hard, play hard. The research also says that male drinkers who go to bars at least once a month bring home an additional 7-percent in pay. The lead researcher, Dr. Stringham, calls this phenomenon, the “drinker’s bonus.” Female drinkers who frequented bars at least once a month did not have higher earnings than their non-bar-going counterparts.

Why is this research important? “The conventional wisdom to most people is that drinking is just a bad thing, as well as a cause of decreased productivity.”

By the way, this research was conducted with a sampling of 8,000 people, a variety of alcohol use and frequency questions. The conclusion is that social drinking builds social capital, networks, working relationships and a growing list of contacts. The bottom line, bigger paychecks.

From a public-school curriculum and competency testing point of view, educators are leaving out an important element in the learning experience of our youngsters. The results of the research lead me to believe that schmoozing is a very important skill for students to learn. The question is, at what grade in the educational experience should students learn of the necessity of learning to schmooze correctly.

My personal research finds the definition of schmoozing is, “The name for non-task-related contact between people, which has the psychological effect of having established a relationship with someone.” (Morris, et. al., 2002.)

And here’s the most attractive aspect of schmoozing. It is relatively low-cost and efficient.

Now that the Kauai Nurses have rejected Wilcox Hospital’s latest offer, maybe it’s time for both parties to engage in some face-to-face schmoozing with the management of Hawaii Pacific Health. The Island of Kauai is too beautiful a place for such a hostile labor negotiation.

Of course, you have to understand, this columnist does not drink, so anything that arouses my curiosity about drinking, schmoozing and faculty members who conduct research on this type of social behavior should not be considered important.

If, however, I run across another legitimate research on the benefits of drinking, I may go have a drink with a few colleagues to see if the research has any merit.

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