Shyness Conversation Arbitrage
There needs to be a term for the following phenomenon, because it happens all the time, in my experience. A large group of people are debating something, and a shy person quietly says a great idea, and then someone else loudly annouces the idea to the group and gets all the credit. I have been on both sides of this sort of interaction. A lot of time the shy person resents the credit-stealer, especially if they don’t give credit where credit is due.
I don’t think the repeater deserves disaprobation tho. Where some people see idea theft and marginalization, I also see arbitrage and comparative advantage. Perhaps the original speaker did not say it in a convincing or clear manner and the arbitrager is gaining from their ability to say things in a way that more people can comprehend. Overall, it is beneficial to the group, because good ideas are not just thrown away because of their source. Quiet people can come up with ideas and bold people can sell them to the group. When someone quietly says an idea to a subgroup, they aren’t putting their reputations on the line as much as someone who loudly announces the idea with confident support. That risk deserves some reward. The idea repeater is providing the service of screening out the mediocre ideas muttered on the sidelines and only repeating the best ones. It’s still best to offer credit to the idea originator.
If you find yourself having your suggestions discarded, you have two main options. Speak up, be more aggressive, etc. If that isn’t a good option for whatever reason, such as women faced with sexist coworkers perhaps, you could also find a “bullhorn” to repeat your ideas to the group who will reliably give you credit. Maybe “bullhorning” is a good term for this phenomenon.
For the comments:
Do you think this social tactic is unethical?
Does it result in better decision making?
Has someone done this to you? Have you done it to someone else?