We Are Carriers at Work. How Do You Infect Others?

Books Contribution Respect


Learn about the ripple effect and the concept of emotional contagion in this blog.

John Cacioppo,  a Tiffany & Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor and Director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at The University of Chicago, is investigating how societal influences and personal relationships affect people.  He has great insight on the ripple effect and concept of “emotional contagion.” In their great new book the Dragonfly Effect  the authors Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith refer to the power of this concept. Aaker noted in a recent interview:

“Basically, that small actions lead to big results. Research shows that ripple effects result from small actions that have a positive significant impact on others over time. When the action at the epicenter of the ripple effect is based on deep meaning (or something that you believe will make you happy), a multiplier effect can occur. Others around you feel the emotion that you’re feeling, and can therefore become more strongly mobilized. This phenomenon is emotional contagion, the tendency to feel emotions similar to and influenced by those of others. The fact that your feelings of happiness or meaning can actually infect others helps explain why some initiatives work and others don’t. It also underscores the importance of cultivating social good, which is often most resonant with happiness and meaning.”

So here’s the deal. The way you and I act at work has one heck of a ripple effect. We sometimes can get trapped thinking that we live in a bubble and what we do doesn’t impact others. If we chose to be cranky and mean spirited …it impacts and ripples.

  • ACTION: If we chose to be constructive and respectful  …it impacts and ripples. I think we know that intuitively but it helps to remind ourselves that from time to time.

We’re “carriers.” How we behave, regardless of our position really matters. As our Dragonfly friends so aptly emphasize: small actions lead to big results!

Live the Triangle and ripple well!


Listen to the authors describe The Dragon Fly effect: