GAINESVILLE, Fla., Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A University of Florida study says giving employees a built-in excuse for doing poorly on a boring task gives them a way out of doing a good job.
"Benjamin Franklin once said, 'He that is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else,'" said Ryan Johnson, a UF psychology graduate student who did the study for his master's thesis. "Having a good excuse for not performing at one's best can lead to a worse performance on the job."
While excuse-making has been recognized in other studies for boosting self-esteem and lowering the risk of depression, Johnson's research finds it dampens worker productivity on relatively simple, mundane tasks.
Johnson said studies on excuses have focused on difficult, meaningful tasks such as learning to read or taking a math test, but ignored the unpleasant boring tasks that people encounter on a regular basis.
"It's not difficult to think of a good reason for doing a second-rate job washing the dishes or scrubbing the toilet," he said. "Such tasks have two things in common: They need to be done, and most people do not enjoy doing them."