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Boss behaviour belongs in animal kingdom

The average male corporate boss might not beat his chest, but a new report claims the evolutionary signs of managers marking out their territory are everywhere. Researchers revealed how everything from the pink shirt under their power suit to the size of their leather-backed chair and their choice of jargon-heavy management speak mimic the strutting and chest puffing seen among our animal ancestors. “A favourable comparison can be made with the similar role of the alpha male in capuchin monkeys, chimpanzees and Japanese macaques,” states the report. The research is based on hundreds of interviews with managers and employees in hospitals, but lead researcher Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite, from the Institute of Health Innovation at UNSW, said the findings are true for all industries, from advertising to construction. He says it shows the prehistoric behaviours, such as male domination, protecting what is perceived as their “turf” and ostracising those who do not agree with the group, is more commonplace in everyday work situations than many want to accept. “We found universal animalistic displays of power, masculinity, sexuality and authority that seem to be hard-wired in,” Braithwaite said. The report, published in the Journal of Health Organisation, gives an anthropological breakdown of boss behaviours and their preference for “firm handshakes, dense jargon and frequent use of acronyms”. They dress in grey or navy suits, either plain or subtly striped, and cream shirts, or a brighter pink or blue alternative for the younger, more adventurous boss. The piece de resistance was the tie, which Braithwaite describes as the male human’s equivalent to a peacock’s plumage: “The splash of colour at the breast to signal importance, status and ‘I’m on the move’,” he said. AAP

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